Community Member

Save Our Soundside

Gulf Breeze, Florida

Sign for new development in Gulf Breeze, Florida.

Living in South Santa Rosa County has a distinct advantage as well as a clear disadvantage. It is a uniquely beautiful place to live, located in the Panhandle of Florida between Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, but because of that beauty, it also draws extraordinary growth and development. 

Save Our Soundside, a 100-member organization led by Dara Hartigan and Liz Pavelick, is dedicated to preserving the quality of life in the South Santa Rosa County area. They closely monitor new development efforts and their impacts on flooding, research and document changes to the land, write letters to the editor, and show up to testify or submit comments at hearings, fighting for reasonable development policies that will support the community that already lives there, let alone allow for growth. The population has almost doubled since 2000. 

Fill and build development being done in the area.

As Liz Pavelick wrote in March 2020,  “The beautiful lake was here first and many neighbors over the years have told us stories of swimming in the lake as kids, fishing this water and just observing the wildlife in and around the previously crystal-clear spring water.  It is heartbreaking to watch this selfish destruction of a natural habitat.”

Together with partner organizations in Santa Rosa County, Save Our Soundside is working with Thriving Earth Exchange to find solutions to balancing resource management with growth in a reasonable way with appropriate planning. The project involves “Inventorying and mapping the elements that influence quality of life in Santa Rosa County [to] form a critical foundation for any number of future community science initiatives, including creating and advocating for good policy, applying for FEMA and other grants, and building a sustainable development plan.” The project is beginning in April 2021 and will take just over a year.

Written by Michele Gielis


Santa Rosa and environmentalists agree 500-acre conservation project would be win for Navarre, Pensacola News Journal, March 22, 2022

Save Our Soundside Communications Director Issues Public Comment on FEMA Notice, Insurance News Net, Nov. 16, 2021

Opponents To Clear-Cutting Won’t Give Up, WUWF 88.1, July 25, 2021

I think you will never see a FL county so hostile to a tree, Florida Phoenix, July 22, 2021

Mapping Natural and Developed Resources to Positively Impact Responsible Growth, Santa Rosa County, Florida, Thriving Earth Exchange, 2021

Unfortunately for FL’s environment, the word ‘preserve’ doesn’t really mean ‘preserved’, Florida Phoenix, November 6, 2020

Did development make Sally flooding worse? One Gulf Breeze woman says yes, Pensacola News Journal, September 20, 2020

SOS pres. Dara Hartigan sounds the alarm on “fill ‘n build” tract homebuilding putting our flood insurance discounts at risk, Facebook Live testimony, July 30, 2020

Developer buys protected wetlands in Midway, divides it into lots, Press Gazette, June 11, 2020

SAVE OUR SOUND shares concern, Navarrene Newspaper, March 11, 2020

Editorial: Save Our Soundside a needed watchdog in Santa Rosa, Pensacola News Journal, November 9, 2019

Santa Rosa County Commissioners get earful from environmental group, WEAR TV ABC  March 1, 2019

Save Our Soundside group brings concerns to county but doesn’t get satisfaction, Gulf Breeze News, November 1, 2018

Gulf Breeze residents fear new development could threaten Soundside, WEAR TV ABC, October 26, 2018 

Grassroots group wants Santa Rosa County to slow down on housing developments, Pensacola News Journal, October 20, 2018

Michele Gielis

Michele Gielis

Michele has spent the last decade helping nonprofits raise their voice for change. She looks to make action meaningful by connecting people to the technology and messages that bring resonance and resilience. Michele is proud to support the Anthropocene Alliance working to get communities to #HigherGround


Dara Hartigan
Liz Pavelick

Social Media

Climate Impacts

Flooding, Water Contamination


Fighting Industrial Contamination, Halting Bad Development, Nature-Based Solutions

501c3 Tax Deductible


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