~More than 120 water bottle refilling stations installed at Florida State Parks~

Members of the Florida Park Service, Duke Energy Florida and the Florida State Parks Foundation celebrate the installation of new water bottle refilling stations at more than 80 Florida State Parks.DUNEDIN, Fla. – Today at Honeymoon Island State Park, the Florida State Parks Foundation and Duke Energy Florida announced a new collaboration to fund the installation of 121 water bottle refilling stations at 85 Florida State Parks. Promoting an expanded effort to broaden sustainability and resilience at state parks, this effort will decrease single-use water bottles thrown away at landfills and reduce plastic litter along trails, at campsites, on beaches and in Florida’s waterways.

This collaborative effort encourages visitors to consider their impact on natural resources and make positive changes. Each station tracks the number of water bottles saved so visitors can measure their waste reduction impact.

These stations are now in service throughout state parks from Destin to the Florida Keys and can be found at campgrounds, trailheads, visitor centers, restrooms and other locations at state parks.

“We are grateful to Duke Energy Florida and for this collaboration that supports environmentally conscious practices at our treasured state parks and cultivates these values among visitors,” said Tammy Gustafson, president of the Florida State Parks Foundation. “This is truly a collective approach between state parks and visitors to create a greener future that preserves and protects Florida’s precious natural resources.”

Duke Energy Florida provided a $175,000 grant to help with purchase and installation. The remainder of the nearly $200,000 project was funded through revenue generated by the Foundation’s “Explore Our State Parks” specialty license plate that debuted earlier this year.

Proceeds from plate sales are advancing greener practices at state parks, and this sustainability collaboration with Duke Energy Florida is part of the first phase of a larger initiative focused on making Florida’s state parks greener. The Foundation will announce more detailed plans for this initiative early next year.

“We are committed to environmentally sustainable practices and are proud to contribute to this project that diverts and reduces waste, helping preserve state parks for continued enjoyment,” said Sharon Arroyo, Duke Energy Florida vice president of government and community relations. “Our investment in efforts that support sustainability in action help to create cleaner and more resilient communities across Florida.”

In 2021, Florida’s state parks and trails hosted more than 31 million visitors. Along with significant visitation, state parks also focus on preserving Florida’s natural, cultural and historical resources. Through actionable sustainability practices, state parks can foster environmental stewards that protect Florida’s resources for generations to come.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Florida State Parks Foundation and Duke Energy Florida to help make state parks greener,” said Chuck Hatcher, director of Florida State Parks. “Our visitors will be encouraged to use these bottle filling stations to reduce waste and help us protect our natural resources from single-use plastics.”

The Florida State Parks Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award-winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.

It does this through programs that preserve and protect state parks, educate visitors about the value of state parks, encourage community engagement and active use of state parks, and advocacy. The volunteer Board of Directors represents private and public sectors as well as local and statewide interests. This project was completed by the Florida State Parks Foundation Services LLC, which is a limited liability company affiliate of the Foundation.

Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, owns 10,300 megawatts of energy capacity, supplying electricity to 1.9 million residential, commercial and industrial customers across a 13,000-square-mile service area in Florida.

About the Author: Foundation Staff