A Living Trust

The Indian River Land Trust is doing its part to keep our county green
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Mangroves, salt marshes, tropical oak hammocks, pine flatwoods, wetlands, shoreline and islands: These are among the environments protected by the Indian River Land Trust. The work of the Land Trust is illustrative of the rich variety of habitats found in the Vero Beach area and the importance of preserving such places for the future.

Established in 1990, the Land Trust saved McKee Botanical Garden, then called McKee Jungle Gardens, through a 10-year project for the purchase and restoration of the iconic Vero Beach site. The garden is now protected in perpetuity by an easement. Today, the Land Trust is focused on acquiring environmentally valuable land to protect it from development. Its mission is summed up with three key goals: “Preserve environmentally important land and water resources; protect scenic waterfront areas; provide access for public recreation and education.”

How do you begin to meet those goals? Much of the work began with a map. “When we started out, we had a mapping project done,” says Ann Alleva Taylor, the director of marketing and philanthropy for the Land Trust. The map combined state and local data to show “where the best habitats were,” taking into account “habitat value, open space value and development pressure.” This process would allow the Land Trust to “prioritize what properties to acquire, if there were willing sellers.”

In other words, it was an ecological treasure map, and it showed the places where “X” should mark the spot.

Categories: Features