Ecological Restoration at the Genius Preserve

The Genius Preserve is an exercise in native and historical restoration. The Genius Preserve Comprehensive Management Plan identifies strategies to protect and restore the cultural aesthetic of “Old Florida.” In addition to providing a working laboratory in landscape restoration, the value of this landscape will become more precious as development persists in neighboring properties.

A successful restoration project not only restores ecological health to a site, it also fosters landscape coherence. A coherent landscape is one that is organized, not chaotic; one that implies a natural order and legibility that can easily be understood by the observer, allowing the full restorative potential of the land to be taken in.

The Genius Preserve will serve as a living model of sustainability, bridging the gap between civilization and the natural environment. It also holds an amazing historical legacy beyond its natural beauty. In order to preserve this legacy and to unlock the site’s natural potential, a comprehensive and systematic management plan is necessary. This plan establishes a guiding vision that will serve to protect the site’s natural and cultural qualities. It also provides a guideline for Rollins College faculty and student involvement.

The challenge of this plan is to make sure that this remnant of “Old Florida” is not just a vague notion, but a realized vision.

The long-term restoration process of the Genius Preserve is ongoing. The following goals have been established for the first ten-year period of restoration:

  • Detailed inventory of site using field research and aerial maps 
  • Detailed historical analysis of site based on photo records 
(i.e. postcards and photos including aerials, private and public) 
  • Documentation of major historical landscape changes 
  • Concept design for Genius Drive restoration 
  • Concept design for Cedar Grove restoration 
  • Concept design for Banana Grove restoration 
  • Concept design for Lake Mizell shoreline restoration 
  • Concept design for Wind Song border planting 
  • Concept design for Ward House border planting 
  • Potential management project goals