By Allison Wodar and Scott Eisenstark
The McCarty Woods Conservation Area is a 2.9-acre preserve located between Museum Road and McCarty Drive and is a mere stone’s throw away from the heart of the UF campus and Reitz Union.
As the name implies, the woods are a conservation area, providing a small respite for nature, and a place where students can just simply exist away from the hustle and bustle of campus. It is also an important habitat for wildlife and provides many environmental benefits to Gainesville.
But this little oasis of nature is under critical threat. The University of Florida recently unveiled its 2020-2030 Campus Development Plan, which lays out a variety of changes and developments around campus.
This includes potentially developing McCarty Woods to make way for academic buildings. The plan leaves only a single acre of the woods untouched to clear over 60 percent of the original area. The one remaining acre feels like a consolation prize for those who value the nature.
However, the proposed changes to the woods do not come without pushback.
A group of students, faculty, and Gainesville residents have organized a campaign to raise awareness and share their disapproval of the proposed changes.
The Save McCarty Woods campaign is organizing protests and outreach events to raise awareness, hoping that the Campus Master Plan will be altered to stop the development of the McCarty Woods Conservation area for now and future use.
We need to act quickly in order to save the woods before it is cut down. We are asking that anyone interested in joining our cause to spread the word and check out Instagram and Facebook @savemccartywoods. This is the best way to keep updated with any events and campaigns we have planned for the future.