University of Florida students and faculty are fighting back on a new master plan provision that would open a conservation area to partial development on McCarty Woods. The 2.9 acres were preserved in 2000 because of its value as a natural teaching and research laboratory.
This changed in December when the university released its 2020-2030 campus master plan, which would turn all but one acre of the area into classroom space. Faculty caught wind of the proposal and many tried to fight back.
People pitched in funds, wrote passionate comments, had phone conversations and sent emails.There are almost thirteen thousand signatures amongst multiple Change.org petitions.
Linda Dixon, UF’s director of planning, said the decision on McCarty is a part of a bigger plan.
“We recognize that that was a concern and that, again, is really why we made this commitment to work with the faculty and try to enhance the remaining conservation areas to make them as useful as they can,” she said.
McCarty Woods was saved once by faculty and students in 1987. The university points out that a number of faculty members were part of the planning process, as four committees reviewed the new master plan.