City of Fernandina Beach
April 13, 2021
On April 22, 2021 at 10:00am – Earth Day – ATC and the City of Fernandina Beach will dedicate “Volunteers Grove” in Central Park Amelia Tree Conservancy (ATC) and the City of Fernandina Beach will dedicate “Volunteers Grove” in the City’s Central Park. This area is located just off 13th Street between the tennis and pickleball courts and the Girl Scout building. “Volunteers Grove” honors Amelia Island’s countless volunteers and aims to inspire new volunteers. A dedication plaque will read, “This grove is dedicated to all Amelia Island volunteers. They are the heroes among us.” Fernandina Beach Mayor Mike Lednovich and City Manager Dale Martin will be on hand for the 10:00 ceremony.
“Volunteers Grove” will contribute to the effort to revitalize the tree canopy in Central Park and increase awareness of the importance of our maritime forest canopy. The naturalized landscape will add five new native trees to those currently on site along with approximately 50 assorted shrubs. Two benches will also be added.
Funding for the project came from a grant from the Larsen Family Fund and ATC donors. The Larsen Family Fund was started in 1941 by Roy E. Larsen, former vice-chairman of Time Inc.’s board of directors and Time Inc.’s president for 21 years. The mission of the Larsen Family Fund is to support projects in education, the environment and the arts in our local communities.
The grove will demonstrate that planting trees in groups enables the trees to support each other in weathering storms. Furthermore, planting trees with understory plants or retaining existing understory plants helps retain moisture in the soil, which supports the trees.
Beyond its ecological benefits, “Volunteer Grove” will create a space for rest, reflection and regeneration within Central Park. While Central Park has a number of activity areas for sports, musical events and fairs, it has not in recent years offered quiet, shaded areas typical of traditional “central parks.”
As ATC became interested in planting a grove, board members Arthur and Diana Herman discussed sites with Nan Voit, City Parks and Recreation Director. Ms. Voit recommended this Central Park site. The project then went through the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee approval process. The grove was designed by Mr. Herman, who designs and manages all of the organization’s planting efforts. Mr. Herman is a retired professional landscape architect with forty-five years of experience at Fordham University, the New York Botanical Garden and the City of Stamford, Connecticut. “I wanted to create a passive, relaxing area where the public can gather, sit on a bench and walk around to reflect on the contributions made by volunteers on our island,” he said.