Land Worth Saving
Amelia Island is a stunning seaside community that invokes pride in residents and visitors alike for its unique combination of natural and historic features. Boasting an incredible tree canopy, proximity to the great Atlantic Ocean and the calming marshes along the Intracoastal Waterway, a thriving historic center and deep cultural heritage, Amelia Island is a slice of paradise.
Yet with all the wonders Amelia Island provides, these natural and historic landscapes are disappearing.
North Florida Land Trust started the Amelia Forever campaign in 2019 in response to a community outcry to preserve the island before it is too late. Watch the following video about this effort and read more about our current and past projects below.
If you are interested in making a pledge to Amelia Forever, please email Sarah Hande.
Hallmark Project: Saving Little NaNa Dune
The Amelia Forever campaign has preserved Little NaNa Dune, a part of the tallest dune in Florida and located within the historic Black community of American Beach. The preservation of Little NaNa Dune supports a longstanding vision to protect the natural integrity of the area championed by the late MaVynee Betsch, an American environmentalist affectionately called, “The Beach Lady.” Ms. Betsch lived in American Beach where she remained an activist for its preservation until she died in September of 2005.
In preserving Little NaNa Dune, NFLT joins the Friends of American Beach, the American Beach and greater Amelia Island communities, and friends and family of MaVynee Betsch to carry forward her legacy of protecting this special place.
The People Behind Amelia Forever
Thanks to the citizens’ interest in pursuing conservation efforts on the island, NFLT’s existing partnerships with the Amelia Tree Conservancy, the City of Fernandina Beach, Nassau County, and the Tourist Development Council burgeoned into a community-wide effort to protect the island’s precious natural resources.
In 2019 the Amelia Forever Committee was formed to launch a fundraising and marketing initiative to preserve lands in need of protection. The Committee consists of Amelia Island residents who provide strategic direction on which properties to pursue and help bring land conservation to fruition through garnered support.
Amelia Forever Committee Members
Pam Hart (Chair)
Creighton (Corky) Hoffman
Pastor Carlton Jones
Meet the Chair
PAM HART, CHAIR OF AMELIA FOREVER COMMITTEE
There is a Native American proverb that says, “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
I have seen so many people finding solace in the beauty of Amelia Island; hiking, biking, and enjoying nature. Nature is never closed, and it’s never cancelled! I have become very concerned about the unchecked development that is destroying wildlife habitats and vistas on the island. Developments are going under construction with no provision for wildlife corridors or wildlife habitat and in areas that were originally wetlands. Additional concrete will adversely affect flooding when the next storm hits because impermeable surfaces don’t let nature do its work.
I have come to the conclusion that the only way to slow development is to buy land at market rates and put it into a permanent conservation land trust. In 2019 I agreed to chair a committee and launch a campaign called, ‘Amelia Forever’, for the North Florida Land Trust. Our sole mission is to raise funds to purchase property on Amelia Island and conserve it permanently. We have already preserved five parcels on the island and continue to identify others. We need your help desperately! If you feel that development needs to slow down on Amelia Island, please help by donating to our tax-deductible Amelia Forever Campaign. The North Florida Land Trust is a fully accredited land trust with an excellent reputation and unparalleled expertise in land conservation. If you have enjoyed Big Talbot Island, that is just one example of a beautiful area that NFLT helped conserve. Please donate and share our campaign with your friends, neighbors, and associates. Your donations will allow us to preserve beautiful Amelia Island for ourselves and those who come after us.
Little Tiger Island
565 acres in Nassau County
In March 2023 the State of Florida closed on 565 acres of salt marsh and maritime forest known as Little Tiger Island using $965,000 in funds from the Florida Forever program and a $1 million grant that NFLT helped secure from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program.
Episcopal and Floyd Tracts
7.5 acres within the city
Acquired in 2019, these tracts were the first preserved by the Amelia Forever Campaign through a partnership with the City of Fernandina Beach. Now these lands forever protect a mesic hammock forest and a small freshwater marsh in the heart of downtown Fernandina.
3.3 acres on Egans Creek Greenway
Acquired in 2019 with the City of Fernandina Beach, this tract borders Egans Creek Greenway, a safe haven for over 200 species of birds and other wildlife. Its preservation ensures that this land will never be developed and will maintain the beautiful viewshed along Egans Creek Greenway.
3 acres on Egans Creek Greenway
Preserved in 2020, this property consists of maritime hammock forest that buffers and protects Egans Creek Greenway to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
5.3 acres on tributary to Egans Creek Greenway
Preserved in 2020, this property consists of mesic hammock forest and is located on a stream that feeds into Egans Creek.
Little NaNa Dune
1.55 acres that were protected are adjacent to the larger 8.5-acre NaNa Dune
Preserved in 2021, Little NaNa Dune is located in historic American Beach, which was founded in 1935 to give African Americans access to a beach during the days of segregation. The Little NaNa Dune System is an important habitat for wildlife including gopher tortoises and migrating birds.