PETITION TO UCF BOARD OF TRUSTEES & ST. JOHN’S RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT IN OPPOSITION OF THE RELEASE OF CONSERVATION EASEMENT AT UCF
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In summer 2008 the St. Johns River Water Management District notified UCF that some unauthorized work was done in a 7.85-acre portion governed by a conservation easement, an agreement with the St. Johns River Water Management District that calls for retaining the property in its natural condition. Landscape & Natural Resources has been working with the Water Management District to implement a restoration plan for the conservation easement area which will promote the natural habitat, a wet and mesic flatlands. The University of Central Florida is currently moving forward to ask permission from St. John’s River Management District to release the conservation easement within Gemini Boulevard that is historically known as the Arboretum. This area has been under restoration since 2008 and as of September 3, 2010, the University of Central Florida decided to halt the restoration until the situation with the easement is sorted out.
Throughout the years, the Arboretum has proven to be a vital asset to the University of Central Florida. With hundreds of species of animal and plant life, the 82-acre Arboretum stands as a longstanding symbol of UCF's dedication to educating students and the community about nature, while protecting our environment. The Arboretum provides students with various volunteer opportunities and has created a lasting legacy within itself through the creation of the Community Organic Vegetable and Herb Garden. The Garden's ground-breaking took place on February 21, 2009 and remains a collaborative effort between the UCF Arboretum and the Student Sustainability Alliance (SSA). During its first semesters of existence, over 600 volunteers donated over 1,500 hours of their time. The Garden provides valuable skills in sustainability and organic gardening and deepens the sense of community on campus, creating opportunities and connecting people with their food protection in addition to offering students and community members with educational and volunteer projects for schools, groups and children.
At this time it is not clear what exactly the University of Central Florida administration plans to do if granted the release of the conservation easement. Regardless, the Student Sustainability Alliance (SSA) Leadership Council and students believe the academic opportunities and strong bonds that have been built through the Arboretum’s initiatives to be in jeopardy. Not only do the SSA and students benefit from the scholastic aspect of the Arboretum and restoration plans, but the students also support the Arboretum and its initiatives, the restoration plan, and the Garden and strongly oppose any plans that threaten the community that has flourished in response to the Arboretum and its programs.
This statement was written on behalf of the Student Sustainability Alliance Leadership Council. By signing this petition you are acknowledging that you have read and understand this statement and support the Student Sustainability Alliance Leadership Council in their efforts to oppose the release of the conservation easement.
Student Sustainability Alliance Leadership Council
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