Environmental activist uses social media to update neighbors – Advice Eating

OAK HILL, Fla. – Lori Richards and her husband Daniel call their neighborhood a little paradise. Mosquito Lagoon RV Park in Oak Hill is located on the banks of the Indian River Lagoon.

“It’s very windy,” Lori Richards said as she stood at the end of a long peninsula jutting out into the river. “It’s the windiest place I’ve ever lived,” she laughed. “But it’s either wind or bugs. They call it Mosquito Lagoon for a reason.”

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The couple watches the shipping traffic go by. Barges, pleasure boats and working fishermen cruise past small sandbars and mangrove-covered islands.

The couple are both Florida natives. They moved into the small community of about 40 houses because they loved the rural character of the area. They call themselves and their neighbors lagoons.

“Oak Hill is so unique because it’s practically an untouched city in terms of development,” Lori said. “It’s hard to find in Florida.”

She remembers an Indian River Lagoon lined with a carpet of seagrass and groups of manatees gathering around the docks.

But things have changed. The river, still beautiful, has lost so much.

“I’ve lived here my whole life watching the Florida waterways crumble,” said Lori Richards.

“We basically lost all the grass,” added Daniel Richards. “It’s become a desert out here.”

Lori Richards has always cared about the environment, but as she watched the river’s water quality deteriorate and proposed developments further threaten her quality of life, she decided to do something about it.


“When I drove through the neighborhood, I used to get annoyed by the rubbish on the side of the road,” she recalls. “So instead of getting upset, I decided to do something about it. I got on the golf cart with my grippers and a bucket.”

Richards said you can also see her pedaling around on her yellow adult three-wheel trike. She began talking to her neighbors and learned that many were not keeping up with what was going on outside of her small neighborhood.

“I understand why,” Daniel Richards said. “A lot of people don’t have time for that, families, work.”

“I care. It bothered me how everyone felt,” Lori Richards said. “They felt like they didn’t know what was going on and they were upset about it. So I want to get the community talking. “

So she decided again to do something about it. Richards started a group on social media called Save Oak Hill to keep her neighbors informed.

“I founded Save Oak Hill because I went to a town meeting about developments in the area and found many citizens very upset. They felt they were not very informed about what was going on.”


Tony Prater lives nearby. “I feel like Lori is a great contributor to the community,” he said. “She invests a lot of time in this.”

Prater nominated Lori Richards for the News 6 Getting Results Award. “Getting results, she’s definitely getting results,” he said.

Prater told us he’s moved from the far north and appreciates the wildlife he sees in the area. He is concerned that dense development could endanger what he has come to appreciate.

“I’m not against development,” said Prater. “I just don’t want them to destroy the environment for progress.”

The Richards agree. They too say they are not against development, they just want more thought to go into planning.

Since becoming a community activist, Lori Richards has participated in city and county council and planning meetings, environmental workshops, and online seminars.

The pair would like to see LID, or low-impact, development techniques that involve saving old trees, protecting wetlands, and considering watersheds.


“If we grow at an uncontrolled pace, it’s going to ruin a lot of things that we love out here,” said Daniel Richards.

“We have to take care of Oak Hill and build a bright future,” said Lori Richards. “Together we can make a difference.”

Since that report, Richards has changed the name of the Facebook group to Oak Hill Community Concerns.

She said the name gave the impression that she alone could save Oak Hill. She said it would take a community, so she renamed the group.

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