Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 20, 2018 – Former Senator and Governor Bob Graham said the time to act for our environment is now. North Florida Land Trust welcomed Graham as the keynote speaker at their annual meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Citing the 1000 Friends of Florida study, Graham told the crowd of more than 150 people that the state of Florida will be 35 percent developed by 2070 if we continue on the same path.
“The state needs to step up its game,” said Graham. “We have to start thinking 20 to 30 years ahead in our conservation goals and the key to that is organizations like North Florida Land Trust.”
Graham said water will continue to be a challenge for Florida as the population grows and protecting land that will protect our waterways should be a key mission. North Florida Land Trust is at the forefront of that mission. NFLT President Jim M
cCarthy said the land conservation organization had success in 2017 in acquiring and preserving property with ecosystem benefits; properties that will help to protect and preserve natural habitats and wildlife.
“One of our biggest successes in 2017 is the O2O project,” said McCarthy. “We were chosen for more than $3.5 million in funding from the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and in 2018, we will be working with 18 partners to focus on about 100,000 acres within this wildlife corridor to help conserve lands and protect habitats.”
In addition to the O2O Corridor project, which is an important habitat for the Florida Black Bear and 34 federally threatened and endangered species, NFLT will be coordinating efforts to restore a sandhill ecosystem in Keystone Heights and making improvements to Bogey Creek
Preserve to create NFLT’s first public park. They will also continue their community outreach and efforts to convince the legislature to fund conservation projects around the state.
At the annual meeting, NFLT recognized some of the major donors who are the first to be recognized as part of the McQuilkin Society. The McQuilkin Society was named for NFLT Founder Bill McQuilkin. Recognized at the meeting for their major donations to NFLT were Lisa and William Barton, Robin Donaho, and Joseph and Renate Hixon. Dave Smith of the Makowski Trust was also recognized as were outgoing board members Adam Hoyles, who served for seven years and as chair for the last four years, and Ok Sun Burks, who served for three years. In addition, NFLT presented the Volunteer of the Year award to Forrest and Nancy Penny.
About North Florida Land Trust
North Florida Land Trust is a non-profit organization who serves as a 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 www.northfloridalandtrust.org.