Author: Savanne Giroire, Marketing and Events Assistant
In 2019, Jacksonville was ranked as the 9th most polluted city in Florida out of 43 included cities in the state. With Florida’s risk of flooding in the next 30 years, we will likely see these effects in the coming years. There are environmental strides to be done everywhere and soon, and Groundwork Jacksonville is helping our city do this work.
Founded in 2014 as the city’s non-profit partner, in the formulation of the Emerald Trail and restoration of McCoy’s Creek and Hogans Creek, Groundwork Jacksonville is one of the 22 Groundwork USA trusts in the United States and the only trust in the state. Groundwork’s mission is to enable sustainable regeneration, strengthening the management of the physical environment by creating community-based partnerships that help residents, businesses, and organizations promote environmental, economic, and social well-being.
After months of planning, Groundwork has worked with community stakeholders, city and business leaders to design and complete the Emerald Trail by 2029. Originally envisioned by famed architect Henry Klutho in the early 20th century, these unique outdoor green-spaces will surround downtown and include its 14 historic districts, including close to 30 miles of trails, greenways, and parks connecting the downtown core, Hogans Creek, McCoy’s Creek and the St. Johns River. Their beautification efforts also span to public art, such as the Sugar Hill Mosaic.
The organization’s other green initiatives include the Green Team Youth Corps which focuses on educating and inspiring youths to combine passions of urban neighborhoods and nature while providing skills to the new generation of environmentally engaged leaders of Jacksonville through paid and service-based programs targeting leadership development, STEAM Principle Learning, and environmental empathy.
Their CREST Program (Community Restoration Environmental Stewardship Training) is open to all ages and trains residents into environmental stewards through workshops, creek clean-ups, and field trips. It was created through community engagement efforts of the restoration of McCoys Creek, and out of the desire to improve neighborhoods while increasing business opportunities in our local communities.
You can donate and even become a member of Groundwork Jacksonville to support these initiatives. If you’re wondering how to have a more active role in making #DTJax a greener place to live while helping residents and businesses build trust and solve community issues, be sure to look into more of their community engagement initiatives!
Don’t forget to tag us at #DTJax and inspire others how you help keep Jacksonville green!