Sustainable Babcock



The areas selected for Babcock Ranch comprise land that had already been disturbed for agriculture or mining. The rest, about 90 percent, is a state preserve. BABCOCK RANCH TELEGRAPH

The areas selected for Babcock Ranch comprise land that had already been disturbed for agriculture or mining. The rest, about 90 percent, is a state preserve. BABCOCK RANCH TELEGRAPH

The way that Babcock Ranch is bringing together many different sustainability strategies received a showcase in November in the form of an educational broadcast streamed to 150 classrooms in 63 countries. Dr. Jennifer Languell, a consultant from Trifecta Construction Solutions and a star of the Discovery Channel’s “Discovery Project Earth” series, spoke to the school children from atop The Hatchery in Founder’s Square. Dr. Languell said she told the fifth and sixth graders sustainability requires not only the environment but community and economics as well.

“Most people, when they hear green or sustainable, think environment,” she said, “but it has to be financially viable in order to be sustainable. If you don’t have the balance with societal impact and economics, you don’t have sustainable. Babcock really does focus on that societal component because it’s very geared towards community. You get this feeling when you’re there that it’s different.”

Of the original 91,000-acre ranch, Kitson & Partners sold 73,000 acres to the state and Lee County for a preserve and is only developing half of the remaining 18,000 acres. The developers held public charrettes, asking environmental agencies and the public for help with identifying the most environmentally sensitive features of the land. The areas selected for development primarily comprise land that had already been disturbed for agriculture or mining.

“Our footprint is a little less than 10 percent of the original ranch, and that really does speak volumes when you look at it that way,” said John Broderick, senior vice president of development with Kitson & Partners. “It’s not common to find a developer who is willing to put 50 percent of its land into conservation easements.”

Mr. Broderick explained that the developers are combining innovative strategies for storm water management, solar power generation, energy-efficient buildings, relocation of trees, and transportation that encourages walking, biking and riding public autonomous shuttles in order to create a town that sustains the integrity of the environment.

“It’s not that Babcock is going crazy and doing all of this stuff,” Dr. Languell said. “It’s just that they’re doing so many components where other people have done just one piece, and Babcock is doing it in a very methodical way so that they make informed decisions moving forward. If we are not successful, that would tell people that sustainability is not successful, and that’s not what we want to have happen. We want this to work.”

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