By Lisa Cilli

DELRAY BEACH (CBSMiami) – Just like being nice to your mom on Mother’s Day, or being thankful on Thanksgiving, we should also respect our Earth on Earth Day. Keeping our planet clean and safe for all life is what Earth Day is about.

So, if you’re looking for a place to enjoy wildlife, nature and a stunning sunrise, there is no better place than the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach.

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“This is one of the most peaceful places in South Florida,” said professional photographer Joel Auerbach. “I love it here in the morning. For photography, you get great backlit pictures of the birds up on top. So this is usually our first stop until the sun comes up before we start walking.”

Wakodahatchee Wetlands (CBS4)

Visitors can stroll along a nearly mile-long boardwalk pasts ponds and islands, enjoying plenty of bird sightings. Over 178 bird species have been spotted along with turtles, rabbits, fish, frogs, raccoons and of course, alligators.

“This is George the largest alligator here. It’s about 12 feet long. A lot of times he will sit right below and right next to the trees waiting to see if something falls out,” said Auerbach.

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George the alligator in the Wakodahatchee Wetlands (CBS4)

The former utility property was converted into 50 acres of wetlands more than 25 years ago.

The birds are the big draw.

“Oh, I love the birds and I just feel so relaxed here shooting and you know, it’s just it’s a good feeling to see everything happening,” said professional photographer Michael Dill.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands (CBS4)

“You get to watch them building all the nests, you’ll see the birds going out and bringing back the twigs and they build the nests. And then a week or so later, you see them sitting on the eggs and now you get them hatched and you get the small chicks waiting for their breakfast or their dinner,” said Auerbach.

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Wakodahatchee Wetlands is free and open to the public.