Protect the UCF Arboretum - Uphold Conservation Status
We oppose the University of Central Florida's request to lift a conservation easement on 7.85 acres of land known as the Arboretum.
In 1995, the Board of Trustees mandated that this land be protected.
In 2002, St Johns Water Management District deemed the land a conservation easement as mitigation for wetland impacts on other areas of campus.
In 2004, Governor Jeb Bush ordered that UCF maintain and protect the Arboretum land as conservation. In 2004, UCF bulldozed and mulched eight acres of Arboretum land in direct violation of its conservation easement.
In 2006, UCF Board of Trustees approved a "World Gardens" installation with the Arboretum land in direct violation of the conservation easement.
In 2008, UCF was fined for these violations by SJWMD and ordered to restore the land. Restoration plans were submitted in 2009, but progress interrupted in September 2010, when the university submitted a request to remove the conservation easement status of the Arboretum land, in exchange for conservation easement status of a parcel of land that the university already declared as conservation in their Master Plan.
The University has not demonstrated a sincere concern for practicing or teaching environmental conservation on its campus, or for including students, faculty or the community in decisions regarding the land it stewards. We oppose ALL efforts by the University to remove the status of conservation easement from the Arboretum, and urge Governor Rick Scott and St Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Kirby Green to uphold the 2002 and 2004 orders to conserve this land. We demand the University be held accountable for its destruction and degradation of this land in violation of the 2002 conservation easement order. We demand the University begin restoration of these lands immediately, to return them to their natural state as a vibrant native Florida habitat.