September 07, 2021

The nonprofit will receive an additional $75,000 to help fund conservation within the O2O Wildlife Corridor

North Florida Land Trust has met a challenge grant issued by the EJK Foundation of Houston, Texas. The Foundation issued the challenge in July 2020 and gave NFLT until August 31 of this year to raise $75,000 that they would then match 1:1. The nonprofit land conservation organization was able to raise the money needed and will now receive an additional $75,000 to help fund its efforts in the Ocala to Osceola (O2O) Wildlife Corridor. The O2O Corridor is part of the greater Florida Wildlife Corridor, a blueprint for the conservation and connection of Florida’s native and rural landscapes.

“We are grateful to the donors that helped us meet this goal and are especially thankful to the EJK Foundation for their support of our efforts to conserve land along the O2O,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “Protecting lands within the O2O Corridor and restoring the old-growth longleaf pine ecosystems provide critical habitat for many endangered species. Protecting the land allows the wildlife to move freely through the corridor to migrate, forage for food and mate in a way that is natural to their species.”

NFLT leads the O2O Partnership made up of public and private organizations dedicated to landscape-scale conservation in the 1.6-million-acre corridor of public and private lands that connects the Ocala and Osceola National Forests. Black bears move through the corridor, which also provides habitat connectivity for endangered species like the red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snakes and gopher tortoises. In total, there are 34 federally classified threatened and endangered species, and three disappearing habitat types within the O2O.

The EJK Foundation supports efforts centered on landscape-scale conservation for wildlife habitat and ecological resiliency. The Foundation also awarded NFLT a $450,000 grant in July 2020 to help fund the operational needs of the O2O initiative over two years. The grants will help with costs including salaries, due diligence, marketing, and increased fundraising capacity related to the O2O initiative. NFLT’s goal is to conserve 140,000 in the O2O Conservation Corridor in the next 20 years.

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.