Jacksonville, Fla., Aug. 28, 2019 – North Florida Land Trust and it’s Ocala to Osceola (O2O) Wildlife Corridor Partnership has been awarded a grant from the Landscape Conservation Catalyst Fund. NFLT’s O2O project was one of 14 out of 250 applicants who received the inaugural grant award and the only one in Florida. NFLT will receive $25,000 over the next two years for direct support of the O2O Partnership, which underscores conservation efforts to preserve the critical wildlife corridor.
“We have made great progress over the years in preserving lands and this grant will help us continue our important work of protecting habitats which are home to threatened and endangered species,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “This award will help provide funding for a dedicated coordinator position for the O2O partnership who will help us continue to move the project forward.”
The Partnership Coordinator will be responsible for expanding and diversifying the partnership membership and will work to improve communication with the public through the launch of a website and digital newsletter. He or she will also work to finalize a strategic conservation priority plan and formalize a leadership structure. NFLT will be soliciting for the position in the upcoming months.
The O2O corridor is 1.6 million acres of public and private lands that stretches from the Ocala National Forest to the Osceola National Forest and includes two military installations with Camp Blanding forming the central link in the corridor. It also contains the headwaters of five watersheds that provide drinking water for Florida’s coastal communities and support the regional timber economy.
The Catalyst Fund, which is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, will help the O2O partnership move closer to their goal of protecting 140,000 acres of land by 2050. The O2O corridor includes parts of Columbia, Baker, Union, Bradford, Clay, Putnam, Marion and Lake Counties. Preservation of this land will help foster climate resilience, recover regionally imperiled species populations and promote watershed health. It will also protect military training flexibility, sustain rural economies and amenities and support outdoor recreation.
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. For more information, visit nflt.org.