Keep Broward Beautiful along with The Natural Resources Planning and Management Division, The Youth Environmental Alliance (YEA) and Florida Park Service formed a partnership to conduct the John U. Lloyd Beach State Park Dune Restoration Project. The goal of the project was to educate the community about impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, beach erosion and habitat change, and engage the community to take steps to mitigate these impacts by undertaking and supporting dune restoration projects.
To undertake this project, student volunteers were recruited from Embassy Creek Elementary School’s SOLAR club, or Students for Outdoor Learning, Adventure and Responsibility and the Yellow Wood Learning Center, an alternative Montessori-Based High School. Corporate and civic volunteers were recruited from employees and their families of Waste Management Inc., Kohl’s Department Store, Best Buy, Inc., Allstate Resource Management, Inc., Broward County and the Florida Park Service.
Volunteers received educational presentations about the impacts of climate change, beach erosion, beach and dune ecology and the correct methods in planting dune vegetation. Broward County staff, YEA and the State Park Service worked with the volunteers to prepare and fence off the sites to be restored. Over the course of 3 events held in November and December 2013 and January 2014, volunteers then planted over 5,000 sea, as an effective method to mitigate future beach erosion. Additionally, more than 1000 native dune plants, including Bay Cedar, Beach Creeper, Beach Elder, Beach Sunflower, Beach Verbena, Inkberry, Railroad Vine, Sea Lavender, Sea Oxeye Daisy, Sea Purslane, Wild Allamanda, Wild Sage and Sea Grape trees were planted in the mid and back dune in order to diversify the plant community and improve ecological function of the dune habitat within the park.
The project demonstrates the power of partnership and community engagement in the cleanup and restoration of sand dunes in John U. Lloyd Beach State Park. The involvement of community youth has fostered a sense of personal accomplishment and raised awareness of the importance of environmental stewardship.
Corporate, public, and nonprofit partnerships have been solidified as a result of this project, building a model and formula for success moving forward. As a result, YEA has developed additional partnerships with other coastal municipalities to conduct new community education and volunteer based dune restoration projects in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties.