The USF Forest Preserve, located just north of the USF Tampa campus, is five hundred acres of wetland and sandhill habitat that is a haven for local birds, wildlife, wetlands, and trails. It acts as an outdoor classroom for field study and research for many USF students and faculty. The tract of wilderness includes some of the last sandhill habitat in Hillsborough County, and some of the only remaining wetlands and uplands in Tampa’s metropolitan area, which mitigate flooding. The land also contains archaeological artifacts that have yet to be fully explored and is home to Native American burial sites.
In April 2021, USF issued a Request for Information (RFI) to assess options to develop the lands that encompass the USF Forest Preserve and the Claw Golf Course, totaling more than 760 acres. USF administration failed to consult any faculty while insisting that development proposals would not necessarily be pursued.
USF students and faculty created a petition that would save the site from development. In these interviews with students and faculty who have a strong interest in the site, librarian Andrew Huse explores the issue. The resulting conversations reveal the underlying gap between the ideals of academia and the financial constraints on universities everywhere.
Submissions from 2021
Dr. Gordon Fox oral history interview, Gordon Fox
Dr. David Lewis oral history interview, David Lewis
Jeannie Mounger oral history interview, Jeannie Mounger
Dr. Henry Mushinsky oral history interview, Henry Mushinsky