OSPREY, FL (October 11, 2023) As they celebrate twenty years of conserving land in Southwest Florida, each month Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is spotlighting a different aspect of their work and the corresponding community impact. They are delighted to announce the October spotlight, Protecting Nature. With the support of their dedicated and growing conservation community, the not-for-profit land trust has protected over 19,200 acres in its twenty-year history; protecting nature is a central element of Conservation Foundation’s work.
In the United States, we lose approximately 150 acres of natural land and 40 acres of farmland every hour. The impact on wildlife and native species is unquestioned. In Florida, with over 1,000 new people moving to the state each day, it is vital that we conserve our remaining natural lands before it’s too late. There are a number of species found in Florida that are not found anywhere else in the world. These are called “endemic species” and include animals like the Florida scrub jay and plants such as the Florida loosestrife. We need to protect where they live today or they will be gone forever.
A vibrant blue bird, the Florida scrub jay is nearing extinction in Sarasota County because they require a certain type of habitat to live called, “scrub.” Protecting the dwindling scrub habitat and creating connections between populations is crucial to the survival of this endemic species. Conservation Foundation has repeatedly helped protect properties containing scrub jay habitat, including their Tatum Sawgrass Preserve and Sarasota County’s Old Miakka Preserve and Manasota Scrub Preserve. In 2019, Cornell Lab of Ornithology awarded a $20,000 grant to Conservation Foundation in support of their efforts to protect and restore habitat for the threatened Florida scrub jay.
“If we want to protect plants and animals, it is essential that we protect the land and waters upon which their survival depends,” notes Christine P. Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation. “More people come to Florida to view wildlife than any other state, but that will change if we don’t quicken the pace of conservation. Our work helps ensure the incredible animals and gorgeous natural landscapes Florida is so well-known for continue to exist forever.”
Conservation Foundation protects nature for people too. People need nature for many reasons. Nature gives us clean air and water, healthy food, and special places to relax and recharge. Time spent outdoors is proven to provide a host of physical, mental, and emotional benefits, especially for kids as they grow and learn about themselves and the world around them. Nature is a place of respite, a source of adventure, and a treasure trove of memories to last a lifetime. The land Conservation Foundation saves ensures our community has natural areas and open spaces to enjoy both now and in the future. When it comes to protecting nature, land conservation is essential.
Learn more about how Conservation Foundation is protecting nature at conservationfoundation.com/octoberspotlight.
About Conservation Foundation
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast protects land and water in Southwest Florida for the benefit of people and nature. Through strategic collaborations with individuals, groups, organizations, and government, they work to ensure all people have access to clean water, fresh air, nutritious food, abundant wildlife, beautiful natural areas to enjoy, and all the other physical and mental benefits nature provides. Their vital work strengthens Southwest Florida’s resiliency to storms and floods, enriches lives, and helps safeguard our community for generations to come. Learn more at conservationfoundation.com.