Growing up in Southwest Florida, I was exposed to much of the same type of environment we see here around Florida Gulf Coast University. When I was ten, my family and I moved into a home, which was located on the edge of a preserved area. I have always wanted to explore the preserve and see what awaited me right beyond my backyard. But, I never did because my mother and grandmother were cautious of what I might find while exploring. My neighborhood was a gated community but every house backed up to a lake or to the preserve area. Event though my friends and I were not allowed into the preserve area, one of our favorite things to do was to go fishing behind my friend Eugene’s house on one of the lakes in the neighborhood. Another interesting fact about my neighborhood is that it parallels the southbound side of interstate 75. At night if the wind was right, I could lie in my bed and hear the sounds of the cars as they went whizzing by. It was wild to me that a preserve was sandwiched in between a gated neighborhood and a busy interstate.
But, the best part about living in my neighborhood had to have been the proximity of the local county park to my house. Through a little opening in the back section of my neighborhood, I was able to ride my bike or walk to North Collier Regional Park. There, visitors are met with such amenities as baseball fields, soccer fields, a RecPlex Fitness Center and a small waterpark. Many times a week my dad and I would visit the park to play some kind of sport or simply walk the walking trails for fresh air and exercise.
Although I did not have the chance to experience the woods and preserve area behind my neighborhood like I always wanted to, I was fortunate enough to be able to experience the outdoors within my community because of a local park.