The OUTSIDE Sustainable Landscape Collaborative emerged organically as a gathering of like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds who shared a common vision: to create a sustainable future for Florida’s landscapes. Comprising professionals in academia, water management, design, development, landscape services, and advocacy, this collaborative effort aimed to address the pressing environmental challenges facing the Sunshine State.
The genesis of OUTSIDE Collaborative can be traced back to a group of passionate individuals who recognized the need for collective action. Pierce Jones, from UF IFAS, and Patrick Bohlen, from UCF, played a pivotal role in connecting the dots between various disciplines and uniting researchers working on similar projects. This convergence led to the realization that their efforts could be magnified through collaboration.
Another visionary, is Christina Hite, an experienced landscape architect and founding partner at Dix.Hite, pushed the boundaries of sustainable design and sought to engage her clients in embracing environmentally conscious practices.
Deirdre Irwin, the water supply coordinator at St. John’s Water Management District (SJWMD), brought her expertise in water resource planning, collaborating with water utilities, cities, and counties. Her perspective highlighted the crucial role that water management plays in achieving sustainable landscapes.
Clint Beaty, representing Tavistock Development Company, understood the challenges of implementing sustainable practices within the development community. He worked closely with builders, investors, local governments, and utilities, advocating for change and demonstrating the long-term vision required to drive sustainable development.
Timothee Sallin and the team at Cherrylake recognized the significance of native plants in sustainable landscaping and sought to increase their availability in the market. They also emphasized the importance of learning how to successfully build and maintain native landscapes at scale to showcase successful implementation practices.
1000 Friends of Florida became a powerful ally, providing a platform to amplify the collective voice and further the reach of the collaborative efforts.
Through small meetings, webinars, and conferences, these visionaries realized they were all speaking the same language and shared a genuine interest in transforming Florida’s landscapes. The following steps came naturally. The team developed a name and a brand and began promoting the message in a collaborative effort. Academics, water management experts, nursery professionals, design enthusiasts, and developers found common ground in their pursuit of sustainability. The collaboration became a platform for sharing knowledge, exchanging ideas, and addressing the challenges from multifaceted perspectives. In 2020 the first Collab was launched, fully virtual due to the pandemic, and welcomed individuals from across the State of Florida.
OUTSIDE Sustainable Landscape Collaborative is a testament to the power of collaboration and shared purpose. From humble beginnings as a gathering of concerned professionals, it has evolved into a force to be reckoned with, driven by a commitment to building a sustainable future for Florida’s landscapes.