IDEAS For Us was founded in Orlando at the University of Central Florida (UCF) by Chris Castro and a group of classmates in 2008. After taking a class by famed environmental sociologist, Penelope Canan, students decided to commit to making UCF a greener and more sustainable campus. Soon, IDEAS For Us would evolve into a branch-based college club focused on action projects, rather than advocacy.
In 2011, Clayton Louis Ferrara joined Chris Castro and the decision was made to evolve the organization into an official 501c3 non-profit environmental NGO with a board of directors. Over the next decade, IDEAS For Us – Orlando has become the flagship branch of IDEAS For Us, creating over 40 different types of eco-action projects, the flagship IDEAS Hive Program, and the urban agriculture enterprise, Fleet Farming.
IDEAS For Us – Orlando is led by a team of dedicated organizers who meet and plan climate action projects twice a week. Since this is the flagship branch, it is overseen by the Branch Manager: Kristin Anderson.
Objective: Install pollinator friendly gardens throughout the City of Orlando to help promote nectar reservoirs all year for birds and insects in need of habitats and food.
Goal 1: Promote the transformation of lawns throughout the urban landscapes of Orlando to showcase the optimization of space in symbiosis with nature.
Goal 2: Bring the community together to install these gardens with hope the message will pass on and spread to others who try to replicate this in their neighborhoods.
Objective: Bring together experts in the Solar industry to conduct workshops supporting clean energy awareness as well as workforce development.
Goal 1: Help promote an in depth understanding of renewable energy and solar basics for entry level audiences interested in entering the solar industry.
Goal 2: Create a solar certification program to help promote skills shared during the workshop and facilitate the growth within solar workforce development.
Objective: Partner with experts conducting research in urban wetland restoration projects to combat nutrient run off challenges by planting native plants.
Goal 1: Mitigate pollution by planting shoreline aquatic and pollinator garden plants to create habitats and absorb toxic nutrients.
Goal 2: Conduct studies to see the long term regeneration of the fresh water retention ponds an submit information to local governments with hope of collaborating to restore multiple urban waterways.
Objective: Expand the garden at Quest Inc. into a native food forest with healthy pollinator gardens, retention ponds, and local food sources for the community.
Goal 1: Install pollinator plants along the property to improve the crops and cultivate pollinator insect populations.
Goal 2: Conduct shorelines restoration at the on site retention pond.
Objective: Create a space for environmental education free to the community, spreading awareness on environmental issues and engaging individuals in finding local solutions to global problems.
Goal 1: Host monthly Hive meetings to engage locals in a Think/Do tank.
Goal 2: Create programming for each month that locals can take hands on action to solve global environmental issues with local solutions.