Sarasota, FL (September 21, 2021) Sarasota Audubon Society and Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast announce the selection of Willis Smith Construction as the Construction Manager for their plan to create natural habitat and passive recreation on three of the Quad Parcels at the Celery Fields. Willis Smith joins owners’ representative, Steve Suau of Progressive Water Resources, and site plan engineering firm, Kimley-Horn, to round out the project team.
The Celery Fields, a nationally and internationally recognized birding haven and one vital to our water quality and flood protection, is buffered from industrial uses on the western edge by four tracts of land known as the Quad Parcels. In October 2020, the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners approved a unique public-private partnership which gifted a conservation easement on the northeast, southeast, and southwest Quad Parcels to Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, ensuring protection of these 33 acres forever. Sarasota Audubon Society will manage the properties, and together, the two organizations will create new habitat to attract an even greater diversity of birds, and provide additional public opportunities for birding, wildlife viewing, and passive recreation.
“With the addition of wetlands, woodlands, and expanded public access, this project is a huge win not only for wildlife but for people as well,” says Jeanne Dubi, president of Sarasota Audubon.
The design plans are expected to be revealed in the near future along with an official fundraising campaign kick-off. There will be many ways for the community to get involved and support the transformation of this special place.
“This special public-private partnership will be a community conservation success story that lives on for endless generations,” adds Conservation Foundation president, Christine P. Johnson. “We are grateful to the Sarasota County Commission for giving the community this opportunity.”
About Sarasota Audubon Society
The local chapter of the National Audubon Society is dedicated to the protection, conservation, and enjoyment of birds, wildlife, and the environment in Sarasota, Florida. Their mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. Learn more at sarasotaaudubon.org.
About Conservation Foundation
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast protects land and water in Southwest Florida for the benefit of people and nature. Working with landowners, businesses, and government, Conservation Foundation saves land forever, protecting those special natural lands that make this region extraordinary. A nationally accredited land trust, the Foundation purchases natural areas, holds land conservation agreements, and educates for responsible land and water stewardship in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier County. Learn more and join in their mission at conservationfoundation.com.Suzanne