Saturday, November 11
10:30 AM to Noon
Meet at entryway on Martin Dairy Road, New Smyrna Beach
Stetson University selected noted environmentalist and policy expert Clay Henderson as the first executive director of its newly established Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience in 2016. Prior to that, for the last 15 years, Henderson has been senior counsel at the national law firm of Holland & Knight, focusing on environmental law and water law. Before that he served as president of The Florida Audubon Society, one of the nation’s oldest conservation organizations. He has also worked for The Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land. He also was elected to two terms on the Volusia County (Florida) Council. Throughout his career, he negotiated the preservation of more than 300,000 acres of land that are now part of national and state parks and preserves. In 1998, Henderson served on the Florida Constitution Commission, sponsoring most of the environmental provisions in the state’s constitution. He also co-authored the Water and Land Conservation Amendment in 2014, the largest conservation-funding program in United States history.
About the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve
Doris Marie Leeper died on April 11, 2000, at age 71, and was not only remembered as a Hall of Fame artist and Founder of Atlantic Center for the Arts, but also an environmentalist who made a difference. Obituaries reported that she was not only the driving force behind the establishment of Canaveral National Seashore but Spruce Creek Preserve as well. On April 17, 2000, the Volusia County Council at the request of Rep. Suzanne Kosmas adopted a resolution formally naming the Spruce Creek Preserve as the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve for a “strong a consistent voice for the completion of the preserve and its management as a natural area.”
As friends of Leeper gathered at her memorial service, discussion continued on ways to complete the preserve and complete “the vision.” In August 2000, the county council passed resolutions for two separate bond issues to be on the November ballot. One proposal called Volusia Forever provided more funds for conservation lands acquisition with completion of Spruce Creek at the goal. The second proposal called Volusia ECHO provided funds for capital projects for the environment, culture and the arts, historic preservation, and outdoor recreation. It was the first time in the country that twin bond issues for arts and the environment appeared on the same ballot and each were approved by the voters. The Bolt Tract was the first property acquired by Volusia County under Volusia Forever and completion of Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve was made a priority. Shortly afterwards, the Blanchette tract and Sleepy Hollow were also brought into the public trust. Upon closing of these projects, nearly all of the lands between ACA and the confluence of Turnbull Bay, Strickland Bay, and Spruce Creek were substantially protected in perpetuity. Today, over 2500 acres along the southern shore of Spruce Creek from I-95 to the Intracoastal Waterway, containing a park, hiking and horse trails, historic sites, and canoe areas constitute the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve. Doris Leeper’s vision of conservation for Spruce Creek is complete.