Gator Sand Mine
ORLANDO, Florida, United States
Certified through 2022
Wetland Mitigation Outdoor Classroom
Wetlands & Water Bodies
Gator Outdoor Environmental Education Center
Awareness & Community Engagement
About the Program
CEMEX's Gator Sand Mine program is located in Davenport, Florida, about 30 miles southwest of Orlando. The site is located in the Green Swamp, an important ecosystem between Tampa and Orlando, and is designated as a area of critical state concern in central Florida. The sand mine contains 0.22 of partially-forested mitigation wetlands that offset sand mining activities that necessitated temporary disturbance to install two pipelines. The program's conservation objective is to increase functional wetland habitat, use this habitat for community outreach and environmental education that promotes conservation and preservation awareness, and increase the habitat adjacent to the Green Swamp by creating food and homes for native wildlife.
Practices and Impacts
- The wetlands was planted with over 11 native species, including bald cypress, loblolly bay, pickerelweed, and arrowhead. Vegetation is monitored twice annually, and non-native plants are controlled using spot spraying and mechanical removal.
- A range of wildlife species uses this native wetland habitat, including Southern leopard frogs, mosquito fish, dragonflies, damselflies, water bugs, and other aquatic insects.
- The site contains a 13.2 square foot insect hotel near Green Swamp that provides habitat for insects and pollinators, including moths, bees, and spiders. The site also conducts educational outreach activities for local elementary school students to teach them about the mine operations and habitat conservation through reclamation.
- The team uses the restored wetland and nature trails on its property to host environmental education programs for students of all ages. A typical field trip includes nature hikes with an associated plant observation activity, owl pellet dissections, and an "Oh Deer!" game to learn about the relationships within an ecosystem. These activities are mapped to State of Florida educational standards for STEM, and have been well received by students. Since 2009, students planted 1,000 plants.
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