Achievements & Goals

ATC Achievements

  • In 2013, ATC collaborated with the Nassau County Planning & Economic Opportunity Department to develop the first tree ordinance for Amelia Island. Since then, ATC has periodically provided input to the County on improvement of this ordinance and served on the County Planning and Zoning Board committee updating the ordinance. ATC has also provided input on several revisions of the Fernandina Beach tree ordinance and served on the committee established by the PAB to study the section on the industrial sector. In addition, ATC provides materials to support City and County efforts to protect trees on Amelia Island.
  • ATC has effected change through advocacy. ATC testifies at meetings and writes letters regarding trees and our maritime forest, development, wetlands and density issues that impact our trees. ATC also meets with developers, architects, builders and utility companies. ATC has established and values strong working relationships with other environmental groups on the Island.
  • Wherever possible, ATC promotes land conservation and, with the help of its GIS volunteers, identifies Amelia Island properties containing healthy canopy for conservation easements or acquisition, working with North Florida Land Trust and municipal government.
  • ATC has significantly increased community awareness regarding the importance of our trees as well as the rate of canopy loss by providing presentations, community meetings, booths at Wild Amelia’s Eco-Expo and other events, activities, articles and advertising. ATC has also inspired and provided input to journalists writing about Amelia Island trees and provided information for the Natural History exhibit at the Amelia Island Museum of History. In 2017, ATC undertook a major revision of its website and communication tools.
  • ATC promotes the planting of shade trees in our community and provides support for other organizations undertaking this effort. We have planted trees in Egans Creek Park and at the Boys and Girls Club and been associated with other planting efforts, such as landscaping at the Fernandina Beach Library.

ATC Awards

Each year at our business meeting, ATC presents awards to individuals and companies that make significant contributions to maintaining our maritime canopy on Amelia Island.

  • 2017 Award for extraordinary service to our trees and canopy:
    • Peg Lehosit for her Heritage Tree Project in Fernandina Beach.
  • 2016 Awards for extraordinary service to our trees and canopy:
    • Jo-Ann Leimberg, for her extensive service to ATC and the trees of Amelia Island while a member of the ATC Steering Committee.
    • Shelly Nordlinger, for her largely single-handed effort to reduce canopy loss on Quattlefield Lane and to achieve Canopy Road designation.
    • Robyn Nemes, for creation of the Wild Amelia Junior Naturalist Program to educate our community and the next generation regarding the nature of the Amelia Island environment, particularly the maritime forest, and her success in engaging both young and old in that environment.
  • 2015 Awards for extraordinary service to our trees and canopy:
    • Dudley Benesh and Phil Grifin of Amelia Coast Realty, for their efforts to preserve one of the most outstanding live oaks on the island at the corner of 8th and Elm Streets.
    • Chris Occhuizzo, for his service to ATC and the trees of Amelia Island while a member of the ATC Steering Committee.

Voice of the Island Awards

New in 2017, ATC presents awards as warranted to individuals who have provided
extraordinary service to the environment of Amelia Island by speaking out orally, in writing or through photography.

  • 2017 Voice of the Island Awards:
    • MaVynee Betsch, for establishing a legacy of speaking out for the Amelia Island environment.
    • Joan Bean, for a lifetime of speaking out for the welfare of Amelia Island.
    • Munsell McPhillips, for developing and presenting “The Secret Life of Trees: Living in a Maritime Forest” and her many other contributions.
    • Tom Cote-Merow, for his active engagement in public discourse in support of the environment

Goals, Objectives & Strategies

Overarching goal: Zero Net Canopy Loss
Objectives:
  • Defeat SB 574 and HB 521 to keep tree ordinances local.
  • Facilitate the development of a Fernandina Beach land conservation program.
  • Facilitate the development of an island-wide Urban Forest Management Plan to protect our green infrastructure in both the city and county portions of the island. This includes:
    • a comprehensible and enforceable tree ordinance with teeth;
    • requirement of “site specific” plans that work around existing trees and topography; utilizing current, scientifically sound design and construction practices, such as Conservation Site Design and Low Impact Development approaches;
    • an ISA-certified arborist to provide the city and county “go-to” expertise;
    • a “tree commission” made up of community volunteers with relevant expertise;
    • a GIS inventory of all remaining trees on the island, maintained by a shared city and county budget;
  • Upgrade “trimming” done under utility wires & along roadside easements.
  • Launch a planting campaign during the latter part of the year, as one major element of a “recovery plan.”
Strategies:
  • Serve as an advisory resource for city and county government units as well as for developers
  • Advocate for conservation of our maritime forest canopy and understory
  • Conserve properties on Amelia Island containing heritage trees
  • Expand member participation
  • Educate the community regarding our maritime forest
  • Negotiate with utility, City, County, State and Utilities regarding “trimming.”
  • Plant native trees to maintain and rebuild our maritime canopy
  • Raise funds to support these activities
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