Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands – Boynton Beach, Florida - Atlas Obscura

Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands

Boynton Beach, Florida

These constructed wetlands naturally filter millions of gallons of treated wastewater every day.  

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Wetlands are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world, providing habitats for numerous species of plants and animals. They also filter pollutants and excess nutrients from the water.

Over the past few decades, humans have learned to appreciate the value of wetlands. Many cities and towns have incorporated these unique places into their urban environments.

Green Cay is an artificial lake and marsh constructed on former farmland. The land’s original owners, Ted and Trudy Winsberg, sold the land to the city of Boynton Beach on the condition it would be turned into wetlands 

The Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility pumps around 2,000,000 gallons of treated wastewater into Green Cay every day. The plants, bacteria, and microorganisms in the wetland act as highly efficient natural filters, cleaning the water and allowing it to percolate naturally back into the water table.

Green Cay also serves as a sanctuary and prime breeding ground for hundreds of birds such as gallinules, ibis, egrets, herons, and spoonbills. The waters are also inhabited by alligators, turtles, raccoons, otters, and bobcats.

Around the wetland, visitors can traverse the more than one mile of elevated boardwalk that navigates through cypress swamps, tropical hammocks, and open water marshes. Signs along the trail provide more details on the surrounding environment. 

The nature center at the entrance to Green Cay showcases exhibits on the water cycle as well as the flora, fauna, and ecosystems found in the wetlands.

Know Before You Go

The nearby Wakadohatchee Wetlands are also used for wastewater filtration by the city of Boynton Beach, and also feature public boardwalks.