On February 13th, the Hive Orlando had the amazing opportunity to tour the Orlando Wetlands Park located in Christmas, FL. Mark Sees, Director of the Orlando Wetlands Park, took the IDEAS leaders of Central Florida on a guided ride aboard a trailer to venture the 1200 acres of deep and mixed marshes, hardwood swamps, and scenic lakes.

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Below you can watch a glimpse of the tour:

Built in 1987, the Orlando Wetlands is the world’s first manmade wetlands. Today, the ecosystem cleans up to 35 million gallons of reclaimed water a day. The system receives the municipal waste water of the Iron Bridge Regional Water Reclamation Facility and removes excess nitrogen and phosphorus that would otherwise pollute the St. Johns River and promote algae blooms. The Orlando Wetlands cleaning system is so efficient that the nitrogen and phosphorus concentration levels found in its discharge are half the amount seen in the St. Johns River.

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The former cattle pasture is now a thriving wetlands ecosystem providing habitat for 220 wildlife species where migrating birds and endangered and threatened species find shelter and food.

The eco-tour showed IDEAS leaders the effectiveness of plants at cleaning bodies of water. Similar techniques will be used on a smaller scale on Match 28th when the Hive Orlando will be restoring a pond of a HOA in Winter Park, FL during an aquatic planting day.

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The Orlando Wetlands Park is open to the public every day from sunrise to sunset from February 1st Through November 14th and organizes bird photography and educational workshop.

For more information, visit orlandowetlands.org.