Conserving our natural spaces for future generations.
Part of what makes Central Florida so beautiful is the ample green space. Without our parks and conservation lands, Central Florida would be just like any other metropolitan area.
Part of what makes Central Florida so beautiful is the ample green space. Without our parks and conservation lands, Central Florida would be just like any other metropolitan area. Yet, the Natural habitats found throughout Florida are unique and must be protected.
Protecting trees is one of many ways we can reduce pollution, increase health through removing contaminants from the air as well as assist in stormwater mitigation + carbon sequestration. In addition to these positive impacts on the environment, trees also contribute to improving community quality of life through increasing property value, reducing noise, calming down traffic, and providing shade within public areas.
Tree Protection and Wetland Preservation
Central Florida is blessed with dedicated conservation areas and local leaders and volunteers who devote their time to protecting Orange County’s wild places. Re-foresting our urban spaces is a priority along with concerning the trees on site of the desired development space. We have to start valuing our trees during the development review process and make sure wetlands and forests are preserved or mitigated within the county.
Connecting Wildlife Corridors to Slow Biodiversity Loss
Conservation gives much-needed habitat space for wildlife. As Orange County develops, wildlife is increasingly displaced. Providing specific areas for conservation allows wildlife to find a home and gives connected spaces to maintain Florida’s biodiversity.
Prioritizing Eco-Tourism to Stimulate the Local Economy
Dedicated Natural Lands are great for outdoor activities like hiking – and give people a chance to get up close and personal with the natural world. Orange County should be known not only for theme parks but for the ecological attractions which can equally be invested in to stimulate our local economy.
Environmental Policies the District 1 Office is Working on:
Promoting Florida Native Landscapes
The plants you choose to plant in your yard can make a big difference in Florida’s environmental health. Including native Florida plants in your landscaping plan helps to keep invasive species from taking over, and provides pollinators and other beneficial species with food sources. Also important is limiting the use of chemical fertilizers to protect our water systems.
Multimodal Biological Control Practices for Water Qulaity
Controlling invasive species and mosquitoes throughout Florida is an important part of development and conservation. To limit the use of harmful chemicals, biological solutions utilizing native species can contribute to the restoration of Florida’s wild places. Algae blooms and fish kills triggered by nutrient pollution weakens our lakes and waterways and puts our native species at risk. Introducing species like grass carp, mosquito fish, and the native Florida Flagfish can solve multiple environmental issues at once, while making their surrounding ecosystems more stable. A greater reliance on natural solutions will limit the need for dangerous chemicals and make our state a safer place to live.
Protecting Split Oak Forest
In 2019, the historic Split Oak Forest was threatened by a proposed project that would extend a roadway through the area, thereby destroying native habitats and wildlife. Orange County overwhelmingly voted to support a charter amendment protecting the 1,700 acre area, and renewing the pledge to hold it in conservation. The Split Oak Forest protections are a major victory for environmentalists in Central Florida and proof that conservation efforts are not in vain.
Investing in GreenPlace
The Green PLACE Program is a park and land acquisition for conservation and environmental protection program created to protect Orange County’s native wildlife and resources. The Green PLACE properties help prevent wildfires, reduce flooding, and keep our water and air clean.
Following Orange County’s 2021- 2022 budget release which stated a $100 million commitment towards land conservation, the county purchased property from the Bagshaw- Hampton family which added an additional 1000 acre conservation area to the program’s conservation.
Increasing Urban Canopy and Protecting Trees in Development
Establishing and maintaining urban tree canopies throughout Central Florida has shown to improve quality of life, reduce energy costs, and improve air quality. For detailed information about these and the many other benefits of our urban forests, you can read the 2017 Orange County Urban Forest Ecological Analysis here.
Meet Our Partners in Conservation
Noah’s Notes, Inc. is a secular 501C3 nonprofit environmental organization, with a mission to foster wildlife and habitat preservation by educating people to live sustainably and take action to save nature. Noah’s Notes fulfills its mission through education, advocacy, scientific research, regulatory and legal engagement, and in partnerships with other leading environmental and conservation organizations.
The Florida Native Plant Society works to preserve Florida’s unique species of native plants while educating people on their importance to local ecosystems. FNPS aims to provide reliable, science-based information about native plants and conservation across Florida.
Split Oak Forest is a mitigation bank within Osceola County east of SR 15/Narcoossee Road. The park is home to various plant and animal species including the gopher tortoises. Friends of Split Oak Forest is a grass- roots organization that advocates for the forest and fights against encroaching toll roads from running through the forest. The organization supports the forest through encouraging its followers to email decisionmakers to voice their opposition to destroying the natural environment. For additional information on how to donate and make your voice heard, visit Friends of Split Oak Forest’s site here.
Starting as a grass- roots organization in 2012, Save Orange County emerged as a response to the intruding development of high density neighborhoods in rural communities within all parts of Orange County. The organization strives to establish a community of interest and influence amendments and ordinances that impact rural and agricultural lands. Within the past decade, Save Orange County has had thousands of petitions signed to fight encroaching development in communities. For additional information on volunteering, petitions and donations, visit Save Orange County’s site here.
Florida 5 Petitions: FL5.org
A set of 5 crucial petitions, the Florida 5 aims to protect the right to clean water, Florida’s iconic species, Florida Wetlands, and put an end to captive wildlife hunting and the construction of new toll roads throughout the state. To learn more about the Florida 5, watch Commissioner Wilson’s discussion with Chuck O’neill.
Ideas For Us is a nonprofit organization driven to engage creative solutions to environmental issues. Ideas For Us is dedicated to implementing grassroots solutions to sustainability in order to solve climate change, pollution, and conserve natural resources and wildlife. By initiating change at the local level, Ideas For Us believes that global change is within reach.