Explore Nature – Florida National Wildlife Refuge

Aug 15, 2018 | Life at East Ridge

Wildlife & Natural Beauty at Your Backdoor

Did you know East Ridge at Cutler Bay has achieved two distinctive national certifications?

The entire 76-acre community now proudly carries nationwide environmental status as a Wildlife Refuge from the National Wildlife Foundation. The East Ridge community is also certified as a Butterfly Sanctuary by the North American Butterfly Association.  Read more to discover the natural beauty and Floridian wildlife living here.

Floridian Wildlife

“The natural beauty of East Ridge and its hammock area deserve those distinctions for preserving its grounds,” explained resident Dr. Marjorie Brown, a physician-turned-artist who applied for the recognition on behalf of the community.

While all 76 acres carry both certifications, the two-acre Hammock Nature Preserve is specifically designated for non-development by Miami-Dade County. The area is host to a “virgin and pristine” habitat of natural plants, indigenous species of insects, and animal life. This precious, natural beauty and vibrant wildlife create an experience which connects East Ridge community members back to nature.

The hammock has long been home for families of foxes and raccoons, rare insect species and endangered flora that have become subjects for sketching and painting by East Ridge community members.  Our community members especially enjoy sharing a home with the beautiful, resident flock of wandering peacocks. 

Nature Inspired Artistry

Dr. Brown who became an artist of distinction in South Florida during her retirement years credits her “love of the beauty of plants and trees that we see all around us” for her artistic inspirations. She helped create the South Florida Tropical Botanical Artists. They are a group of equally-enthusiastic painting hobbyists who exhibit at the Deering Estate and Biscayne National Park.

Dr. Brown’s paintings of East Ridge’s flourishing tropical vegetation and exotic plant life have been exhibited at the community’s Lifestyle Center.

They’ve also been seen around South Florida as part of a traveling collection of artworks by the South Florida Tropical Botanical Artists.

“I really didn’t know anything about painting,” she explained. “After my husband and I retired I joined a children’s sketching class at Fairchild Tropical Gardens and have kept at it ever since.”

Remembering Dr. Brown

A native of southern California, Dr. Brown attended both UCLA and Marquette Medical School of Milwaukee, Wis., before joining her late husband, Dr. Harvey Brown, in co-medical practices after moving to Miami in 1955 to raise a family of five children.

While she specialized in public health, primarily in the care of indigent children, her husband was a prominent rheumatologist and professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The couple retired to East Ridge in 2010 and we are forever grateful to have shared a community with Dr. Brown and her husband.

Dr. Brown has passed on from this Earth but her artwork and environmental interests remain to inspire, comfort and uplift others for generations to come.

Explore East Ridge

Interested in experiencing the natural beauty of East Ridge at Cutler Bay for yourself?  We would love to give you a tour of our community. Contact us to book your tour today.