July 2020 | Deltona Means Business
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Kite Tales

The monthly newsletter of the

Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail

   The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) is a network of over 500 sites throughout the state. The most current release of “Kite Tales” shares an article titled “Getting Back to Nature” which focuses on the great City of Deltona.

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Issue #4 | July 2020

  • Getting Back to Nature

Campbell Park

The Lake McGarity Wildlife Viewing Station at Campbell Park includes a two-story observation tower, boardwalk & viewing platforms for excellent views of waterbirds.

Getting Back to Nature

   The city of Deltona started as a master planned retirement community developed by the General Development Corporation.  The vision was a familiar one to Florida – provide affordable single-family homes to retirees.   Deltona opened in 1962 and has since grown to be the largest city in Volusia County in population and physical size.  Although the street parcel layout may appear to be stereotypical “suburban,” there is a lot more to the Deltona story than what the street map tells you.  Deltona is on its way to becoming a nature park showcase.

Thornby Park

Trails at Thornby Park wind through 40 acres of pristine wooded property.

   You see, when the city was being planned, a substantial amount of acreage was left undeveloped.  In some cases, 50+ acre swaths of land were leapfrogged over and today remain in their natural state.  The city of Deltona recognized that these land holdings represented a sustainable treasure for both residents and visitors.  The city’s EcoParks Program was born in 2010.

   Today seven EcoParks are open to the public and they allow passive access to habitats that range from hardwood swamp to sand hill scrub, pine prairie and hundreds of acres of lakes.  The EcoParks program is growing, with an additional six parks being considered for public use.  The Deltona nature idea is a simple concept – make nature accessible to all residents to enhance the quality of life.   For instance, although Deltona is driving distance to the world class Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, the local Audubon EcoPark will enable residents to enjoy a birding hotspot within the city limits.  More than 200 bird species sightings have been made in the Audubon EcoPark.

Audubon Park

An oak tree shades a waterside picnic spot at Audubon EcoPark. 

   Longer term, the city intends to become an Eco-Tourism hub, given its central location on the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail.  As a designated Trail Town, Deltona plans to link up its EcoParks with pathways.  While there, an Eco-Tourist will have the ability to visit EcoParks via bicycle or by paddling a planned Blueway Trail that will traverse the city’s Butler Chain of Lakes.

   Once regarded as a large suburban retirement community, Deltona is a great example of taking advantage of natural assets.  As such, the City hired Jerry Mayes as the city’s Ecological Tourism Sustainability Manager and he sums it up with this quote: “We want our residents and visitors to realize nature is closer than they may think.  Although we are thrilled that conservation of these lands is a sustainable practice, the most important part of this unique program is to enhance quality of life – because access to natural places make a happy and healthy community.”

For more information about the City of Deltona’s EcoParks, please visit www.FloridaEcoParks.com

Download @MyFWC Article PDF

Deltona Nature@MyFWC

Deltona Parks & Recreation

Deltona is the perfect mix of recreation, entertainment, ecological tourism and nature.

EcoParks

1. Audubon Park
Corner of Lush Ln. and Doyle Rd.

2.Big Lake Rookery

3. Community Gardens at Vann Park
675 Elgrove Drive

4. Lyonia Environmental Center & Nature Preserve
2150 Eustace Avenue

5. Thornby Park
110 Providence Blvd.

6. Lakeshore EcoVillage
980 Lakeshore Dr

7. Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
966 Lakeshore Drive

8. Three Island Lake Nature Preserve Park
2100 Brewster Drive

9. (West) Blue Heron Nature Preserve Park

10. Lake McGarity at Campbell Park
1315 Briarwood Avenue

Deltona Parks

11. Dewey O. Boster Sports Complex
1200 Saxon Blvd.

12. Dupont Lakes Park
2711 Elkcam Blvd.

13. Dwight Hawkins Park
3050 Riverhead Drive

14. Festival Park
191 Howland Blvd.

15. Firefighters’ Memorial Park
1426 East Lombardy Drive

16. Harris M. Saxon Community Center & Park
2329 California Street

17. Keysville Dog Park
2641 Keysville Avenue

18. Lake Butler Recreation Complex:
Youth Advisory Board Skate Park
301 Courtland Blvd

19. Lake Gleason Park
1019 East Gaucho Circle

20. Montecito Park
2394 Oberlin Lane

21. Manny Rodriguez Park
1570 Overton Street

22. Timber Ridge Park
1138 Glendale Avenue

23. Tom Hoffman Park
1751 Whipple Drive

24. Veterans’ Memorial Park & Museum
1921 Evard Avenue

25. Wes Crile Park
1537 Norbert Terrace

Many nature based experiences are offered with the City of Deltona. The Ecological Tourism Sustainability Plan consists of:

I. Trails
II. Nature Themed Parks
III. Back to Nature Pollinator Friendly Themed Project

The sustainability premise of the Ecological Tourism Sustainability Plan is this: with sufficient nature based attractions and experiences being offered, stays exceeding one day are to be expected. These extended stays, with “Heads on Pillows & Wallets Opened” will now enhance the ecological growth for:

1. Bicycle Shops, Kayak/Canoe Rentals. Bait and Fishing Shops, as well as other shops with essential provisions.

2. Restaurants, Cafés, Service Companies and Lodging.

The development of these ecological and nature based facilities fall into three groups, as follows:

I. TRAILS

• Florida’s St Johns River to Sea Loop Trail (accomplished)
• Florida’s Coast to Coast Trail (accomplished)
• Deltona’s Lakeshore Loop Trail (accomplished)
• Deltona: Florida Greenways & Trails designation – Trail Town (accomplished)
• Deltona: Florida Greenways & Trails designation – Lakeshore Trailhead (accomplished)
• Deltona: Lakeshore Trailhead Master Plan (Neel-Schaffer Consulting) (working)
• Deltona: Providence Boulevard North/South City Connector Stem Trail (working)
• Deltona: Providence Boulevard North/South City Branch Trail, connecting various City parks and new neighborhoods to the Providence Boulevard North/South City Connector Stem Trail (projected and working),
• Deltona: Lakeshore Blue Trail (projected)
• Deltona & Volusia County: Lakeshore Boardwalk Trail (projected)

The development of the Lakeshore EcoVillage is a City project to develop the property currently owned by the City of Deltona at 980 Lakeshore Drive. A “Cracker Revival Look” will add to the early Florida ambiance of a multi-room lodge, mini-houses, and tree houses. The lodging and restaurant will be available to the public, but is primarily intended for trail users, boaters, fishermen, and nature enthusiasts. In addition to the Lodge, the existing “Craft Building” will be rejuvenated and leased to a bicycle shop.  The “Little Red Schoolhouse” will be the informational and educational facility serving the trail system. Included will be the paving of this site’s parking lot, to provide better designation of parking, enhance traffic flows, and resolve the rain-washed debris onto the Lakeshore Loop Trail and Lakeshore Drive.


Partners: St Johns River to Sea Loop Association; Volusia County Parks & Recreation Department; Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Department of Greenways & Trails; Community of Enterprise; Edgewater Condominium Association; Lakeside Condominium Association; St Johns River Water Management District.

II. NATURE THEMED PARKS

Parks dedicated primarily as nature experience-based parks, with minimum manmade impact: minimal impact parking and trails, natural or manmade water features; educational/historical and nature themed signage; striving toward ADA compliancy. Linking these parks with an Nature-Park Tour Trail is based on the City of San Antonio’s Mission Trail, where the missions of San Antonio (circa 1700s and early 1800s) were connected with roads so that the missions could be accessed (in earlier times by one to two day’s wagon or horseback travel time, and by less than one-hour current time). Each park has wayfinding signage (directions also available via electronic access) showing the entire five-mission tour, with explicit directions to the two closest missions). One visit leads to another. The same thought applies to the Nature Park Tour Trail… follow the signage to each new park, to see birds and wildlife native to that ecosystem.

CURRENT NATURE-THEMED PARKS:

1. Lyonia Educational Center and Trails – Lyonia features a “birdwatcher’s life-bird” that is in great demand, the Florida Scrub Jay. Other wildlife is also featured, along with multiple educational themed exhibits and offerings. Currently out-of-state and out-of-country visitors exceed ten thousand visits annually;
2. Thornby Park – Thornby Park features an “all inclusive” playground for children with disabilities. The existing nature trail is currently being expanded to an outdoor classroom, a water feature, historical and nature features with signage, and is being upgraded to make it ADA accessible with benches, ramps, boardwalks, and a bridge;
3. Audubon Nature Park – Located with easy automobile access through the Doyle Road/Lush Lane parking entrance, and accessible to the trail systems for bikers and walkers through the South Entrance, Audubon offers a wide variety of natural themes:

Scrub Jay


A. In a one year study, over 200 species of birds were observed at this park by the Audubon Society.

B. There are numerous other (non-bird) species within the park.

C. There are five ecological systems, each offering a variety of differing flora and fauna;

D. There is an expanded water feature: A “falling water” series of ponds with water flowing from the shallow marsh impoundment to the deeper marsh pond, to the deep water pond…a series of three adjoining ponds. All attract various wildlife.

PLANNED NATURE-THEMED PARKS:

2019-2020

A. Beechdale Phase l – Located at Ft. Smith and Beechdale Drive, this is a two phased park that will offer expansive water features and open viewing areas, trails, parking, benches, and observation points.

B. Brewster (Three Island Lake) – Located in the NE area of Deltona, Brewster offers wooded trails that meander alongside Three Island Lake. It offers large oaks and pines, the lakeshore water feature, observation points connected by trails.

2020-2021

A. Beechdale Phase ll – This is a continuation of the Phase l development. It expands the nature-themed offerings with additional parks, bridges, raised boardwalks, and great overlooks.

B. Snook/Rookery – Located in a south/central location, this parks overlooks Big Lake, which is well known to nature enthusiasts for a large wading bird rookery. The lake water feature and rookery overlook are great focus points, but the trail will also feature low impact parking and trails, educational and wayfinding signage, and more.

C. Inclusion of Campbell Park, an existing City park. Campbell Park offers a low-impact trail, boardwalks, and a two-story observation tower overlooking Lake McGarity. Fishing and boating are also available, along with pavilions and picnic tables.

D. Deltona Community Gardens, an existing facility offering security fenced raised bed gardening, classes, community based gatherings, and more, will work with the City to expand a “food trail” featuring various native and common non-native fruit and nut trees to augment the gardens.
Partners: Volusia County ECHO Grant Program; West Volusia Audubon Society;

 

 

III. BACK TO NATURE POLLINATOR FRIENDLY THEMED PROJECT

2018   –Become a Monarch City USA designated city.

(accomplished). Begin a development and publicity program to provide locations, develop locations, promote pollinator friendly locations in both city-owned locations and privately owned locations, and publicize this program through recognition (signs and publicity).

2020     –In 2020, become an official “Pollinator Friendly City”, via the Xerces Association accreditation.

A. Become a “Bee City”, via the Florida Bee Keepers Association.

2020    -Through resolution, become a Bird Sanctuary City.

 

PROMOTION VIA NATURE THEMED FESTIVALS

2020      

Themed Event

  1. Resolution to be placed before City of Deltona Commission to declare 2020 “The Year of the Butterfly”.
  2. The initial “City of Deltona Monarch Festival” planned for spring of 2020.
monarch

 

2021             

Themed Event

  1. Resolution placed before City of Deltona Commission to declare 2021 “The Year of the Bird”.
  2. The initial “City of Deltona Birding & Nature Festival” in first quarter of 2021.

Partners: West Volusia Audubon Society; Florida Wildlife Commission; Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; Department of Greenways & Trails. Deltona Community Gardens, Xerces Association, Monarch City USA

 

For a full list of Deltona’s Parks, visit the City’s online directory by clicking here: City Park Directory

 

 

 

Ecotourism & Preservation

   Over the past few years, the City of Deltona has focused on the development of nature themed parks, and an extensive trail and bicycle system to access these resources and help the physical as well as the emotional well-being of our citizens.

   Parks and recreation facilities provide opportunities for physical activity and can help people of all ages lead a more active lifestyle. People who live near parks are more likely to be active, improving their quality of life. Our research documents the most effective ways to improve the design, quality and availability of parks and recreation resources. Making EcoParks accessible in all communities is a critical strategy for increasing physical activity, economic growth and preventing COVID-19.

Florida EcoParks

The City of Deltona EcoParks Initiative

The Wildlife Viewing and Nature Tourism Academy approached the City of Deltona to participate at its national meeting being held in Florida in 2020. Deltona was the only municipal government participating in the academy, which is sponsored by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. This was in recognition of the significant strides the City has made to develop and connect residents to nature. The Academy has asked the City of Deltona to share its story at the next Annual Academy Event.

Neighboring Cities of Sanford and DeBary are working with Deltona Staff to cooperatively market and share our collective Natural Assets. Taken together, these three city’s form a region with exceptional outdoor recreational assets. Moving forward, this three city partnership will continue to cooperatively enhance our complementary efforts.

The City of Deltona will contain a feature article in an upcoming edition of the Florida Fish and Wildlife publication called “Catch a Wild Tourist”. This article will outline the City’s overarching goal of creating passive outdoor nature parks within a city often associated with suburbanization.

The Conservation Florida Organization is working with the City to make the 483 Acre D-Ranch publicly accessible to educate residents and visitors on natural areas, EcoParks and wildlife corridors.

 

 

 

Community Gardens

Community Gardening in Deltona, grow your own fruits and vegetables. It’s your garden!

Did you know that #Deltona has a community garden? Founded in 2016, Deltona Community Gardens is located at
675 Elgrove Drive Next to Vann Park.

   You can have a garden of your own! It only takes “Sweat & Seeds” You may also learn about beekeeping, #gardening, canning/food preservation and more at the learning center. With plans for an environmental walking path, #butterfly garden and picnic area… Deltona Community Gardens needs your support. Please visit today and get your garden growing.

   New and experienced gardeners will be able to rent a garden bed and grow their own healthy food. Deltona Community Gardens has ground raised beds as well as elevated beds for those with special needs. We will also be tending some garden beds so that we can share the harvest with others in the community. Enjoy the amazing butterfly garden, which is a new addition. Those that are interested can sign up to help with butterfly activities. This will be the place for people to learn about gardening, get involved and share information/ideas about gardening.

 Mission

   To strengthen our community by providing a learning environment to meet and share our cultural experiences and enjoy the benefits of growing a garden and taking it from seed to table.

   The Deltona Community Gardens is a program under Deltona Strong

Deltona Community Gardens is located at Vann Park in Deltona

   If you would like more information or would like to rent a garden bed, stop by, call us and be sure to join our Facebook group for “Deltona Gardeners”, Deltona Community Gardens Group We offer ground raised beds as well as elevated beds for special needs individuals. Having a garden is like having a good, loyal friend. Get involved and visit today!

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