January 19, 2023

North Florida Land Trust and the City of Jacksonville are pleased to announce that 4.5 acres in danger of development in Mandarin have now been purchased and added to Ferngully Preserve. NFLT helped raise $62,500 through community donations, and the City then matched the donations to reach the purchase price and acquire the property from the landowner. The land is along Woodside Lane adjacent to the 21-acre Ferngully Preserve, which the City acquired in 2001 through the Preservation Project with funds from the Better Jacksonville Plan. It is also bordered on the east by property owned by Duval Audubon, who contributed to the fundraising initiative.

“We are thrilled that we could help and are thankful for the community who stepped up to keep this land in its natural state because it is now or never,” said Allison DeFoor, president of NFLT. “If this land had been developed, it would have caused significant environmental damage to the area and ruined habitats for endangered wildlife and plant species. This is why we do what we do. We will continue to work hard to protect our natural spaces.”

The 4.5 acres are primarily wetlands that help regulate the area’s water flow and prevent flooding. In addition, it serves as a habitat for threatened or endangered wildlife species, including the wood stork and gopher tortoise. It is also home to important endangered plant habitats.

District 6 City Council Member Michael Boylan, along with his fellow City Council Member Matt Carlucci and the City’s Assistant General Counsel, reached out to NFLT and asked the nonprofit land conservation organization to help them with funding to purchase the land and keep it from becoming developed.

“I am so very pleased and proud to learn of the completion of the purchase of the property that will be added to the Ferngully Preserve,” Boylan said. “Without the willing participation of the North Florida Land Trust in partnership the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Administration, and the approval of my colleagues on City Council in supporting the appropriation of the matching funds, it would not have been possible. Another great example of the public and nonprofit sectors working together for the benefit of our citizens. “

NFLT works closely with cities and municipalities around the region to assist in conservation efforts. For example, NFLT has helped the City of Jacksonville with many projects, including the expansion of McGirts Creek Park, the acquisition of conservation lands along the Ortega River, and the creation of the 7 Creeks Recreation Area, which includes NFLT’s Bogey Creek Preserve. They are also currently working with the City to acquire property to create the Emerald Trail, among other projects.

About North Florida Land Trust

North Florida Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the quality of life by protecting North Florida’s irreplaceable natural environment. Founded in 1999, NFLT has preserved tens of thousands of acres of land through the donation or purchase of land as well as conservation easements.  NFLT is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with willing landowners and public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations.