February 09, 2023

North Florida Land Trust is joining the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation, the Florida Trail Association, Friends of Ravine Gardens, and premiere sponsor Calhoun International for the O2O Expedition Kick-Off and Gateway Community Celebration on February 19. The community is invited to join the organizations for the celebration at Ravine Gardens State Park at 1600 Twigg Street Palatka, FL, 32177. The park entrance fees will be waived for the event.

The nonprofit partners will be celebrating the designation of Putman County as a Florida Trail Gateway Community and will be kicking off the “Ocala to Osceola: Operation Connect, Protect, and Restore” Expedition. There will be an optional guided tour of Ravine Gardens by senior staff starting at 11:30 a.m. The main event will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the pavilion. Guests will be able to hear about the expedition, meet the explorers and commemorate the designation of Palatka as a Florida Trail Gateway Community and celebrate its role in supporting the hiking experience along the Florida Trail.

Three military veterans will be taking part in the “Ocala to Osceola: Operation Connect, Protect, and Restore” Expedition which is a four-day journey that will take them through the Ocala to Osceola (O2O) Wildlife Corridor, a 1.6-million-acre network of public and private lands that connect the Ocala and Osceola National Forests. The veterans will be exploring the corridor as they take part in a triathlon trek. They will paddle the Ocklawaha River, hike and bike through the Florida Scenic Trail and finish up the expedition at Camp Blanding. Their journey will highlight critical Florida Forever properties, native wildlife, and waterways, and will feature health and wellness opportunities within the O2O. It will also showcase the compatibility of military installations with conservation lands. During the four-day trek, crews will be gathering footage to create a short film about the O2O Corridor, a critical linkage in the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The film will be released to the public, in hopes of raising awareness about land protection, restoration, and management of Florida’s iconic ecosystems that call the O2O home.

To reserve a spot for the event, please visit https://www.nflt.org/2023/02/02/expedition-kick-off-and-florida-trail-association-gateway-community-celebration-february-19th/. For more information, contact Maureen Vicaria at (803) 842-1445 or maureen@floridawildlifecorridor.org.

About North Florida Land Trust

North Florida Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the quality of life by protecting North Florida’s irreplaceable natural environment. Founded in 1999, NFLT has preserved tens of thousands of acres of land through the 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.