Sustainability Matters

At Wekiva Island, we’re passionate about caring for the environment we live in — the delicate ecosystems, amazing wildlife, beautiful plant life, and of course, our beloved Wekiva River. We’ve transformed a historical neighborhood staple into a place where the community can not only gather, but also learn about sustainability — and incorporate changes into their own lives. We look forward to enjoying nature with you now, and long into the future.

Every day is Earth Day!

How Wekiva Island

Shows 💚 For The Earth

Looking at the environmental facts, you might feel a sense of alarm and want to look for ways to improve your carbon footprint, cut down on waste, and become overall more eco-conscious. At Wekiva Island, it’s our goal to do all these things! To help show our love for nature, we’ve developed processes to keep Mother Earth happy and healthy.

Here are just a few of them:

  • We generate much of our electricity via our solar panels.
  • There are 290 solar panels used to power the island, 210 onsite and 80 offsite.
  • Recycling is always encouraged. Look for recycling bins throughout the property.
  • We collect rainwater for reuse.
  • Check out our Island decor — we have incorporated many reused and reclaimed materials.
  • Our hot water is powered by solar.
  • Our water closets are low and dual flush to conserve water.
  • Our bathrooms feature waterless urinals.
  • We have redone our landscaping to feature only native species.

Carbon Neutral By 2030

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

Solar Energy Production

While there is much debate about the effect of our increasing carbon levels on the planet, the science is clear. The negative impacts are growing and, unfortunately, becoming obvious to us all. In the past few hundred years, man has “dumped” so much non-natural carbon into the atmosphere, the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have more than doubled.

Wekiva Island is determined to be a leader in the efforts of reducing atmospheric carbon and decreasing the risk of catastrophic climate change. As part of those efforts, we have adopted the 2030 Challenge and pledged to be carbon neutral before that date. The goals of the challenge can be accomplished by implementing innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable power, and/or purchasing certified renewable energy credits (20% maximum).

This mission means so much to us that we have developed a toolbox to help steer our efforts, now trademarked — C.E.R.O.® (Conservation, Efficiency, Renewables and Offsets). Through this approach, we are proud to say, we are close to achieving our goal. Stay tuned for more updates as we approach this significant milestone.

 

Our Sustainability Stats

Today

Pre-Development

Peek (1999)

Conservation

Efficiency

Renewables

Offsets

Landscapes

14.3

1.5

4.5

4.5

-4.5

-4.5

Utilities

1,182.1

102.5

81.6

25.9

0.0

Electricity

946.5

90.7

69.7

14.1

0.0

LP

235.5

11.8

11.8

11.8

0.0

Water

.12

.03

.03

.00

0.0

Sewer

.12

.03

.03

.03

0.0

Cable

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Transportation

719.2

227.4

225.0

225.0

0.0

Guest Travel *

600.9

190.3

190.3

190.3

0.0

Employee Travel *

75.3

23.8

21.4

21.4

0.0

Delivery

39.9

12.6

12.6

12.6

0.0

Maintenance

2.0

0.4

0.4

0.4

0.0

Guest Recreation

0.6

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.0

Employee Boat Use

0.6

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.0

Waste

55.0

11.4

11.4

11.4

0.0

Recycle

7.4

7.4

7.4

0.0

Landfill

55.0

4.1

4.1

4.1

0.0

Compost

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Total

-14.3

1,954.8

336.8

313.5

257.9

-4.5

*travel to and from Wekiva Island

Our Sustainability Stats

Pre-Development : -14.3

Peek (1999) : -1.5

Today

Conservation: -4.5

Efficiency: -4.5

Renewables: -4.5

Offsets: -4.5

Pre-Development : –

Peek (1999) : 1,182.1

Today

Conservation: 102.5

Efficiency: 81.6

Renewables: 25.9

Offsets: 0.0

Pre-Development : –

Peek (1999) : 719.2

Today

Conservation: 227.4

Efficiency: 225.0

Renewables: 225.0

Offsets: 0.0

Pre-Development : –

Peek (1999) : 55.0

Today

Conservation: 11.4

Efficiency: 11.4

Renewables: 11.4

Offsets: 0.0

Pre-Development : -14.3

Peek (1999) : 1,954.8

Today

Conservation: 336.8

Efficiency: 313.5

Renewables: 257.9

Offsets: -4.5

The countdown to ZERO is on at Wekiva Island

The Mike Barr Education & Learning Center

Our Classroom

Did you know our Classroom is LEED Platinum* certified and is the only one of its kind in Seminole County? The Mike Barr Education & Learning Center captures the efficiency status with this mark of quality and achievement in green building — LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

The Classroom is geothermally powered right from the wild and scenic Wekiva River, a constant 72 degrees! Our solar units on the bridge as you enter the classroom provide renewable energy for the Classroom & Boat Stalls.

The repurposed wood for the Classroom’s walls and ceilings is reminiscent of our own history (taken from the old Wekiva Marina boat stalls and bridge). To finish it off, all lights are LED, which produces 90 percent more efficient than incandescent light bulbs.

Check it out for your next event!

*LEED certification means healthier, more productive places, reduced stress on the environment by encouraging energy and resource-efficient buildings, and savings from increased building value, higher lease rates and decreased utility costs.

How You Can Help

As concern grows about the prospect of global climate change, more and more people are searching for ways to address their carbon impact on our planet. The first step in moving in a positive direction is understanding what your present impact is and what contributes to it. To learn more, check out our educational offerings. The following key components are included in our teachings. To learn more, check out our educational offerings, the following key components are included in our teachings.

  • Wekiva River
  • Birds & Animals
  • Native Plants
  • Improved Ecology
  • Restoring The River
We invite you to come observe and enjoy the unique ecosystem of this spring-fed river. Springs, and their corresponding rivers, have been widely used as important recreational and educational locations throughout Florida history. The spring leads to the underground waterways, flowing through limestone caverns below the surface. The clear water flows directly from the Florida aquifer, and the surrounding wetlands and uplands have adapted to host a diverse variety of plants and animals, including many protected species. The River is named one of only two Wild & Scenic Rivers* in Florida.

As you visit Wekiva Island and travel along the river, you have the opportunity to witness a variety of wildlife. Often spotted by kayakers, paddleboarders, canoers and boaters are turtles, alligators, otters, bears, deer and even the occasional monkey in addition to a large range of bird species.

Wekiva Island was historically located along a riparian floodplain wetland that appeared similar to the adjacent banks of the Wekiva River and surrounding mixed hardwood and coniferous wetlands. Over the years, the previous landowners removed nearly all of the native vegetation and replaced it with a minimal degree of “traditional” landscaping that was not properly adapted to the soils and hydrological characteristics of the site.

The new owners of Wekiva Island have subsequently removed 95% of the traditional landscaping materials which primarily consisted of: non-native Viburnums, Ligustrum, Boston Fern, Crepe Myrtle, King Sago, and some Southern Magnolia that are not able to withstand the high water of the river during floods. These were replaced with sustainable Florida natives primarily found in the adjacent riverbank and nearby buffer zone, designed to improve both the ecological and aesthetic value of the site and provide interest and educational opportunities throughout the property. These more desirable natives include: Bald Cypress, Black Gum, Red Maple, American Elm , Sabal Palm, Wax Myrtle, Blue Beech, Loblolly Bay, Sweetgum, Red Bay, Saw Palmetto, Live Oak, Pop Ash, Cordgrass, Yellow Anise, Coontie, Cinnamon Fern , Walter’s Viburnum, and Fackshattee Grass.Bald Cypress, Black Gum, Red Maple, American Elm , Sabal Palm, Wax Myrtle, Blue Beech, Loblolly Bay, Sweetgum, Red Bay, Saw Palmetto, Live Oak, Pop Ash, Cordgrass, Yellow Anise, Coontie, Cinnamon Fern , Walter’s Viburnum, Fackshattee Grass.

In addition, exotic and nuisance vegetation was identified growing on the property that has an adverse impact on the Wekiva River and surrounding floodplains by spreading without constraint and displacing the more desirable Florida natives. That problematic vegetation was also removed to make room for the desirable natives listed above to grow and flourish. These plants identified and removed include: Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebofolia), Torpedo Grass (Hemitomon repens), and Primrose Willow (Ludwhigia peruvianna).

  • Wekiva River
  • Birds & Animals
  • Native Plants
  • Improved Ecology
  • Restoring The River
We invite you to come observe and enjoy the unique ecosystem of this spring-fed river. Springs, and their corresponding rivers, have been widely used as important recreational and educational locations throughout Florida history. The spring leads to the underground waterways, flowing through limestone caverns below the surface. The clear water flows directly from the Florida aquifer, and the surrounding wetlands and uplands have adapted to host a diverse variety of plants and animals, including many protected species. The River is named one of only two Wild & Scenic Rivers* in Florida.

As you visit Wekiva Island and travel along the river, you have the opportunity to witness a variety of wildlife. Often spotted by kayakers, paddleboarders, canoers and boaters are turtles, alligators, otters, bears, deer and even the occasional monkey in addition to a large range of bird species.

Wekiva Island was historically located along a riparian floodplain wetland that appeared similar to the adjacent banks of the Wekiva River and surrounding mixed hardwood and coniferous wetlands. Over the years, the previous landowners removed nearly all of the native vegetation and replaced it with a minimal degree of “traditional” landscaping that was not properly adapted to the soils and hydrological characteristics of the site.

The new owners of Wekiva Island have subsequently removed 95% of the traditional landscaping materials which primarily consisted of: non-native Viburnums, Ligustrum, Boston Fern, Crepe Myrtle, King Sago, and some Southern Magnolia that are not able to withstand the high water of the river during floods. These were replaced with sustainable Florida natives primarily found in the adjacent riverbank and nearby buffer zone, designed to improve both the ecological and aesthetic value of the site and provide interest and educational opportunities throughout the property. These more desirable natives include: Bald Cypress, Black Gum, Red Maple, American Elm , Sabal Palm, Wax Myrtle, Blue Beech, Loblolly Bay, Sweetgum, Red Bay, Saw Palmetto, Live Oak, Pop Ash, Cordgrass, Yellow Anise, Coontie, Cinnamon Fern , Walter’s Viburnum, and Fackshattee Grass.Bald Cypress, Black Gum, Red Maple, American Elm , Sabal Palm, Wax Myrtle, Blue Beech, Loblolly Bay, Sweetgum, Red Bay, Saw Palmetto, Live Oak, Pop Ash, Cordgrass, Yellow Anise, Coontie, Cinnamon Fern , Walter’s Viburnum, Fackshattee Grass.

In addition, exotic and nuisance vegetation was identified growing on the property that has an adverse impact on the Wekiva River and surrounding floodplains by spreading without constraint and displacing the more desirable Florida natives. That problematic vegetation was also removed to make room for the desirable natives listed above to grow and flourish. These plants identified and removed include: Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebofolia), Torpedo Grass (Hemitomon repens), and Primrose Willow (Ludwhigia peruvianna).