Best Sunset - 2010
Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands
The 1.5-mile elevated boardwalk that winds through 100 acres of man-made wetlands in western Boynton Beach is a rare example of the philanthropic trumping the acquisitive. Rather than sell out to developers, Ted and Trudy Winsberg, owners of Green Cay Farm, who ran a thriving pepper farm on these grounds before they retired in 2000, came up with an alternate plan. They leased 15 acres to Farming Systems Research (producers of Green Cay Produce), which still grows tomatoes, squash, beets, carrots, turnips, lettuces, cucumbers, eggplants, and more — for research and to sell to subscribers. The Winsbergs sold the remaining land to Palm Beach County at a rock-bottom price for use as a park, bird-watching attraction, and water reclamation project: The wetlands act as a natural filter and replenish groundwater. That's the backstory, but the tale being told daily around that boardwalk is constantly evolving — dozens of species of glades-loving birds, mammals, and reptiles congregate, and many get active when the sun sinks behind the pines and local photographers arrive to set up their tripods. The muted sunsets here are spectacular even on cloudy days; there's so much life skimming between the stray gold and pink threads reflecting off these aquatic surfaces. Metaphorically, the sun may be setting permanently on scenes like this in South Florida — and that only makes an evening stroll more poignant.