PALM COAST, FL – Hammock Dunes is the second private community in Florida to earn the Green Community Award from Audubon International, a non-profit environmental organization, for their ongoing sustainability initiatives.
Members of Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program are eligible for the award, which recognizes significant environmental achievement and is an intermediate milestone en route to earning rigorous designation as a Certified Audubon International Sustainable Community.Hammock Dunes’ accomplishments include:
- Environmental Partnerships – Through a partnership with the Dunes Community Development District and St. Johns Water Management District, Hammock Dunes uses reclaimed water for all irrigation. This has helped the community reduce its use of potable groundwater supplies and become more environmentally friendly. To address problems of invasive exotic plant species, the community has worked with Friends of A1A and spent more than $100,000 to remove Brazilian pepper trees and Virginia creeper vines near the community.
- Health and Wellness – Walking paths and golf courses integrated with the natural landscape were enhanced by the Audubon Trails to Fitness project, which created trail maps and kiosks with information about local wildlife. Community facilities, classes offered by regional partners through the Learning Institute, and fitness events also promote a healthy lifestyle that includes walking, biking, golfing, swimming, and other activities rather than sedentary activities.
- Wildlife Conservation – As part of the community’s master plan, over 700 acres of natural open space have been protected through conservation easements and restrictions. Educational signs posted around the community encourage awareness about wildlife, and multiple boardwalks and beach access points offer opportunities for viewing shorebirds, dolphins, and whales.
- Outreach and Education – Environmental education is integrated into many aspects of Hammock Dunes community life. Ongoing programs and efforts include wildlife walks and articles in the community newspaper about sound environmental practices and native species that are published monthly. Several resident artists who specialize in nature photography, painting, and wood carving show their work at the community’s annual art show.
- Citizen Engagement and Service – In addition to donating significant time and resources to help meet regional needs in education, housing, and arts, Hammock Dunes residents demonstrate their environmental commitment by participating in Whitney Lab’s Whale Watch teams and the Flagler County Turtle Patrol. These efforts earned Hammock Dunes the Florida Communities of Excellence Award for their civic involvement initiatives in 2009.
“In its unique natural setting in Palm Coast tucked in a hammock of pines and palms between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River (part of the Intracoastal Waterway), Hammock Dunes affords many opportunities to view rare and endangered wildlife,” says Joanna Nadeau, director of the Sustainable Communities Program. “Residents take great pride in protecting their special piece of the Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway A1A. As the second private community in the State of Florida to receive the Audubon International Green Community Award, Hammock Dunes has demonstrated a strong commitment to embodying the ideals of sustainability—economic vitality, environmental protection, and social responsibility.”
After a community sustainability plan is approved, communities may apply for certification in the Sustainable Communities Program by demonstrating continuous progress towards plan goals in fifteen focus areas. The City of Coconut Creek, Florida, and Spruce Peak at Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont, have achieved the Audubon International Sustainable Communities certification.