Quality of Life


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Cultural Affairs

Nature Operations


Great Air
Potato Roundup


Nature Operations Division

Prescribed BurnThe Nature Operations Division is responsible for managing and protecting the City of Gainesville's natural areas, developing nature-based recreation, and providing environmental education programs for schools and the public. The division conducts a wide variety of natural resource management practices such as prescribed burns, plant and animal inventories, natural resource monitoring, and non-native invasive plant control. It maintains 37 different active parks, the historic Evergreen Cemetery and Thomas Center, the Downtown and City Hall Plazas and more than 80 street medians. The division's Urban Forestry section also annually plants 1,000 trees throughout the City while continuing to maintain the City's expansive tree canopy. Educational programs include community education classes, nature preschool programs, and nature-based school break day camps and programs. Many popular special events, such as naturalist-led nature walks, are held throughout the year.

2007 Highlights
  • Managed fire dependent natural areas with two prescribed burns safely conducted at Morningside Nature Center totaling 20 acres.
  • Continued the fight against invasive plants, receiving a grant of more than $32,000 from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to fund control of invasive vines, such air potato, in 55 acres of forest in Loblolly Woods.
  • Coordinated construction of Hogtown Creek Greenway Phase 1B (shown on the main page of this site).
  • Maintained 30,000 trees on street rights-of-way and 10,000 trees in parks through the Urban Forest Management Team. In addition, 1,000 new trees were planted through the Tree-mendous Gainesville program.
  • Native Plant Sale
  • Encouraged the sale of native plants through the Friends of Nature Parks and the Native Plant Society Fall and Spring Native Plant Sales, boasting 817 buyers.
  • Traveled back in time with 4,065 visitors during the annual Farm and Forest Festival at the Morningside Nature Center Living History Farm, experiencing period demonstrations, entertainment, and food. Living History Days allowed 2,371 visitors to spend time on a self sustaining rural farm in the year 1870 and experience a day in the life of a farmer.
  • Summer, winter and spring Earth Academy Day Camps provided opportunities for 102 elementary aged children to explore natural and cultural history. Staff also incorporated character development through activities and lessons on trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, caring, fairness and citizenship.
  • Great Air Potato Roundup
  • Recruited 1,284 volunteers to help rid Gainesville's natural areas of invasive, exotic plants and trash at the Great Air Potato Roundup, harvesting four and a half tons of air potatoes.
  • Provided educational programming to 2,972 elementary and middle school participants from Alachua and surrounding counties.
  • Teamed up with the Recreation Division to offer nature based programming to 1,300 recreation campers this past summer.
  • Doubled the number of volunteers, recruiting 2,182 volunteers serving 5,284 hours at 28 events, significantly exceeding the City Commission's goal of registering 300 volunteers and holding 11 events.
  • Completed a number of significant improvements in City Parks this past year, while continuing to maintain 37 different active parks, the historic Evergreen Cemetery and Thomas Center, the Downtown and City Hall Plazas and more than 80 street medians.