Live Close to Nature in Florida

by Dick Stoner 03/01/2020

 Photo by Paul Brennan via Pixabay

To live in Florida is to live closer to nature than you ever may have imagined. For life-long Florida residents, this is something that you grow accustomed to rather young, but for those who move into the state later in adulthood, learning to expect the sight of a lizard in the bathroom or a frog jumping into your foyer as you open the door for the Sunday paper are experiences that may seem a bit odd and even frightening, especially at first.

Part of loving nature is loving the immense variety of Florida wildlife that lives right among the rest of the Florida residents.

If you are an animal lover, then Florida may be the right place to call your home. There are some incredible resources in the Jacksonville area alone to help you get to know incredible animals—some of whom you may not realize are living in your own backyard. For example:

  • The Catty Shack Ranch is an incredibly unique animal rescue shelter on the Northside of Jacksonville, not too far from the Trout River area and the Jacksonville Zoo. It is home to wild cats that are native to Florida, including the Florida Panther. A visit to the Catty Shack includes the chance to watch the cats at feeding time, which is sure to include plenty of roars.
  • White Oak Plantation is another unique experience that gives you the chance to get up close and personal with incredible animals, some of whom are also native to Florida. The plantation has large animals including the rhinoceros and a family of giraffes, as well.
  • While meeting a gator in the open may be terrifying, zip-lining over a family of gators is just plain-old Florida-style fun. The Alligator Farm in St. Augustine is a unique trip for kids and adults, and the zip-line is just not-scary enough to make it the perfect day-trip for the whole family.

In addition to the abundance of opportunities for animal lovers to have face to face encounters with exciting wildlife, the Northeast Florida area is home to pristine trails that are ideal for taking the dog out for an enjoyable walk, state parks that are perfect for going bird watching and open water areas that make it easy to spot dolphins or even manatees at play.  Living in Florida means being open to sharing our space with all of these beautiful and majestic creatures.

About the Author

Dick Stoner

Reist Corporation was incorporated in 1994 to renovate and restore commercial, industrial and residential buildings. Working from a 200+ year old farm in Washington County, MD , we have restored barns, warehouses, and even WWII Army buildings in Central MD. We maintain expertise in zoning and land use issues, and we stay abreast of market conditions and changing market statistics. We welcome the opportunity to work with buyers and tenants who wish to take advantage of current market conditions to lock in long term deals at favorable rates. Those able to sign 5 - 10 year leases in commercial transactions right now, are able to obtain the best rates in over 10 years, and those able to purchase are able to get pre-2005 prices on many types of buildings and land. On residential transactions, we continue to help buyers of bank-owned and short sale properties. We welcome the opportunity to work with you on your challenges, and we pay generous referral fees to agents from other areas who wish to utilize our services on Maryland property transactions


Since 2002, I have worked on some of the largest real estate database systems in America. I have introduced online marketplace products to areas that were using residential MLS products for commercial real estate information, and I have worked on the expansion of some of America's largest real estate data systems in some of the largest MSA's in the country. Research is key to many commercial real estate valuation projects, and our firms' knowledge about how these systems work can help you reach the best information about other transactions in your area. We are active in Land Preservation programs and environmental offsets which can sometimes bring additional revenue that is crucial to making a transaction work. Nutrient offset credits in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have become a new component in the valuation of active farmland and for many rural properties which involve environmental features like streams, woodlands, pastureland, etc. We've partnered with the experts at Blueline Conservation Incentives, LLC in Northern Virginia on nutrient offset and land preservation programs and together we are part of a team with expertise in all of the Middle Atlantic States as they strive to meet WIP - Watershed Improvement Plans in order to meet the 2017 and 2025 water quality goals that were set by the 2010 Chesapeake Bay Plan. 


2009 -MD Historical Trust -Award for Project Excellence in the Restoration of Frieda's Cottage at Chestnut Lodge in Rockville, MD