Visit Tibet-Butler Preserve (Vera Carter Environmental Center)
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
We’ve driven past the Tibet-Butler Preserve on C.R. 535 on Winter Garden-Vineland Road multiple times, but it wasn’t until our daughter visited us during December, when she recommended that we should check out that oasis for wildlife and nature at Tibet-Butler Preserve, that we seriously registered it in our mind’s list as one of the must-visit-places. Few weeks after Hurricane Irma’s visit, we finally arrived at Tibet-Butler Preserve (Vera Carter Environmental Center), listed as one of the nature centers in Florida. The entrance to the nature center is off C.R. 535. One can take exit 68 (lake Buena Vista) off I-4 and head north about five miles on C.R. 535 (Winter Garden-Vineland Road). Entrance to the preserve is on the east (right) side of the road. Its address: 8777 Winter Garden-Vineland Rd., Orlando, FL 32836, open on Sunday-Saturday, 8:00 am-6:00 pm, phone #: 407-254-1940. On this 438 acres of wildlife and nature preserve, there is a great variety of exhibits and displays, miles of hiking trails, and various ongoing environmental programs. There is even an area with picnic tables, wheelchair-accessible sandbox, and concrete turtle, a place where kids can play and possibly have a birthday party. But please: no dogs or bicycles allowed. Right by the Vera Carter Environmental Center-Education Center, one would find a butterfly garden and a habitat (designed by Eagle Scout Brian Bailey and Troop 6 of Sand Lake District) for Darwin the Sulcata Tortoise, within view of rocking chairs. There are over four miles of hiking trails and elevated boardwalks radiated from the Vera Carter Environmental Center. One can see an array of natural communities, including bay and cypress swamps, freshwater marshes, scrub and pine flat woods. The preserve is home to bobcats, foxes, swallow-tailed kites, gopher tortoises, bald eagles, the rare indigo snake and variety of songbirds. In the nature center, one can get a close-up look at some of the area’s wildlife in live exhibits. The center hosts a special environmental studies series for fifth graders.
Tibet-Butler Preserve is a county park located on the shore of Lake Butler, southeast of Orlando, Florida. It is managed by the Orange County Parks and Recreation.The Tibet-Butler Preserve borders the Tibet-Butler Chain of Lakes from which it takes its name. A pavilion at the end of Osprey Overlook Trail provides a good view of the cypress forest. It’s a great spot for bird watching. It has now become a place where I regular visit and enjoy the sound, sight, and scent of nature.
During the weeks post-Hurricane Irma, there had been noticeable damages such as fallen branches, added swamps and marsh areas, or closed hiking trails. But there was still few hiking trails open that we were able to get few miles of hiking done before closing time at 6:00 pm.
It would be wonderful if Orange County would consider incorporating solar panels and rain barrels as part of the Eco Education Programs.
From various reports, it appears that Vera Carter served as Orange County’s environmental conscience for twelve years. She was the first woman elected to the County Commission for three full terms between 1980 and 1992, willing to take on developers in defense of lakes and rivers. She fought for regulations to protect wetlands and local waterways, including the Butler Chain of Lakes and the Wekiva and Econlockhatchee rivers. She was also instrumental in creating the West Orange Trail. It was widely known that Vera Carter may not had time for wining and dining by lobbyists or developers, but she always had time for her constituents.She remained busy with various boards and panels after leaving office and played a part in boosting grassroots environmental efforts. Later she was appointed to the South Florida Water Management District board by Governor Lawton Chiles in 1997. Vera Carter led the efforts to have the water district buy 439 acres along Lake Tibet-Butler in south Orange County. The county built the environmental center on this land which was later named the Vera Carter Environmental/Nature Center in her honor.
For more information about the guided hikes, special presentations, and hours, please contact 407-876-6696 (closed Monday and Tuesday).
For more information about the Tibet-Butler Preserve (Vera Carter Environmental Center), please contact 407-254-1940 (open Sunday-Saturday, from 8:00 am-6:00 pm)
Photographed, gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
~Let’s Help One Another~
Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics: