Imagine Our Florida, Inc.  

IOF is on a Mission to Educate and Empower the people of Florida to become a voice for our wildlife, advocate for environmental stewardship, and coexist within our unique ecosystems.

2019 Annual report

Upcoming events

  • 27 Feb 2020

    Imagine Our FLorida at Hardee County Public Library

    Imagine Our Florida’s new Manatee Display will be up from Feb 7th thru March 13th. Library Hours: Monday 10:00 –…
  • 28 Feb 2020

    Thundering Spirit Pow Wow

    Please join us for traditional Native American culture including drumming, dancing, crafts, and food. Bring the whole family and spend…
  • 14 Mar 2020

    Volunteer Wekiva

    Join us at Wilson’s Landing to learn about exciting volunteer opportunities with many different organizations around the river system! Volunteers…
  • 14 Mar 2020

    Orlando Science Center Great Outdoors Weekend

    Come experience the Orlando Science Center on the Great Outdoors Weekend. See many educational projects along with Imagine Our Florida’s…


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Imagine Our Florida, Inc.

Our purpose is to bring people together in a shared vision to preserve and protect Florida's wildlife, habitat and ecosystem. We plan to accomplish this via science- based education and the development of appreciation and respect for the natural world and our place within it.
Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
Mosquito Lagoon
Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
--- Tuesday Trivia ---

The term biophilia is the innate desire for humans to connect with nature. It was originally used by the famous biologist Edward O. Wilson who wrote the book "Biophilia" in 1984.

#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #TuesdayTrivia
#OneWithNature #Biophillia
Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
---Tuesday Trivia---

What is the term used to describe humans' innate tendency to connect with nature?

A) Naturamour
B) Biophilia
C) Sentimental niche
D) Instinctual habitation

Please Post your Answer in the Comments.
Answer revealed tonight at 6 pm.

Be the first to know.
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#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #TuesdayTrivia #OneWithNature
Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
-- Advocacy Opportunity --

Federal approval generally takes much longer than state approval. If the state takes over the permitting process, we would argue that stronger wetland protections and a more stringent field review process are required if we want to protect our wetlands so future generations can enjoy all the benefits they currently provide for us.

The public has 21 days to request a hearing or provide comments on the proposed rules. The contact for comments and questions about the draft rules is Heather Mason. She can be reached by email at or by phone at (850) 245-8480.
Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
----History of Florida's Turpentine Industry---

In 1565 Sir John Hawkins discovered turpentine in Florida. After returning to England and boasting about the jackpot he found, the English quickly made plans to start harvesting. During the time turpentine was used as a form of caulk for ships. The industry started in Virginia and worked it's way south. It wasn't until the 19th century that Florida's turpentine Industry really started booming.

Landowners were given $150 a year for an operating lease to supplement the labor. Workers were paid $1.00 - $1.75 a day. The conditions were horrid and many died of starvation, violence, malaria, shootings, snakebites, whips, hunting dogs, and other torturous acts carried out by the timber foreman. It wasn't until Governor Neopoleon Broward stepped in that the cruel treatment of workers began to subside. Changes in the industry included the introduction of financers from out of state who ran the operations and marketed the products. While these methods cut down on abuse, they also did nothing to help the people of Florida to prosper off the industry.

It took a short 40 years for the industry to deplete Florida's slash pine and longleaf pine by 80%. In the absence of reforestation, the industry did not appear to be sustainable. Yet the operations persisted at a cost to the workers. While many conditions had improved, the quality of life was still terrible. Human waste problems built up and food consisted of whatever was thrown into a big cauldron at the work camps. To save on housing the foreman would often order a man and woman to marry in a "commissary wedding" and force them to live in the same quarters. With the introduction of the Social Security Act came an order which excluded agricultural workers leaving them with no social security benefits in their retirement.

The turpentine industry was built on the backs of hard-working people who suffered at the hands of those who did profit. Fortunately, by the 1970s the industry came to an end. With the introduction of the Governmental Reorganization Act of 1969, the Forestry Advisory Council which was a part of the Florida Forest Service took over the previous responsibilities of the Board of Forestry. The state began buying land at a rapid rate. No longer would they be supplementing the Turpentine and Timber industry. Instead, they began conserving land.

The Conservation and Recreation Lands Program of 1979, as well as the Florida Preservation 2000 Fund of 1990, helped provide more funding to conserve land. Despite this funding much land was lost to other industries including tung oil and satsuma oranges, both which were not successful long term, as well as sugar cane, cattle, mining, and urbanization.

While we may never get that land back we can all strive to restore a bit of Florida in our own yards by converting some or all of our gardens to native plants. The Florida Forever Act offered even more funding to purchase conservation land. As more land is acquired and more sustainable practices are adapted, Florida's original charm can gradually be restored. Developing smarter cities means less land is needed and better transportation options can be provided.

Imagining a better Florida is the first step. With perserverence, we will make our imagined Florida a reality.

#Florida #FLtimber #Timber #ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #turpentine #Floridastateforests

Photo Credit: Aymee Laurain
Location: Withlacoochee State Park


Burnet, G., 2014, Florida's Past, Vol 1: People and Events That Shaped the State, Rowman & Littlefield

F.S. 259.032 Conservation and recreation lands

F.S. 259.105 The Florida Forever Act

F.S. 259.101 Florida Preservation 2000 Act

Volk, M., Hoctor, T., Nettles, B., Hilsenbeck, R., Putz, F., Oetting, J.,(2017). Florida Land Use and Land Cover Change in the Past 100 Years . Florida's Climate: Changes, Variations, & Impacts. Retrieved from
Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
----- Saturday Saunter -----
- Weekiwachee Preserve -

Located in Spring Hill, this 11206-acre preserve is just waiting to be explored. Weekiwachee Preserve provides a perfect habitat for the iconic Florida black bear as well as gopher tortoises, coyotes, bald eagles and more.

Weekiwachee Preserve is a part of a system of conservation lands. Because of public ownership, the preserve acts as a buffer from tropical storms and provides flood protection for human developments while the wetlands cleanse surface water before spilling the Gulf.

The southernmost hardwood hammock in western Florida thrives within the preserve. Experience pine-covered sandhills, dense hardwood swamps, and freshwater and saltwater marshes. Watch cattails sway in the breeze as you gaze into the lake. Refracting limestone particles from the limestone pit in which the lake is located create brilliant blue water.

Hike or Bike on the 5.5 miles of paved and unpaved trails. There are another 4.3 miles of marked, scenic woods trails to explore on foot. Birdwatch on the west section of Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Launch your boat, kayak, or canoe on one of the lakes.

Bring your sunscreen. Be sure to look for bear paw prints in the white sand!

For more information, click here:

photo credit: Aymee Laurain

#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #SaturdaySaunter
#WeekiwacheePreserve #GetOutside