In the News

November 2017 Hurricane Irma recovery efforts continue

Hurricane Irma recovery efforts continue along Green Horizon Land Trust trails and properties, most specifically ScrubPlum in Babson Park, Pedersen Preserve in Dundee and Lewis Arboretum in Winter Haven. Below are reports about the efforts at each of these properties.

Sally Morrison and 4 other Babson Park volunteers met early Saturday, September 30 at the Scrub Plum Trail sign with chain saws, loppers and clippers to clear limbs dropped by Hurricane Irma. They cleared all three ScrubPlum trails of debris in about 3 hours!

It was a very successful workday with the 5 stalwart volunteers. The oldest 2 volunteers were 80 and going strong! Roger Bergere single-handedly cleaned up the native triangle along Scenic Hwy. Once the trails were cleared, the "mystery" trail mower, Sam Van Hook helped prepare the trails for Babson Park Elementary school fall 'walk and talks'.

The 'Babson Park 5' volunteers reported some beautiful wildflowers on the Scrub Plum trail. The blazing stars are starting to blaze! When visiting Scrub Plum, please note the erosion control palm logs (donated by Wirts Point Nursery) and hauled by Joey and Sally. Green Horizon offers a huge "Thank You" to the 'Babson Park 5' for organizing, working and leading at ScrubPlum!

Pederson Preserve

Volunteer and GHLT Director, Tom Palmer, has worked tirelessly to clear trails at Pedersen Preserve off of Scenic Highway in Dundee both before Hurricane Irma and after. A tree crew from Amphibious Aquatics was also utilized in clearing the trails of hurricane debris.

If visitors would like to hike the trails, please do so during daylight hours. If you pack it in, pack it out. Be on the lookout for Pedersen's residents, like the turkeys below!

If you would like to help maintain trails or control invasive/exotic vegetation, please contact Executive Director Rachelle Selser at or call her at 863-678-1237.


Lewis Arboretum

The trails at Lewis Arboretum were blocked with downed trees, limbs and debris from Hurricane Irma. Downed brush blocked the trails from entry point (shown in the photo), to both the newly refurbished wooden foot bridge and the end-of-trail concrete bridge.

One beautiful oak that stood at the second of three benches now bridges across the trail but provides a wonderful climbing structure to those nimble enough to give it a try. This oak also seems to provide opportunities for hanging a few hammocks to enjoy the breeze, a book or a nap, at your leisure.

Amphibious Aquatics spent several days whittling away at the trees and debris with chain saws, loppers and winches in order to clear the trails. In the image below you can see how one spot looked before and after the many hard hours' work those dedicated volunteers toiled. Many thanks, Amphibious Aquatics!

Note: Fern Gully Loop is now open at Lewis Arboretum as part of the recently acquired 20 acre addition donated to GHLT by the late Talbot Lewis December, 2016.

November 2017 | Director's Retreat scheduled for January, 2018

The 2018 Director's Retreat has been scheduled for Saturday, January 27th from 8AM – 12PM in the Magnolia Room at Bok Tower Gardens. Members are welcome to attend, in addition to directors or advisory board members. Marketing, membership and goals for 2019 are the focus of the agenda.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Rachelle Selser, GHLT Executive Director via email: or call 863-678-1237.

November 2017 | 2018 Annual Membership Meeting and Dinner

The 2018 Annual Membership Meeting and Dinner will be held at Bok Tower Gardens on Sunday, March 11th at 5:30 p.m. The guest speaker will be Andy Noland, Kissimmee State Park Manager, who will present on Kissimmee State Park Celebrates 40 Years as a State Park. The Blazing Star nominee is Mr. Paul Fellers, for his years of conservation outreach, nature based education, guided hikes and events.

July 2017 | Remembering James Edgar “Jim” Pedersen

Green Horizon Land Trust extends our heartfelt condolences to the family of Jim Pedersen, who passed away at the age of 89. Mr. Pedersen donated the 40+ acre Pedersen Preserve to Green Horizon Land Trust. Many people are fond of visiting the preserve, exploring the trails, observing wildlife, savoring the serene peace of Lake Annie. Jim will be missed by all who knew him.

Read more about Jim in this memorial.

June 2017 | Remembering Talbot 'Tal' Lewis

Green Horizon Land Trust extends our sincere sympathies to the family of Tal Lewis, who passed away at the age of 91. Mr. Lewis donated the 60+ acre Michael V. Lewis Arboretum to GHLT. For over 40 years Mr. Lewis collected  ornamental plants, including many species of palms, and planted them within a landscape he designed. Many people enjoy visiting the arboretum and exploring the trails, marveling at the trees and observing the wildlife.
Tal will be missed by all who knew him.
Read more about Tal in this memorial in The Ledger.

March 2017 | Green Horizon Land Trust Annual Dinner

Thanks to all who joined us for our annual membership meeting and dinner at Bok Tower Garden. Tom Palmer presented "A Veteran Reporter’s Environmental History of Polk County Florida." Tom retired from The Ledger after 36 years as Senior Reporter, Columnist, and Blogger in September 2016 (See Tom Palmer leaves a great legacy, The Ledger).

Our Blazing Star Award honors those who have made significant contributions to the preservation of environmentally sensitive lands or environmental education. The 2017 Blazing Star was awarded to Tom for his non-stop contributions. Read more about Tom.

Guests enjoyed socializing at the reception and dinner. Our successful silent auction included two Diane Pierce “Scrub Jay” numbered and signed prints; one Fish Hawk print, one Tufted Titmouse print, one Ghost Orchid photo; plants from the Tower & Garden Gift Shop at Bok Tower Gardens and also from The Natives, Inc.

Many thanks to our Annual Dinner sponsors: AMEC/Foster/Wheeler Environmental & Infrastructure, Bok Tower Gardens, Citizens Bank & Trust, Duke Energy, Mosaic, Pat Cain Wealth Solutions with Raymond James, and Victor Smith Law Group.

December 2016 | Twenty Acres Added to Lewis Arboretum and Parrott Trial.

Just before Christmas 2016, Mr. Talbot Lewis donated approximately 20 additional acres, adjacent to the 40 acre Michael V. Lewis Arboretum and Luther C. Parrott Trail to Green Horizon Land Trust. The hiking trails and natural areas increased by 1/3 due to this donation in SE Winter Haven off of Overlook Drive.  Many thanks to Mr. Lewis for his generosity!  The arboretum and trails are open during daylight hours to the public with grassed parking off of Overlook Drive across from the entrance to Emily Estates and St. Matthew's Catholic Church.

October 2015 | Generous New Land Donation on Lake Buffum

Green Horizon recently acquired 507.46 acres through inheritance and generous donation from the Estate of (the late) Barbara Lindsey Durrance and Myron Davis. This lovely parcel on the southern edge of Lake Buffum, Ft. Meade, FL is a significant addition, and we are grateful for the generosity of these families. The parcel is mostly wetland with interesting hydrological points, as well as wooded wildlife habitat for numerous species of flora and fauna.