Camp Mahachee

A HABITAT RESTORATION PROJECT 

Before: Picture taken before the removal of the invasive vines.

Current Project

In 2022, members of the Coral Gables Garden Club voted to support the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida by helping to restore the entrance of Camp Mahachee to its native habitat. We have joined forces with the Coral Gables Community Foundation and the Kerdyk family PARKnership fund to collaborate on fundraising efforts.

Hidden off Old Cutler Road, the entrance of this iconic property has become overrun with invasive plants that slowly destroy the native species that are so important to the longevity of our land. Over the years, not only has the site at the entrance of Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida become a problem but so have other nearby properties. Restoration work is being conducted nearby, and communities must address such needs holistically to make the most significant impact.

The Environmentally Endangered Lands Department of Miami Dade County and the UF/ Miami-Dade Extension office are working closely with the Garden Club and the Girls Scouts of Tropical Florida to restore this property to a native Rockland hammock, complete with a pollinator garden.

This project is estimated to cost approximately $178,000 and will encompass three distinct phases to accomplish its goals.

Phase 1: Remove invasive plants. The entrance has become overrun with invasive plants, including Paederia cruddasiana (known as Sewer vine or Skunk vine), which requires hand removal. In addition, initial, plant-based, state-approved herbicidal treatments are needed. Start date June 2022.
Phase 2: Restore the hardwood hammock. The complete Rockland hammock restoration would require planting 2,000 native 3-gallon trees, adding irrigation, and installation of a new electric gate. Start date October 2022.
Phase 3: Plant a pollinator garden. Returning the land to the native flora will encourage the resurgence of the native wildlife in this area. We will plant host plants and trees mixed with pollinator nectar sources. Start date Spring of 2023.

History of Camp Mahachee

In 1945, the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida purchased the land of what is now Camp Mahachee for $3,337 from proceeds from the sale of Girl Scout Cookies. Three years later, the community dedicated the lodge, bathhouse and eight cabins with great fanfare. Fast forward to 2023, Camp Mahachee will turn 75 and Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida will celebrate its centennial.

Camp Mahachee welcomes Girl Scouts from all over Miami-Dade County. Many of our members were Girl Scouts and have fond memories of campfires and sleepovers at the campsite. It's a place where girls can enjoy the outdoors and learn life long skills.  Garden Club members are passionate about this project as it is aligned with our mission of conservation and environmental stewardship.  We look forward to restoring this area to a natural rockland hammock and to educating these campers on the importance of planting natives.

How You Can Get Involved

  • Financial contributions. To make a cash donation to the Coral Gables Garden Club to support the restoration of Camp Mahachee, click the donate button.
  • Adopt-A-Tree donations July 16th (varieties, Krug's Holly and Bahamia Strongbark) and September of 2022. 
  • Check out all the resources on how to plant your own native habitat by clicking here.

To learn more about becoming a member of the Coral Gables Garden Club, click here.

A team of collaborators: L. to R. Haley Karl, Mary Snow, Sharon Trbovich, Chelsea Wilkerson, Susan Rodriguez, Mayor Lago, Denise West (back), Charlotte Smiley, Commissioner Anderson, James Duncan (back) Barbara McAdam, Bill Kerdyk and Dawn Mckenzie.          
Garden Club members: Tara Auclair, Commissioner Rhonda Anderson, Susan Rodriguez, Sharon Trbovich, Denise West and past troop leader and member Charlotte Smiley.
CEO of Girl Scouts of Tropical South Florida, Chelsea Wilkerson, gives her appreciation for the collaboration among the Garden Club, the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the Kerdyk Family, the Miami Dade County EEL project manager James Duncan and the Miami-Dade extension office's horticulture specialist Barbara McAdam.

Thanks to our Donors:

Chip Withers

Gunster Law/
Mario Garcia- Serra


 Another view before work began.
The environmental contractor hand-pulled vines over 1 1/2 acres, making way for the planting of 2,000 trees and a pollinator garden.
Commissioner Anderson with Bill Kerdyk of the PARKnership Fund.
Mayor Lago, Susan Rodriguez and Commissioner Rhonda Anderson
Susan Rodriguez and Chelsea Wilkerson  in front of the camp lodge.

Partners of the Restoration Project   

 

"Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, shall all be saved.”

– Jane Goodall