Oakland Nature Preserve

747 Machete Trail
Oakland, FL 34760



"Preserving our natural resources of tomorrow through education and restoration today"

By the mid-1990’s, the restoration of the long polluted and endlessly abused Lake Apopka was beginning. The Board of Directors of the Friends of Lake Apopka, the main citizen advocacy group for the lake, realized that long-term citizen support for the restoration process was necessary and also noted that, as the lake was restored, development pressures in the basin would increase. This led to a search to find land on the shoreline where the restoration could be interpreted for the public, providing a window on this process.

As the hard work of restoring citrus and pine groves back to the original sandhill ecology that existed on site, the group began to realize that they had a much greater story to tell than just Lake Apopka restoration. Ecologic restoration is a fairly new science and on this site one could see on-going changes in the plant and animal communities, some naturally occurring and others introduced by the volunteers. Exotic species were removed; appropriate plant species were planted or came in by natural recruitment. Gopher tortoises were introduced and as the plant community changed, many bird and mammal species began to appear. The decision was made to expand the original plans to make this a significant environmental education center and the following Mission was adopted:  

To promote understanding of the fragile balances between mankind and the environment by Educating present and future generations about natural ecosystems of Lake Apopka Basin and by Restoring and Concerving the lands within the Preserve.

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