From the President

                                            

                                                               October 2018

 

As we (FODIP) , enter the third year of our founding, the Fall-Winter/ Spring of 2018-2019
promises to be the most exciting and adventurous time for Deerfield Island Park.  Broward County, with financial assistance through F.I.N.D. (Florida Inland Navigational District), is on board to replace the mangrove walkway in early 2019.  This elevated walkway through the mangroves has been closed for 15 years, since hurricane Wilma.  This crown jewel of Deerfield Island Park will enable visitors to  see the nesting areas of many resident and migratory birds in their natural habitat .   


The park has also received funding to assist in the re-design of the marina by the Broward County Marine Advisory Board and their Broward Boating Improvement Program. The  design phase is set for 2019 and the parks department hopes to obtain additional funding to assist in the construction phase.

Two years ago,  FODIP received a grant of $45,000  from JM Family Enterprises, that we presented to BROWARD Parks and Recreation for the construction of an ADA compliant walkway. The parks department is hopeful that they will be able to begin construction of that walkway within the next year.  An additional $40,000 from JM Family Enterprises will be used for improvements and exhibits to the Park and the Nature Center itself.  The Nature Center, (formerly the care-takers residence) has been cleaned and painted and ready for use.  Public access to the Nature Center is “on hold” until the ADA compliant walkway is completed.

New features and activities at the park include an ECO-playground.  This playground uses natural elements on the island for exercise activities. Among them are a balance-beam (felled Australian pine), see-saw, cut stumps for stump dancing and balancing. 

Another soon-to-be feature is the archeological dig area. The FRIENDS group has recently dedicated $12,000 (a portion of the JM Family grant) to helping the Parks department create and open this educational area designed for children and adults to discover “fossils” and match them to identification charts to determine what bone and animal they came from.  (NOT a computer or cell phone game!).

The Wingspan exhibit, funded through the generosity of the Claire Friedman Family Foundation is currently under construction by Daddona Studios of Pompano Beach, and hopefully will be installed prior to the new year.  This lifelike exhibit will allow children to compare their own arm length and hands to the wingspan and talons of 6 local birds ( bald eagle, brown pelican, great blue heron, osprey, great horned owl, and american kestrel).

TONY, the 1400 pound metal  tortoise statuary, has been boxed and shipped from the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania to Florida.  He is not on Deerfield Island yet.  As other projects are undertaken, a construction crane will be used to “fly” him over to his new welcoming    .                place.  He will be there for photo ops and children and adults to sit upon.  He is intended to serve as a representative and mascot of this tortoise sanctuary.  A story/coloring book will be available for donations.

Thank you ALL for helping make Deerfield a Island Park an exciting Nature Center and Urban Wilderness Area.  The Parks department has been considering extending additional hours for visitors to the island as the educational offerings expand.  We can always use more Ambassadors, Trail Guides, Green Thumbs, and volunteers.  We will train you.  If you love nature, the Friends of Deerfield Island Park, is a great place to be.

Ira