Land Conservation Organization Awarded for Environmental Stewardship
Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 7, 2018 – North Florida Land Trust was chosen to receive the Environmental Stewardship Award from the Northeast Florida Regional Council. The award was presented to NFLT President Jim McCarthy and Associate Land Protection Director Rebecca Perry during the Regional Awards for Excellence ceremony at WJCT studios.
The Regional Award for Excellence in Environmental Stewardship is given each year to an individual or organization who focuses on long-term protection, conservation and enhancement of Northeast Florida’s natural resources. NFLT was chosen for the work they have been doing in the Ocala to Osceola, or O2O, wildlife corridor, specifically the more than 2,500 acres they protected through the acquisition of two conservation easements.
“We are very proud of the land we have been able to conserve within this critical wildlife corridor which not only keeps these thousands of acres free from high intensity development in perpetuity, but also protects Camp Blanding from the threat of encroaching development,” said McCarthy. “We are honored to have been chosen for this designation and will continue to work closely with Camp Blanding to identify lands prime for conservation and important to protect the base. Our partnership is a combination of conservation, community relations, national security and economic development.”
NFLT also recently took possession of 2,300 acres located near Lawtey that connects Camp Blanding to Jennings State Forest. The properties are also within the O2O wildlife corridor; a critical wildlife corridor that stretches from the Ocala National Forest to the Osceola National Forest. The O2O corridor provides an important habitat for the Florida Black Bear and endangered species like the red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snakes and gopher tortoises. There are numerous imperiled species, and rare habitats within the O2O.
NFLT is leading the Ocala to Osceola (O2O) Wildlife Corridor Partnership, a partnership of public and private organizations striving to improve land management and conservation within the O2O. The 80,000-acre Camp Blanding Joint Training Center is central to the O2O landscape and partnership.
The Northeast Florida Regional Council is a network of local governance that serves Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Putnam, Nassau and St. Johns counties. It was established to promote area-wide coordination and cooperative activities of federal, state and local governments. Its mission is to engage people, businesses, governments and organizations to communicate issues, convene stakeholders, collaborate with others, calculate and analyze, and construct solutions. Each year, they honor elected officials and organizations who make Northeast Florida a great place to live and work.
About North Florida Land Trust
North Florida Land Trust is a nonprofit organization and champion of environmental protection primarily in Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Union and Volusia counties. NFLT was founded in 1999 and has protected thousands of acres of environmentally significant land including property at Big Talbot Island, the River Branch Preserve, Pumpkin Hill State Park, Moccasin Slough, along the St. Mary’s River and other valued natural areas predominantly in Northeast Florida. NFLT is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with private landowners and other public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations. For more information, visit nflt.org.