The Groundwork Jacksonville Green Team Youth Corps joined Timucuan Parks Foundation recently for a day of outdoor fun. TPF hosted 22 teens from the group at Dutton Island Preserve where they participated in a nature hike, fishing and outdoor cooking. The event marked the partial resumption of outdoor programming for TPF who modified the day’s events to follow the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
“Each year, we host this group of young people from the urban sector to introduce them to Jacksonville’s preservation parks and teach them about conservation and the environment,” said Felicia Boyd, TPF outreach and program director. “Dutton Island Preserve is just one of Jacksonville’s special “wilderness” parks where we can explore the woods, view wildlife in a salt marsh habitat, and enjoy fun outdoor activities.”
The Groundwork Jacksonville Green Team Youth Corps is made up of teens from Jacksonville’s Emerald Trail neighborhoods who are selected, mentored, and trained to implement a variety of environmental remediation and conservation projects in the urban core. TPF, along with its national, state, and city park partners, introduces the group to the Timucuan Preserve and other preservation parks where they can engage in healthy outdoor recreation and service-learning projects including kayaking, hiking, watershed cleanups, and park beautification and resiliency projects.
For their signature summer project, the Green Team Youth Corps will be assisting the National Park Service with developing outreach materials related to the 400thcommemoration of Africans being brought to the United States to be enslaved. The teens have been working with park personnel, learning about potential careers in park management, interpretation, and maintenance.
Grants from the National Environmental Education Foundation and REI help fund TPF’s outdoor adventure and service-learning projects for diverse youth, like the Groundwork teens and others. The programs are designed to introduce the city’s youth to Jacksonville’s parks and preserves and to help them learn about the environment, preservation and careers in public lands.
About Timucuan Parks Foundation
The Timucuan Parks Foundation is a nonprofit organization that preserves, promotes and enhances Jacksonville’s natural areas through community engagement, education and enjoyment. The foundation originated in 1999 with the Preservation Project Jacksonville, Inc. to identify and assist in acquiring the most vulnerable and environmentally sensitive lands in Duval County. The acquisition of lands created the largest urban park system in the United States. The Timucuan Parks Foundation works with its park partners, including the National Park Service, Florida State Parks and the City of Jacksonville, to promote environmental stewardship, the health benefits of the parks and preserves, and an appreciation for Jacksonville’s special outdoor spaces. For more information, visit timucuanparks.org.
About Groundwork Jacksonville
Groundwork Jacksonville, Inc., is the city’s nonprofit partner in building the Emerald Trail and restoring McCoys Creek and Hogans Creek. Groundwork was formed in 2014 as a partnership between the City of Jacksonville, the US National Park Service, the US Environmental Protection Agency and Groundwork USA. Groundwork is one of 21 Trusts across the country and the only Trust in Florida.The Green Team Youth Corps works to instill environmental stewardship and leadership skills among youth ages 13–18, who live in, worship or attend school within one of Jacksonville’s Emerald Trail neighborhoods. For more information visit groundworkjax.org, or follow @GroundworkJax.