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Facility History

Carl Swisher Carl S. Swisher began purchasing land in the late 1920s through his death in the early 1970s and for 50 years used the tract as his private hunting and fishing preserve. At his death he had amassed almost 25,000 acres. In 1979 the Swisher Foundation approached The Nature Conservancy for assistance in establishing a wildlife sanctuary as a monument to the late tobacco industrialist, Carl Swisher. Two tracts of land, totaling 3000 acres of wetlands and prairies, were donated to The Nature Conservancy. The acreage was named the Carl Swisher Memorial Sanctuary.

Katharine Ordway In early 1980, the Goodhill Foundation awarded a grant to the University of Florida Foundation, Inc., to purchase approximately 6,000 acres of upland high pine sandhills from the Swisher Foundation. This acreage was to be preserved in the name of Katharine Ordway, the 3M Corporation heiresses who founded Goodhill. A conservation easement was placed across the Ordway tract to secure its protection in perpetuity. Both tracts were contiguous and so The Nature Conservancy agreed to lease the Carl Swisher Memorial Sanctuary to the University of Florida Foundation, Inc., and both organizations signed a joint stewardship agreement for the combined properties. The facility was to be operated as a field station to further the study and conservation of unique ecosystems.

In 2006, The Nature Conservancy transferred their ownership of the Sanctuary to UF. In order to more clearly identify the facility's use and purpose, the University of Florida Board of Trustees renamed the facility as the Ordway-Swisher Biological Station that same year. Additional lands have been added over the years to OSBS for the purpose of maximizing research, education, and conservation value.

Copyright 2000-2023, Ordway-Swisher Biological Station
Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
Contact UsContent Last Revised: September 24, 2023