June 29, 2021

Guests can choose from two events to learn more about the history of historic American Beach and how they can help save this dune system

North Florida Land Trust is hosting upcoming events to provide an opportunity to learn about the ecological importance of historic American Beach and Little NaNa Dune. The nonprofit land conservation organization is currently raising money through the Amelia Forever Campaign to pay back a loan acquired in January for a portion of the Little NaNa Dune system that was in danger of development. NFLT will be hosting an evening filled with information and entertainment to allow potential donors to learn more about why they should help.

The fundraising event will be held on July 17 starting at 5 p.m. and again on Sept. 16 at the same time. Space is limited for each event which will begin with a trolley tour of American Beach followed by speakers, jazz music and food at Walker’s Landing in Fernandina Beach. The event is free but donations are encouraged. Guests can register at nflt.org/nana/.

NFLT financed the purchase of three parcels of land known as Little NaNa Dune for $1.255 million and now needs donors to contribute to help pay back the loan. The Delores Barr Weaver Fund has issued a 2:1 challenge grant that will provide $125,000 to the nonprofit after it raises $250,000. The nonprofit needs approximately $690,000 to pay back the loan.

Little NaNa Dune is part of the NaNa Dune system which is an important habitat for gopher tortoises and migrating birds. Protecting the land connects the 1.55 acres to the 8.5- acre NaNa Dune, the tallest dune in Florida. NaNa Dune was added to the National Park Service’s Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in 2004.

NFLT hosted its first fundraising event for Jazz’N to Save Little NaNa in early June and 40 guests were treated to a trolley ride through American Beach led by Eve Jones who explained American Beach’s rich history and its connection to the natural landscape. Chadd Scott and Florida Master Naturalist Paul Dunn led a presentation in front of NaNa Dune to explain the ecological significance of the dune, the benefit of its ecosystem, and why it is important to protect it.

The group then headed to the American Beach Community Center where Jazz Vocalist Akia Uwanda performed. The guests enjoyed local cuisine from Deloris Gilyard and Heavenly Cuisine and received a fundraising update from Pam Hart, chair of the Amelia Forever Campaign. JD Staton and Dr. Johnetta Betsch Cole, a descendant of the founder of American Beach, led a “live auction” style fundraising segment that entertained guests and ultimately committed more than $135,000 to the cause. The venue for the additional fundraising events was changed from the American Beach Community Center to Walker’s Landing to accommodate more guests.

The events are made possible through the support of the Amelia Forever Task Force and sponsors including Pastor Carlton Jones, Cynthia Jones-Jackson, Bill and Linda Price of CSI GEO, Lisa Barton Team Ponte Vedra Beach, Genie Rostad, Sally and Tony Perez, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Harris Teeter, and Pam and Joe Hart.

Foundations, businesses, government entities and individuals can donate to the Amelia Forever Campaign at www.nflt.org/ameliaforever or by check to North Florida Land Trust with the memo: Amelia Forever and mailed to 843 W Monroe Street, Jacksonville FL 32202. For more information about giving, contact the NFLT office at 904-479-1967 or info@nflt.org. NFLT created the Amelia Forever Campaign in 2019 to preserve the remaining natural spaces on Amelia Island.

About North Florida Land Trust

North Florida Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to protect the natural resources, historic places and working lands (farms and ranches) throughout north Florida. Founded in 1999, NFLT has preserved tens of thousands of acres of land through donation or purchase of land as well as conservation easements.  NFLT is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with willing landowners and public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations.