By: Jen Russon
A former mayor and current city commissioner, both known for their environmental activism, met with local Boy Scouts to lead a service project, they said helps build a sense of community while protecting nature in Coral Springs.
On February 27, Troop 497 completed a merit badge requirement with former Mayor Roy Gold and Commissioner Nancy Metayer at Sandy Ridge Sanctuary, removing over 300 pounds of invasive plants, threatening to choke an otherwise healthy ecosystem.
Metayer, who ran on a climate justice platform, spoke to the scouts about their right to inform their local government when they see something wrong.
“Always remember, public servants like me work for you, not the other way around. If you notice visitors leaving a footprint behind, bring that to our attention,” said Metayer.
A former member of the Broward County Soil and Water Conservation District, Metayer noticed litter at Sandy Ridge and said she’d raise the issue at the next city commission meeting.
Gold praised her environmental stewardship and reminded the group how vulnerable green spaces are in cities growing as fast as Coral Springs.
He added Sandy Ridge, one of four environmentally sensitive land areas in the city, preserved through a $7.5 million 1994 bond issue, was slated to be developed into two hundred townhomes. After the Bond issue passed, Coral Springs purchased Sandy Ridge Sanctuary for $3.15 million.
“This land could have been developed into townhomes,” he said. “Luckily for residents, the wildlife, and the 40-acre canopy of slash pines these creatures call home, construction never took place.”
The former mayor now gives tours of the nature preserve and, when he can, rescues the tortoises who occasionally get under the fence and make a run for it.
Gold said he was disappointed no tortoises appeared while Boy Scouts worked on their service project; however, when Troop 497 left, he spotted one of his hard-shell friends outside the preserve of Sandy Ridge.
“We nicknamed the tortoise Houdini. Being able to return this tortoise to the relative safety of the preserve area warmed my heart. This little guy immediately walked to a nearby fern and began eating.” he said.
For tours, email Roy Gold or call 954-345-2112. The Sandy Ridge Sanctuary is located at 8501 NW 40th Street.
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- Jen Russon has been a staff writer for Talk Media since 2018. She is also a novelist, copywriter and editor at Swallow Publishing, LLC.
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