Conservation on the Mind in West Volusia

In West Volusia County, a dedicated community of conservationists, organizations, and sanctuaries work tirelessly to protect and preserve Florida’s native and diverse wildlife. From the rescue and rehabilitation efforts of 101 Paws and Claws to the educational initiatives by the unsung champions who devote their lives to safeguarding everything from manatees at Blue Spring State Park, these heroes work to protect the wildlife of our area. Each story is a testament to the passion and dedication that fuels the preservation of West Volusia’s precious ecological wonders.

101 Paws and Claws in Deltona is a beacon for community-driven animal welfare. Dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of pets in need, they are known for their compassionate approach and tireless efforts to provide a safe haven for animals. Offering medical care, foster programs, and adoption services, they act as a forever home for the animals that come to live with them. Often taking in exotic animals from owners who can’t meet the demands of those animals, 101 Paws and Claws also plays a crucial role in educating the public about responsible pet ownership and animal welfare, making a significant impact in the lives of countless animals and pet owners in the West Volusia region.


Also in Deltona, the Lyonia Environmental Center offers a window into Florida’s diverse ecosystems. This facility serves as a hub for environmental education and conservation, featuring interactive exhibits, educational programs, and a state-of-the-art auditorium. The adjoining Lyonia Preserve provides a protected habitat for the threatened Florida scrub jay and other native wildlife, with well-maintained trails that allow visitors to explore the natural scrub environment. The preserve makes for great birdwatching and is a destination that inspires and educates, immersing visitors in the importance of preserving Florida’s natural habitats.

Nestled in DeLand, the Reptile Discovery Center is an enthralling destination for those curious about the world of reptiles. This center not only offers a hands-on educational experience with its extensive collection of snakes, lizards, and other reptiles but also plays a pivotal role in conservation and research. Visitors can witness live venom extraction programs, interact with various reptiles in a safe environment, and learn about the significance of these creatures in our ecosystem. Dedicated to promoting understanding and respect for reptiles, the Reptile Discovery Center in DeLand is a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts and families alike, providing an insightful and engaging encounter with some of nature’s most misunderstood creatures.

Located not too far from there is Patty’s Parrot Palace, More than just a sanctuary; it’s a haven of love and care for parrots and other exotic birds. This non-profit organization is dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and providing lifelong homes for parrots that have been relinquished, abused, or neglected. With a deep commitment to the well-being of these vibrant birds, Patty’s Parrot Palace offers a safe, nurturing environment where these intelligent and often misunderstood creatures can thrive. The sanctuary also focuses on educating the public about the complexities of parrot ownership and the importance of conservation. By visiting Patty’s Parrot Palace, guests not only get a chance to interact with these magnificent birds but also learn about the crucial role such sanctuaries play in wildlife protection and welfare.



Stetson University is not only the area’s hub for academic excellence, but also a beacon in wildlife conservation efforts. The university’s various programs and research initiatives play a pivotal role in understanding and protecting local wildlife and specific animal species. Leveraging its strong environmental science and biology departments, Stetson actively engages in field research, habitat restoration projects, and community outreach programs. Often centered around the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center, these efforts focus on native species conservation, including studying the ecosystems of the St. Johns River and the surrounding natural habitats. Stetson’s commitment to ecological research and conservation education exemplifies their dedication to safeguarding Florida’s diverse and unique wildlife, making it an integral part of the region’s environmental stewardship.

North, in DeLeon Springs, the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Spanning thousands of acres, this refuge is a mosaic of wetlands, waterways, and woodlands, providing critical habitat for a diverse array of wildlife, including migratory birds, alligators, and numerous species of fish. It offers a serene backdrop for bird watching, photography, and nature walks, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the untouched beauty of Florida’s wild landscapes. The refuge also plays a significant role in environmental conservation, with ongoing efforts in habitat preservation and ecological research. Educational programs and guided tours enhance the public’s understanding of the importance of wildlife protection.

Crossing into West Volusia near Lake Woodruff is a portion of the Black Bear National Scenic Byway. Winding through the heart of Florida, the byway offers travelers an opportunity to explore much of the state’s ecosystem. This picturesque route, known for its lush landscapes and wildlife viewing opportunities, stretches through parts of the Ocala National Forest and along the St. Johns River, providing a chance to see Florida’s famous black bears, various bird species, and other native wildlife in their natural habitat.

The Save the Manatee Club works closely with Blue Spring State Park and is a key advocate for manatee protection. This organization dedicates itself to the preservation and rehabilitation of manatees, particularly during the colder months when these gentle giants seek refuge in the warm, spring-fed waters of the park. Through research, rescue, and public education efforts, the Save the Manatee Club works tirelessly to ensure the safety and well-being of these iconic creatures. Their presence at Blue Spring State Park includes monitoring manatee populations, collaborating on conservation policies, and engaging the public through awareness campaigns and volunteer opportunities. Their efforts not only contribute to the survival of manatees but also enhance the visitor experience at the park, offering an opportunity to observe these fascinating mammals in their natural habitat.

Blue SPrings


And throughout the region, the West Volusia Audubon Society is at the forefront of bird conservation. This dedicated group of bird enthusiasts and conservationists is committed to protecting and promoting the well-being of local and migratory bird populations. Through their educational programs, birdwatching excursions, and community outreach, they foster a greater appreciation and understanding of avian species and their habitats. The society actively participates in bird counts, habitat restoration projects, and advocacy efforts, contributing significantly to environmental stewardship in the area. Their work not only aids in the preservation of diverse bird species but also enhances public awareness of the importance of ecological balance. The West Volusia Audubon Society’s efforts ensure that the skies and lands of West Volusia continue to thrive with the vibrant presence of birdlife, making it a vital contributor to the region’s natural heritage.

More information on West Volusia County can be picked up at the Visitor Center located at 116 W. New York Avenue in Downtown DeLand, FL, or can be found online Please call 386-734-0162 for more information.