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The new YMCA at Wildlight has opened its doors and we’re so excited to give you a look at some of the amazing programs and perks available for Wildlight residents!

“We’re ready to welcome the community into our facility, support them as they reach their health and wellness goals, connect them to other resources and invite them to join our cause,” said Melissa, Operations Director of YMCA at Wildlight.

One of the biggest benefits of the new YMCA is its convenient, walkable location.

“You can literally live and walk right across the street from the Y and then go out on our trails. Everything is just integrated,” said Wes Hinton, Wildlight’s VP of Community Development. “UF Health has been a great partner in bringing the Y here. It’s just a huge benefit to our residents.”

Check out the video to learn more!

The New Year is a perfect time for big plans, living better and a happier you. Even little changes in your activities and your perspective can make a major difference in the coming months. That’s exactly the kind of thinking that Wildlight was built around, and wherever you are in 2020, we’ve got a few ideas for resolutions to make the year ahead a great one.

Spend More Time Outdoors
The outdoors rejuvenate the soul. The fresh air and open spaces let you breathe, relax or just have some fun. Whether it’s hiking a nature trail, visiting the local park or a fun-filled day at the community pool, it makes an impact on your mood and well-being. So, carve out some time to escape those four walls and enjoy what outside has to offer.

Make New Friends
New faces. New ideas. Meeting new people is the best! A friendly wave and “hello” is an easy start and might just kick of a great conversation or a lifelong friendship. So, if you’re sitting on your front porch and see a new passerby, why not say hello? Or if you’re at the store, at a party or just out and about, make a point to meet and greet new people, and you never know who you might find!

Get More Exercise
This is kind of a classic, but working out more never hurts, and there are great ways to make it fun. Walk with a friend, join a biking group or get out on the water for some kayaking or paddle boarding. Think of it less like a workout and more like playing with health benefits. Before long, you’ll wonder why exercise wasn’t a regular part of your routine.

Play More and Stress Less
Speaking of playing, having fun in 2020 is a great way to reduce stress. From the workplace, home, finances and other sources, stress affects all of us to some extent, and too much can have serious health consequences. So be sure to schedule some downtime this year. Go out with friends, take yourself on a shopping spree downtown, or find a new event or class to try out. A community like Wildlight is built for residents to live and play, but you can make your own fun anywhere. And in doing so, you’ll be making an even better 2020.

Happy New Year!

The Floco Festival 5K and Fun Run is just a few weeks away at Wildlight, and we look forward to seeing community members, runners and all our guests who participate. Running can seem like an intense or intimidating activity to take up, but here are four tips to keep you motivated:

1. Start Your Day With a Run
It’s easy to begin the day with good intentions of taking a run, but then unexpected events get in the way, or you just run out of energy or interest. In addition, a late run can actually hinder your sleep habits, as the endorphins you produce from running keep you awake at night. Instead, get ahead of any conflicts and put those endorphins to good use with a morning run — it can actually make you more productive as you use that positive energy to do more throughout your day.*

2. Get a Running Partner or Group
Having someone to run with helps keep you accountable. It’s tougher to skip out on your daily run when you have to cancel on someone else. A running group also provides a social aspect to running that can enhance your enjoyment. Choose wisely, though, you want to find a partner or group with a similar pace to yours, or maybe a little faster if you’re looking to improve your running times.

3. Find the Right Shoes
The right running shoe doesn’t need to break the bank, but finding the right fit and support can save you a lot of discomfort in your feet, legs and back. Your best bet is to go to a running store and work with a professional to find the right style of shoe for your needs. Most stores these days have advance equipment to track things like the size and shape of your foot, and how your foot contacts the ground, to help find complementary footwear.

4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
This is good advice even if you don’t run, but its exceptionally important to maintain your water intake if you’re running. Water will help prevent cramping, so you don’t wreck a potential personal-best run. And drinking after your run will help replenish fluids you sweat out on the road, track or path. For long-distance runs, consider a running belt or even a hydration pack to keep water in easy reach.

Hopefully these tips help you hit the ground running. If you’re at the Floco Festival and join in the 5K or fun run, share your pictures and experiences with us here in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll be here to cheer you on!

* https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a20814665/12-habits-to-keep-up-your-running-motivation/

A Foundation for Healthy Living

Living in Florida Lowcountry just feels like it’s good for you. The sun shining in the sky, ideal weather for outdoor exercising and a low-stress environment are all perfect for adopting a healthy lifestyle. Jump on the wellness trend with these easy steps toward a better you.

Eating right.
Your body’s well-being starts with what you put into it. Eating right doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming or bland; it just takes some planning ahead and you can treat your family to healthy and delicious meals. Federal dietary guidelines recommend a mix of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy, protein foods like meat, eggs or soy, and oils, while limiting saturated fats, trans fats, and added sugar and sodium.

Playing smart.
All work isn’t just dull, it can have detrimental effects to your body, especially if you’re sitting behind a desk for 8+ hours a day. Getting out, getting active and even getting a little silly can be incredibly helpful to break your body out of its routine and keep your lungs, heart and the rest of you in top shape. Whether you prefer biking on trails, walking tree-lined sidewalks or throwing a ball in local green spaces, you can always find somewhere to play.

Focusing on your mind.
It’s not just about physical wellness: your mental well-being is equally important, which is why Wildlight has been built with your mind, well, in mind. Reducing stress through play, exercise and relaxation can help keep your mind at ease. Likewise, attending cultural activities at nearby museums, concerts and festivals can be refreshing and engaging for your brain.

Keeping it all in balance.
Follow these tips for the best health results. Any lifestyle change can help, but a mix of all three will deliver holistic benefits you’ll appreciate for years to come.

Check out the video to see how Wildlight incorporates healthy living into its community.

Being a Good Neighbor to Nature

When building a community of new homes, it’s important to remember the homes that were already there – the natural habitats of local plants and animals. With proper planning and policies for conservation, even a city-sized development can be eco-conscious and help the surrounding wilderness to thrive.

Let it be
Wildlight is committed to protecting the natural environment. As part of that commitment, roughly half of our community’s 2,900 acres will be dedicated as a conservation habitat network upon build-out. This is land that will remain undeveloped so wildlife can live peacefully, and residents can enjoy the untouched beauty of natural wetlands, forests and more.

Not just for animals
Hiking and biking trails, water sports and other outdoor spaces and activities encourage residents to experience the surrounding wilderness. And as appreciation grows for the local flora and fauna, members of the community take it upon themselves to protect the environment as well. It’s a true symbiotic relationship from which everyone, every animal and every plant can benefit.

Planting the future
Trees are critical to the natural beauty and sustainability of the environment. In Wildlight, when trees must be cut down to clear space, new trees continue to be planted so the surrounding space will benefit from the natural shade, air filtering and habitats they provide for generations to come.

WILDLIGHT, FL – August 31, 2017 – Today, Raydient Places + Properties and the University of Florida announced their intent to join together to develop a national model for healthier communities at Wildlight, the new master planned community currently under development in Nassau County north of Jacksonville. As part of the agreement, the University of Florida and its academic health center, UF Health, will construct health and fitness facilities in Wildlight and spearhead programs and services aimed at promoting healthier living throughout the new community and the Northeast Florida region.

Earlier this year Wildlight’s developer, Raydient Places + Properties, sought out a dedicated strategic partner with the capabilities and vision to create a new model for community development that promotes better health for the people who live, work and play there. “One of our goals at Wildlight is to create a community that promotes healthier living, so we went looking for a partner with broad and deep capabilities to bring the vision to life,” said Chris Corr, President of Raydient. “That effort led us to the University of Florida and UF Health, and we are thrilled to welcome them to Wildlight.”

One of Wildlight’s key objectives is to create a community where people can live, work and play in a dynamic environment. An individual’s health and well-being — which includes the mind, body, spirit and social aspects of life — are essential elements to this goal. As Wildlight’s strategic partner, the University of Florida will provide the breadth of knowledge, talented faculty and resources to ensure that healthy living is integrated into the very fabric of the Wildlight community through health, education, fitness and recreation programs; UF Health will ensure a forward-looking approach to prevention, early detection and health promotion.

“The expertise of our faculty and health care providers will contribute to promoting a better state of health for the whole person, inside and out,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President for Health Affairs at UF and President of UF Health. “We intend to build on our already substantial presence in Northeast Florida to not only keep the body healthy for Wildlight and Northeast Florida residents, but also to contribute to an environment that promotes better health in mind, spirit and social connectivity.”

UF and UF Health’s first step in the multi-year project is to construct the community’s first health care facility on Highway A1A, which will include urgent care staffed by emergency medicine faculty, primary care using a patient-centered model focused on prevention and early diagnosis, and an imaging center. Providers will initially include faculty physicians in adult primary care and pediatrics; over time, other medical specialists may be added in areas such as obstetrics, sports medicine, dentistry, orthopaedics and occupational and speech therapy, depending on the community’s needs and interests. These new facilities will expand UF’s already substantial presence in Northeast Florida and will ensure that Nassau County community members, local business employees, teachers and students have direct access to UF Health’s nationally recognized, high-quality care, programs, services and medical facilities.

In the coming months, the University of Florida and UF Health will advance planning and design with the objective of breaking ground on initial facilities next year. Final approval of the project is contingent on approval by appropriate governing boards, including the UF Board of Trustees.

Other facilities in the planning stages include a fitness and lifestyle campus as well as services focused on early childhood development, sports injury prevention, smart parks and community nutrition. UF envisions using Wildlight’s high-speed communications network to connect and communicate with residents and community members and offer virtual programs through smart apps and social media.

“Part of the mission of the University of Florida and UF Health is to shape a better future for Florida, the nation and the world,” said Dr. Guzick. “Our ambition is for the innovations that we pioneer at Wildlight to become model programs that can positively influence communities across Florida, the U.S. and maybe even beyond.”

This announcement comes weeks after Wildlight named D.S. Ware Homes and Dream Finders Homes as the first two residential home builders in the community. The news also builds on the recent opening of Wildlight Elementary School, which welcomed is first students in August. Wildlight Elementary School is a part of the “A”rated and “Academically High-Performing”-designated Nassau County School District. In addition to health care facilities, residential neighborhoods and a new elementary school, Wildlight is also designed for retail stores, restaurants and offices — all connected by a system of pathways and trails to enhance walkability, healthy lifestyles and a connection to the community.

About the University of Florida

The University of Florida is a major, public, comprehensive, land-grant, research university. The state’s oldest and most comprehensive university, UF is among the nation’s most academically diverse public universities. UF traces its beginnings to a small seminary in 1853. It opened its doors in Gainesville in 1906 with 102 students. Today, it is one of the most comprehensive and academically diverse universities in the nation, with an enrollment of some 52,000 students annually. UF is home to 16 colleges and more than 170 research centers and institutes and UF offers nearly 300 graduate degree programs. Only five other universities nationwide have as many programs of study on one campus as the University of Florida.

UF has a long history of established programs in international education, research and service. It is one of only 17 public, land-grant universities that belong to the Association of American Universities, the higher-education organization comprising the top 62 public and private institutions in North America.  UF is consistently ranked among the nation’s top universities. UF has nearly 5,000 faculty members with distinguished records in teaching, research and service, including 37 Eminent Scholar chairs and 42 faculty elections to the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, or the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Awards include a Fields Medal, two Pulitzer Prizes, NASA’s top award for research, and the Smithsonian Institution’s conservation award.

About UF Health

UF Health is the Southeast’s most comprehensive academic health center. With main campuses in Gainesville and Jacksonville, UF Health includes six health colleges, nine research institutes and centers, two teaching hospitals, four specialty hospitals and a host of physician medical practices and outpatient services throughout North Central and Northeast Florida. Its mission is to promote health through outstanding and high-quality patient care, innovative and rigorous education in the health professions and biomedical sciences, and high-impact research across the spectrum of basic, translational and clinical investigation.

UF Health includes the UF colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Professions, and Veterinary Medicine, which has both a large animal hospital and a small animal hospital. The system also encompasses several UF research institutes and centers. The full spectrum of patient-care services are provided through UF Health Shands Hospital and UF Health Jacksonville, UF’s private, not-for-profit affiliates. UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville includes UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital. Two additional specialty hospitals, UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital and UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital, are also in Gainesville. UF Health Jacksonville and UF Health North Hospital are the system’s Northeast Florida hospitals. UF Health offers a network of outpatient rehabilitation centers, two home health agencies in Gainesville and Jacksonville, and more than 100 UF physician outpatient practices throughout North Central and Northeast Florida.

About Wildlight

Wildlight is envisioned as a new town inspired by a character, culture and pattern of living that we call “Florida Lowcountry,” where play is a part of every day and the natural world is a natural part of life. The plan for Wildlight includes a mix of homes, townhomes and rental apartments together with shops and restaurants, parks, gardens and playgrounds, a new elementary school, and a system of trails and pathways intended to make it healthy and walkable and connect it all together. Our Phase 1 plan is flexible and currently designed for about 1,000 homes across about 260 acres plus nearly 350 acres of permanently preserved open space. Wildlight will offer comfortable and friendly Florida Lowcountry living 20 miles north of Jacksonville, just east of Interstate 95 on A1A, with easy access to both Amelia Island and the Jacksonville International Airport. Wildlight is being created by Raydient Places + Properties, a taxable REIT subsidiary of Rayonier. For more information please visit wildlight.com.

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“Nothing lights up the brain like play.” That’s what Dr. Stuart Brown, a pioneering researcher in play and the director of the non-profit National Institute for Play said say in his TED talk.

Yup, it’s official: adults need recess as much as kids do! Brown’s research shows that play is a whole lot more than just simple fun. The title of his 2009 book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul pretty much says it all. The main takeaway? Play is vital to human development and intelligence. So play and play hard throughout your life if you want to stay healthy, happy and creative. Want to learn more about the importance of play? Check out these Ted talks, too.