Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast honored the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners as 2013 Conservation Partner of the Year before a crowd of 100 guests at its 10th Anniversary Celebration last month at Bay Preserve at Osprey. The commission was instrumental in a complex and complicated transaction to protect 150 acres adjacent to Robinson Preserve in Manatee County which became the 30th property preserved by Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. Every step of the way, Manatee County proved to be a partner willing to problem solve collaboratively alongside the Robinson Family and The Mosaic Company Foundation whose lead gift jump-started the project. “This is an extraordinary example of the public, private and not-for-profit sectors coming together to do the right thing for the environment and the community,” said Conservation Foundation president, Christine Johnson.
The 150 acres of farm land will be restored in the next few years to coastal wetlands and pine uplands, and include an exceptional public educational center. Conservation Foundation Board of Trustees chairman, Dan DeLeo, noted, “What’s so special about this project is that Manatee County was willing to ensure the perpetuity of the 150 acres by giving us a conservation easement. To our knowledge, Manatee County is only the second county in Florida to grant a conservation easement on land they own.”
The Board of Commissioners received a framed print by esteemed Florida photographer, Clyde Butcher, commemorating the honor.
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast works with landowners and regional government to protect and preserve the bays, beaches, barrier islands and watersheds that define the character and ecology of our region. The Foundation has protected nearly 8,600 acres across 31 properties by holding conservation easements and owning nature preserves, educating for responsible land stewardship, and collaborating with individuals, organizations and communities. Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast also works with Sarasota County’s acclaimed environmentally sensitive lands program, their neighborhood parks program, and is a nationally accredited land trust. Learn more at www.conservationfoundation.com