We can dwell on environmental crises—or we can harness the power of nature to help solve them. Since the beginning, the Garden has done the latter. Some restoration and resiliency projects include:

Beach dune restoration: Beach dunes are the first line of defense against water and wind damage. Armed with extensive research on natural coastal ecosystems, the Garden has developed a dune restoration strategy that uses an array of native plants that capture and accumulate sand, while also providing wildlife habitat.

Natural Resources Director Eric Foht collects cuttings of dune plants on Keewaydin Island.

Stormwater Management: Southwest Florida suffers periodic algal breakouts, a problem linked to excess nitrogen and phosphorus carried by stormwater into ponds, canals, rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico. The Garden’s stormwater management system provides a model for using plants to purify runoff. The system includes bioswales, such as the Hamilton Avenue Bioswale, lake banks with native plant buffers, a rain garden, and a miniature Everglades ecosystem at the heart of the property.

Hamilton Avenue Bioswale

Railhead Scrub: Railhead Scrub is one of the county’s last remaining coastal scrub ecosystems. Illegal ATV use has damaged and fragmented the habitat. The Garden is assisting Conservation Collier in a long-term restoration project by growing plants from seeds collected at the site for future revegetation.

Railhead Scrub Preserve is one of the few remaining habitats of its kind in Collier County. Photo: Conservation Collier

The Collier Enterprises South Wetland Preserve: Invasive exotic melaleuca trees and cattails once dominated this part of the Garden. When cleared, native plants reclaimed the land, purifying runoff water and creating habitat for wildlife, notably wading birds. Our Preserve offers a testament to the power of restoration.