Wednesday, May 19, 7 pm

(On-Line Meeting)

 "History of Lettuce Lake Park"

Joel Jackson


Joel Jackson -- Lettuce Lake

Lettuce Lake is the most visited nature park in the state and has served as a template for other county parks. Joel's PowerPoint will illustrate the designs, goals and processes used to develop the park as a site for recreation, conservation and education.

Joel is a lifelong resident of the area and in 1970 he became the first park and recreation planner for the City of Tampa.

In 1977 he was hired by Hillsborough County to manage a $10 million bond program to design and develop nature parks for the county. Some of these parks included Lettuce Lake, Upper Tampa Bay, Edward Medard and Alderman’s Ford Parks.

In 1983 and the completion of the park improvement program, Joel was then hired back by the City of Tampa as parks grounds manager. After five years, he took over the management of the city’s “Tree and Landscape Ordinance” along with the Landscape Design and Forestry sections.

While still at the city, Joel volunteered in 1984 to draft Hillsborough County’s “Jan Platt Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program” (ELAPP) and is still active on the program’s advisory committee. Since 1985, this program has acquired over 63 thousand acres of conservation lands for preservation. In 1993 he was again hired by Hillsborough County to manage park planning, design, and development. During work with both the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County Joel pursued a policy of using native plants whenever possible.

After retirement, Joel continues to actively support local conservation such as the following:

· Awarded the 2016 “Green Palmetto” by the Florida Native Plant for public service.

· An active member of Tampa Audubon Society where he leads the photo club.

· Joel is a founding member of the Suncoast Native Plant Society chapter and additionally a member of the Pasco County’s Nature Coast Native Plant chapter.

· He recently received SWFWMD’s “Water Wise” 2020 award for Pasco County. This award is made for “landscapes that promote efficient use of water and Florida-friendly landscaping.”

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