I’ve been working this past year to lay the foundation for Hidden Cypress Hollow Environmental Center (HCHEC,LLC) here at my river property. If you haven’t been here, my family owns 16 acres along the Little Wekiva River in Longwood. Five acres are good ‘ole Florida swamp, five are pristine woods, and six are compiled of a pasture with barn, camp grounds, plant nursery, orange grove, swimming hole, and a pine island in the middle of the river. We have shared it with countless Boy and Girl Scout troops, church and environmental groups, local schools and Universities, neighbors and friends. The focal point and namesake of the property is The Colonel, a 2,100 year old grand bald cypress tree (named in honor of my dad) that is now the largest in Central Florida and one of Florida’s Champion Tree contenders. This is Florida at its natural finest.
Most of you know my passion for this place… the river, et.al., the wildlife, especially the bears, the birds, the native plants, etc. I’ve become an environmental educator by immersing myself in its raw beauty, and have gained 40 years of hands-on experience with my desire to protect it. As an avid outdoors woman and long-time environmentalist, coupled with my background as a youth advocate, a teacher, a photographer, a writer, and Master Gardener, it seems a natural progression and almost a calling to open HCH Environmental Center, LLC. This is my legacy.
My vision is to continue to provide environmental adventure with nature and swamp walks, camping, canoeing, kayaking, and bonfires. I also have classes in outdoor survival skills, photography, Dutch oven cooking, native and invasive plants, and local Native American history. I have a super cool summer eco-camp a few weeks each summer. And next year, I will be partnering with Seminole County’s 4H program to provide after-school programs in ecology, nature photography, recyclable art, and community gardening.
There is much to be done. I need to repair the bridge, build picnic benches, a pavilion, a small canoe dock and storage shed, repair the roof on the barn, and buy a couple of kayaks… for starters.
I am humbly asking if you would be willing and able to help fund some of these projects. HCHEC officially began in May 2013. I have opened an account in order to accept donations, either by check, or PayPal. In exchange for any contributions, whether financial, in- kind, supplies, or good ole manual labor, I offer this little gem of pristine Florida to you… to enjoy any time with your family. ‘Like’ Hidden Cypress Hollow on Facebook and see all the fun we’ve already had! And the website is almost finished! If you have any questions, or would like to schedule one of my famous walk-abouts, please email me, and remember, you are welcome at my campfire anytime! (And I throw a darn good campfire party!)
1500 Delk Road Longwood, Florida 32779 [email redacted]
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