“Going Green: Thriving wildflowers become roadside attraction in Florida”

“Going Green: Thriving wildflowers become roadside attraction in Florida”

Photo: Peter Bauer, AP

“Even though there had been a few previous attempts to promote roadside wildflowers, roadside vegetation ‘had never been seen by the department as a benefit,’ said state transportation landscape architect Jeff Caster.

Roadsides were seen ‘as a liability rather than an asset, something the department needs to perpetually control and keep from protruding into the road.

But over time, that attitude has changed and a new approach is taking shape, he said.

The recent study by George Harrison, an economist with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, was arranged at the urging of the Florida Wildflower Foundation… 

Using formulas and estimates from studies elsewhere in the nation, Harrison concluded the 93,000 acres of state highway rights of way that are covered in plants are worth more than a half-billion dollars a year, in terms of runoff reduction, carbon storage and pollination…

‘It’s a little bit of choreography,’ he said. ‘You have to figure out the right time to mow and the frequency of mowing.’

Mowing has to wait until after wildflowers bloom and produce seeds, so the mowers can help distribute the wildflowers’ seeds, he said. But without mowing the rest of the year, the wildflowers would be shaded out by other plants.

With the study in hand, Roberts said the Wildflower Foundation hopes to work with counties and the department to lobby for management that will keep the roadside ecosystems more natural, she said, adding beauty and providing more habitat for bees and other important pollinators.”

— Dinah Voyles Pulver , Daytona Beach News-Journal

William D. Brinton Celebration and Endowment in Jacksonville

William D. Brinton Celebration and Endowment in Jacksonville

Photo: Leah Powell
Bill Brinton has spent a lifetime as a protector of unspoiled views. He has successfully battled local, state and national forces bent on visual assault caused by installation of outdoor advertising and other unsightly intrusions.

He believes in the power of citizens to take a stand for the irreplaceable resources that matter most. Because of his foresight, you can be part of a mobilized citizenry that ensures our scenic surroundings for generations to come.

Bill chose to mark the 30th anniversary of the successful Jacksonville City Charter Amendment banning new billboards and removing more than 1,400 existing billboards with the creation of the Scenic Jacksonville Endowment to Protect and Enhance Scenic Beauty in Jacksonville.

When fully funded, this endowment will enable Scenic Jacksonville — also celebrating its 30th anniversary — to continue its vital work to preserve the breathtaking views we cherish and provide support for new projects that enhance our much-loved home.

It is Bill’s vision to raise $300,000 for the endowment, which is held at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. His dream is to see it provide perpetual funding for the things he holds most dear: civic engagement, advocacy, and education.

He’s eager to involve the next generation by sponsoring photo and essay contests to instil a love of our natural surroundings in young citizens.

There is so much more we can do together if we rally around Bill’s visionary leadership and ultimate victory over unsightly signage.

For more information about the fund, please contact Nina Waters, President, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida at(904) 356-4483 or nwaters@jaxcf.org.

To contribute to the Scenic Jacksonville Endowment to Protect and Enhance Scenic Beauty in Jacksonville, go to jaxcf.org/donate and enter Scenic Jacksonville into the Search box.”
Save the Date: May 17 for a Celebration in Jacksonville
Visit the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida

–Scenic Jacksonville

“Neighbors create petition to protect William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway”

“Neighbors create petition to protect William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway”

Video: Action News Jax

“St. Johns County neighbors are fighting back against the rapid growth in that county.

Hundreds [update: 1500+] have signed a petition to save a scenic stretch threatened by new construction.

For nearly 17 miles, the William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway stretches along State Road 13 under moss-draped trees with a view of the St. Johns River.

‘Many of us who moved there, moved there for the very reason because of the beauty of the area and the serenity of the area,’ William Edenfield said. ‘I fear that we are going to have the possibility of a great loss of a historic area.’

About 5000 homes are being built along a scenic highway & neighbors are concerned that traffic will take away from the beauty.

Neighbors tell me they fear the highway will have to be widened which would destroy their scenic views.

A petition is circulating the web to save the scenic highway and it already has 1,500 supporters…

Bob McNally, the creator of the petition, said his biggest concern is that the Florida Department of Transportation will be forced to turn the road into four lanes to accommodate excess traffic.

‘It would be awful if that happened, to say the least,’ Edenfield said.

Edenfield said Rivertown has another exit area that spills out on a divided four-lane highway from Long Leaf Pine Parkway.

‘Directing more traffic onto that highway might help preserve at least a little bit of what we have now,’ he said…”

Danielle Avitable, Action News Jax

South Walton County: Trip to the Scenic Corridor

South Walton County: Trip to the Scenic Corridor

Photo: Bill Jonson

“Richard Rubino marveled at the scenic beauty and eye-catching neighborhoods in South Walton County as a tour bus drove him around the Alys Beach area Saturday.

Rubino, a member of Citizens for a Scenic Florida, had never been to Alys Beach before but liked what he saw.

‘I am very impressed by the quality of the development, the atmosphere,’ said the Tallahassee resident, one of about 20 members of Scenic Florida on the tour…

The Scenic Corridor Association in South Walton…is working to spruce up the area. Leigh Moore, a member of the Corridor Association and Scenic Florida, said the group currently is finishing narrow landscaped asphalt buffers along U.S. 98, the first phase in the East Corridor Improvement Project.

And there are bigger plans for the future: putting down buffers from Orange Street to the Bay County line and farther westward to WaterSound Parkway, as well as an underpass for pedestrians and cyclists along 30A. Moore said the group also would like to put all roadway utilities underground, which would be an aesthetic boost, limit storm damage and cut down on vehicles ramming into poles…

‘It’s fun and surprising,’ said Scenic Florida president Bill Jonson, who lives in Clearwater. ‘It has eye candy. The lights here are beautiful.’

But as the region grows, Jonson and others with Scenic Florida want to preserve its natural sights…”

–Collin Breaux, Panama City News Herald

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