Sarasota, FL (June 13, 2023) – The William G. and Marie Selby Foundation recently awarded $100,000 to Sarasota Audubon in support of the re-wilding project at the Celery Fields. The local Audubon chapter is partnering with Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to increase the biodiversity of the Celery Fields by building and enhancing the habitat of the adjacent thirty-three acres of protected land known as the Quad Parcels.
“The Selby Foundation’s gift of $100,000 is an enormous contribution to our efforts to enhance the southwest parcel which serves as the front porch and welcome mat of the re-wilding project,” said Jeanne Dubi, president of Sarasota Audubon. “Residents and visitors will find parking, family-friendly spaces, ‘open flex lawns,’ discovery areas for children, ADA-friendly walkways, and a Celery Fields history kiosk; the public restrooms with an attached covered picnic pavilion are the focus of the Selby Foundation funds.”
“Bill and Marie Selby loved to be outdoors and appreciated our natural environment,” said Susie Bowie, President and CEO of the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. “We are delighted that the Selby Foundation has invested $100,000 in the Quad Parcels by supporting the efforts of Sarasota Audubon Society and know that this gift will increase accessibility to nature for children, families, and individuals.”
In addition to the public amenities on the SW parcel, the completed re-wilding project will feature a wooded habitat with a pollinator meadow and a bird and wildlife viewing platform on the southeastern parcel; the northeast parcel with an existing stormwater retention pond will see littoral plantings and added wooded areas. Together, the quad parcels will serve as a buffer to the environmentally significant Celery Fields, an international and national birding hotspot with more than 250 species of migratory and resident birds as well as native mammals, reptiles, and other wildlife.
“Wildlife viewing is one of the biggest draws of visitors to Sarasota County,” said Dubi. “With the addition of woodland habitat and the public amenities that make it accessible, this area of the Celery Fields will become its own destination, drawing people from around the state, country and world.”
Currently, Sarasota Audubon and Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast are fundraising and finalizing the habitat design with Sarasota County. The organizations hope to break ground by the end of the year. To learn more about the re-wilding of the Quad Parcels, to make a donation, or arrange for a Re-Wilding the Quad Parcels speaker, please visit: www.SarasotaAudubon.org/quad.
About Sarasota Audubon Society: Sarasota Audubon is dedicated to the protection, conservation, and enjoyment of birds, wildlife, and the environment in Sarasota, Florida. Using a combination of science and education, Sarasota Audubon conserves and restores natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. Learn more @SarasotaAudubon.org
About the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation: With a mission to invest in people through academic scholarships and support capital projects of local organizations, the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation looks beyond what is and enables change for what can be. Learn more @SelbyFnd.org.