Our Mission: The primary focus of the Public Trust is the zealous protection of the City of Jacksonville's Preservation Project and other municipal, state, and federal lands and waters - our "special places". July 2016

August 6
Guano Tolomato Matanzas:
 Guided Exploration Hike

Put on comfortable, closed toed shoes and join us for a guided hike showcasing the natural biodiversity and cultural history of the Guana peninsula!

First Saturday of each month

8:30-10:30 AM

Meet at GTM Research Reserve's Trailhead Pavilion located west of the Guana Dam/$3 vehicle parking fee

August 18
Swim Shorts Film Festival

Screening of the finalist film entries featuring Northeast Florida's waters and water activities!

Thursday, August 18

Sun-Ray Cinema 1028 Park St. 
Jacksonville, FL 32204

August 23
USGBC Screening: Water Blues, Green Solutions

Join us for the next documentary screening in the Green Carpet Film Series and participate in a riveting discussion about protecting our water resources!

Tuesday, August 23
6 pm

Corazon Cinema
36 Granada St.
St. Augustine, FL 32084

August 27
St. Johns Riverkeeper:
River Ruckus

Annual family festival celebrating the St. Johns River. Come join us for live music, crafts, beer, and the Riverside Arts Market!

Saturday, August 27
10 am - 4 pm

Riverside Arts Market
715 Riverside Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32204

Free Admission

September 15
24th Annual Mayor's Environmental Luncheon

This award luncheon, hosted by Mayor Lenny Curry, will recognize and showcase individuals and companies that have made significant contributions to preserve the environment. 

Thursday, September 15
Tickets $25 per person, can be purchased at door if available

University of North Florida Adam W. Herbert Center
12000 Alumni Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32211

September 24
Clean-up on Big Talbot Island

Come join the North Florida Land Trust clean up a 3 mile segment of highway and then join them for lunch (provided) at Talbot House!

Saturday, September 24
9 AM-12 PM


Donations help us to keep fighting for our special places.

Please click here to donate to The Public Trust. 

Just $25 gets you a 1-year membership to The Public Trust.

Dear Friend of The Public Trust,

It is with great pleasure that I introduce myself to all of you as the new Executive Director/General Counsel of the Public Trust. My internship with the Public Trust in 2005-2006 was the catalyst for my public-interest legal career and inspired me to make protecting the environment one of my life's central purposes. While at law school, I was involved with the protection of 13 springs, work for which I received the UF Conservation Clinic's Book Award. Since graduating from law school, I continued my work in the nonprofit sector raising over $700,000 for worthy causes. I have had many successes involving the acquisition of conservation land and the protection of the tree canopy in my hometown of Atlantic Beach. I'm sure you can imagine how meaningful it is for me to be returning 10 years later to lead the Public Trust.
I look forward to expanding the Public Trust's impact.  We will continue as vigilant watchdogs and zealous advocates for the waters, lands, animals, and special places in Northeast Florida. I pledge to work tirelessly to build consensus forging creative solutions to the tough challenges that our organization will face in upcoming years.
We welcome volunteers. I am available to speak to you or any community groups about the important battles the Public Trust is waging. Our organization will be there to assist with any issues, large or small, that impact our community's public trust resources.  I look forward to working with all of you to safeguard what makes Florida so special. 
- John Henry November, Esq.  

Legal Update: 
City of Jacksonville 
Tree Ordinance Case

Photo Courtesy of Oliver Dodd
In July 2015, the Public Trust filed a complaint against the City of Jacksonville (COJ) for failing to enforce the tree protection ordinance and the charter amendment (passed by 75% of the electorate in 2000) and for inappropriate spending on activities that were not improving the health and extent of the tree canopy. We have been reviewing COJ records to identify the mishandling of COJ expenditures that can be curtailed through the implementation of improved procedures and record-keeping protocols. We are pleased to report that the COJ has already taken multiple steps toward resolving some of these problems. In upcoming months, the Public Trust will be working with concerned community stakeholders to develop a plan to enhance the COJ's processes and practices.

Once we have gained consensus, our goal is to work with the COJ General Counsel's office to strengthen the ordinance. Ideally, these amendments will include the establishment of a "Tree Commission" to create and realize a vision linked to spending priorities and the coordination of public education programs. The Public Trust is currently performing a comparative analysis of our and other tree friendly cities' ordinances to help guide which policy changes would benefit our tree canopy the most.

We are optimistic that all of the interested parties, including the Jacksonville City Council, can embrace the plan to ensure that our beloved canopy can flourish. Then we can settle our lawsuit and focus on solutions to strengthen our tree culture for years to come.
Halo: Florida Wildlife Commission
At the end of June the Florida Wildlife Commission voted to "postpone" the bear hunt that was scheduled to take place in October 2016. This vote represents a victory for environmentalists and animal rights activists. However, FWC commission chair Brian Yablonski was quoted as saying, "I don't think a pause means hunting goes away forever." 
                          Photo Courtesy of Jitze Couperus

FWC commissioners claim that the one-year delay will allow the state agency the opportunity to gather more data on the current state of the bear population in Florida. If environmental stewards wish for this brief pause to become a permanent policy, advocates must remain vigilant.

You all heard about the highly controversial bear hunt that took place across in Florida in 2015. Although bears had been on Florida's protected species list from 1974 to 2011, the ban on hunting was temporarily lifted last year, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) issuing 3,778 permits for the 2015 bear hunt. Just two days into a proposed week-long season, the hunt had to be ended because at least 304 bears had already been killed. The state estimates that Florida's population is only around 4350 bears, although it has increased 60 percent since 2002. 

The FWC has pledged about $825k this year, matched with money from local governments, to utilize non-lethal alternatives to the bear hunt. FWC commissioners claim that the one-year delay will allow the state agency to gather more data, and hear more input from the public, on the current state of the bear population in Florida in order to make a more informed decision in 2017.
Horn: Florida Environmental Regulation Commission

On Tuesday July 26th the Environmental Regulation Commission (ERC) voted 3-2 to allow higher levels of certain carcinogenic chemicals to be discharged in to the surface waters of Florida, including the St. Johns River and its estuary.

This vote took place even though Governor Scott has failed to appoint members to fill the two vacant seats on the ERC that are supposed to represent local governments and the environmental community.

These reduced standards will now be reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for final consideration and unfortunately could be approved by the EPA even though a coalition of opponents will continue to challenge these rules by arguing that the limits for a majority of the chemicals regulated are higher than those recommended by the EPA. The newly approved Florida rules are based on the widely questioned "probabalistic" model as opposed to the well established "deterministic" model moving forward. It is noteworthy that Florida is the only state proposing to utilize the unproven probabalistic model moving forward. It is possible that this vote could be part of a larger scheme by gas and oil companies to set the stage for fracking operations to begin operations here in Florida. 
Interns and Externs
The Public Trust proudly accepts students from law schools and undergraduate programs to serve in our intern/extern program. These students are given real-life assignments and provide tremendous help on a variety of projects. We take on new students every semester and during the summer. So if you are interested in an internship or externship with The Public Trust, send us your resume, a current transcript, and a writing sample to john@publictrustlaw.org. In the meantime, take a look at our current interns/externs:

Katie Marshall
Katie grew up on a horse farm in rural Western Massachusetts, then later moved down to Naples with her family. She graduated cum laude from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities, and currently attends the University Of Florida Levin College Of Law, where she is an officer in UF's Environmental Law and Land Use Society. She has always been interested in advocating for the environment, and ultimately decided that she would do so as a lawyer rather than a scientist. 

She enjoys yoga, kayaking with her family, exploring, reading or writing poetry and playing video games.
Gloria Li

Gloria was born in Jacksonville, FL and is studying for Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Science from the University of Florida. She plans on attending law school in the future and blending her passion for art, nonprofit work, and philosophy to make the world more sustainable for future generations. 

She enjoys binge-watching tv shows, having long and interesting discussions with strangers, and singing karaoke in her room.
Janie Pinner
Janie was born in Jacksonville Beach, FL and is a recent graduate from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies. While at Florida State, Janie competed with the Florida State University Equestrian Team. Janie's love for the Environment and her passion to conserve our Wetlands and Resources has led her to pursue possible careers in Environmental Law to better protect the Environment. 

In her spare time, Janie enjoys spending time with family and friends, boating, canoeing and spending time at the beach. Janie is an avid Equestrian and loves to ride and compete horses.