Plans unveiled to “re-wild” quad parcels next to Celery Fields

The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast and the Sarasota Audubon Society are working...
The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast and the Sarasota Audubon Society are working together to flip 33 acres of empty land into a lavish forest.(Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast)
Published: Feb. 19, 2022 at 2:21 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Lovers of Sarasota’s Celery Fields have reason to get excited this weekend.

Plans are being unveiled to turn 33 acres of land next to the fields into a vibrant forest.

The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast and the Sarasota Audubon Society are teaming up to re-wild the quad parcels--a swath of land stemming from the intersection at Palmer and Apex Road in Sarasota.

For decades, the large space has been left as empty fields. So, the two organizations are unveiling plans to install trees, water features, and walking trails.  The goal is to make it a forest where birds can find natural habitats and visitors can enjoy the views.

“Of course, that will bring different types and people will of course be able to see different types of birds and plants and animals in different habitats than what they currently have here,” Christine Purvis Johnson, the President of the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, said.

It’s a win for people who want to see that area stay green.

In the past, developers had eyes for this spot, but community members have pushed back. Eventually, Sarasota County declared it a preserved space in 2019.

”And when you think of what could have been on those parcels and to see what it’s going to be it’s just thrilling,” Susan Ritchey, a local birdwatcher, said.

The Conservation Foundation isn’t sure exactly how much the project will cost. The president predicts it will be several million dollars at least.

However, these plans aren’t set in stone. There’s still a need for funding to make these plans happen, and the organizations have not yet gone through the permit process.

If you’d like to donate, you can do so by clicking here.

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