Quality is Always Sustainable

Archbold is all about sustainability. Others may overuse the term, but Archbold is authentically sustainable in every sense of the word. Archbold’s activities from research, education, conservation, and more, epitomize the organization’s long view and its focus on sustainability—working today for future generations.

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Three Florida Scrubs Jays at their nest during May of 1977. Part of the Florida Scrub Jay study, Archbold Biological Station has conducted over 500 consecutive monthly surveys. Photo by J.W. Fitzpatrick.

Currently, Archbold manages nearly 20,000 acres of land and conducts scientific studies across more than 50 locations throughout the lands and waters that drain south to Lake Okeechobee, the region known as the Headwaters of the Everglades. Hilary Swain, Archbold’s Executive Director, says, “We continue to cherish and protect our precious and beloved Florida scrub ecosystem in this region and statewide, a habitat with unique adaptations and resilience that has sustained many plants and animals over thousands of millennia. Using prescribed fire and controlling invasive plants and animals, we are working hard so that future generations can understand, learn from, and appreciate a healthy Florida scrub ecosystem in all its glory.”

She continues, “At Buck Island Ranch, Archbold is managing a full-scale working cattle operation to be economically viable in the long-term while also providing nature’s vital ecological services such as clean water, and a rich diversity of native plants and animals. Our agro-ecology research program aims to ensure that working lands of this region can be sustainable and will continue to be a cornerstone of Florida’s natural heritage. We try to inspire ranchers throughout Florida and around the world to embrace and showcase the important ecological and economic role they play.

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Map showing Archbold research locations across Florida’s Heartland. Photo by Archbold Biological Station.

Archbold also maintains critical long-term datasets, many extending back decades, about plants, animals, water, soils, nutrients, and atmosphere. Without Archbold’s science, there would be so many gaps in the factual information about regional environmental trends. These environmental data and trends are used to find solutions in nature that inform sustainable decisions.

Starting more than a quarter of a century ago, Archbold’s programs for schoolchildren and students continue unabated, incorporating new elements every year. These young minds represent the ecologically-informed next generation and their understanding is everyone’s future.

The historic Roebling buildings stand strong and sustainable, forming the core of the Archbold campus, just as they were built 87 years ago, to be everlasting, weathering storms, heat, humidity, insects, and all the other elements that beat down on the built environment in Florida. Archbold’s newest buildings, The Frances Hufty Learning Center and Adrian Archbold Lodge, constructed during 2010-2011, stand as glowing examples for sustainable green architecture. The U.S Green Building Council rated them Platinum in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), in the top 5% of all LEED certified buildings. Mary Hufty, Chair of Archbold’s Board of Trustees, explains that, “At Archbold the land speaks first; our buildings are to serve as a gateway to the Florida scrub, blending the outdoors and indoors, reflecting the surrounding beauty.”

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1935—The original Roebling Store House—now the Richard Archbold Research Center at Archbold Biological Station. Photo by Archbold Biological Station.

Above all, Archbold is buoyed and sustained by all the wonderful people who work for and support it. Hilary Swain says, “We owe a great debt of gratitude to everyone who commits their skills and careers to building our knowledge, to those who conscientiously steward our money, to those who direct substantial public and private funds to support our work, and to all those who give so generously of their time and money to support Archbold.”

Sustainability at Archbold is forever.

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