About The Florida Wildlife Corridor

The 2012 Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition team walks beneath an Interstate 75 wildlife underpass between Picayune Strand State Forest and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. Hosts include FWC lead panther biologist Darrell Land and Panther NWR manager Kevin Godsea. Tom Hoctor from the University of Florida and Laurie Macdonald from Defenders of Wildlife were also present.

The 2012 Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition team walks beneath an Interstate 75 wildlife underpass between Picayune Strand State Forest and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. Hosts include FWC lead panther biologist Darrell Land and Panther NWR manager Kevin Godsea. Tom Hoctor from the University of Florida and Laurie Macdonald from Defenders of Wildlife were also present. Photo by Carlton Ward.

The Florida Wildlife Corridor aims to protect and restore connected landscapes throughout the Florida Peninsula and Panhandle to create a viable corridor from the Everglades to Georgia and west to Alabama. The corridor addresses the fragmentation of natural landscapes and watersheds from the Everglades ecosystem north. Contributing to the fragmentation problem is the disconnect between the perceptions of Floridians, and the real need to keep natural systems connected. The Florida Wildlife Corridor is positioned to mend the perception gap through an education and awareness campaign that demonstrates the connection between the landscapes and watersheds. If we show Floridians the panthers, bears, native cultures, ranchlands and rivers and how they are all connected, then they can help us make the Florida Wildlife Corridor a reality.

Generating Awareness

CorridorMap-thumbnailThe centerpiece of this strategy is the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. The first expedition launched January 17, 2012, and traversed the Everglades ecosystem into Big Cypress, over to the Everglades Agricultural Area, back to the Okaloacoochee Slough, across the Caloosahatchee, over to Babcock Ranch, back along Fisheating Creek toward Lake Okeechobee, up the Kissimmee River with excursions toward the Lake Wales Ridge, up the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, east around Orlando into Ocala National Forest, and north along the O2O corridor (Ocala to Osceola) to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. The trek covered over 1,000 miles in 100 days.

The vision for the second Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is to connect natural lands and waters throughout the northwest region of Florida, from the Green Swamp to the panhandle. Despite extensive fragmentation of the landscape in recent decades, a statewide network of connected natural areas is still possible (see the Maps Tab).

Corridor Facts

  • The Florida Wildlife Corridor encompasses 15.8 million acres – 9.5 million acres that are already protected and 6.3 million acres of remaining opportunity area that do not have conservation status.  The exact proportion of the opportunity area that needs to be protected for functional connectivity within the Corridor has not yet been determined.
  • Protected areas include 4.7 million acres of federal land, 4.5 million acres of state land, 162,776 acres of county and city land and 204,232 acres of private land with permanent conservation status.
  • There are 1.46 million acres within the Corridor opportunity area that are high priority for conservation through the State of Florida’s Florida Forever program and approximately 600,000 acres that are priorities for conservation through US Fish & Wildlife Services Greater Everglades Program (including the new 150,000 acre Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area project).
  • The Corridor provides habitat for 42 federally listed endangered species, 24 threatened species and 15 candidate species. At the state level, there are an additional 176 species listed as endanged, 56 as threatened and 29 as species of special concern.
  • Examples of threatened and endangered species include Crested Caracara, Everglades Snail Kite, Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, Florida Scrub-Jay, Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, Whooping Crane, Wood Stork, Florida Panther, West Indian Manatee, Green Turtle, Leatherback Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Gulf Sturgeon, Okaloosa Darter, Sand Skink, Eastern Indigo Snake, Frosted Flatwoods Salamander, Highland’s Tiger Beetle, Choctawatchee Beach Mouse, Piping Plover, Etonia Rosemary and Okeechobee Gourd.
  • There are 992 named rivers and streams crossing the Corridor that include 1150 miles of designated paddling trails. There are also 920 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail within the Corridor.

About the Organization

Mission Statement

The Florida Wildlife Corridor is a conservation advocacy organization focused on connecting, protecting and restoring corridors of conserved lands and waters essential for the survival of Florida’s diverse wildlife. The organization showcases the need to protect the missing links in the Corridor, preserve Florida’s waters, and sustain working lands and rural economies from the Everglades to Georgia and Alabama. A dedicated statewide Corridor will benefit wildlife, watersheds and people for generations to come.

Meet the Board of Directors

Josh Bomstein, LEED AP — President

Josh Bomstein Josh is Vice President of Business Development and Sustainability for Creative Contractors Inc., a leading commercial contractor headquartered in Clearwater that serves west central Florida. A graduate of Emory University, Josh is a recognized leader in the “Green Building Movement.” Included as one of the “40 Under 40” by the Gulf Coast Business Review, Josh serves on many councils, including the Clearwater Arts Alliance and the U.S. Green Building Council, Florida Gulf Coast Chapter. He has been involved in the construction of many of Florida’s greenest buildings including the Largo Community Center (LEED Platinum) and the University of South Florida Science and Technology Building (LEED Gold.) Born and raised in Dunedin, Josh values the Florida landscape and seeks to be a good steward of natural Florida for future generations.

Kimberly Davis Reyher – Vice President

Kimberly Davis ReyherKim is the director of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) United States Fisheries Program which promotes sustainable fisheries management through engagement with the fishing industry, seafood markets, governments and other stakeholders. In her current position, she is responsible for program management and development, with a special focus on multi-lateral institutions and tuna. A native of Tampa, Kim received a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Dartmouth College, and a master’s degree in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University. Before joining the WWF, she spent six years at The Ocean Conservancy (formerly the Center for Marine Conservation), first as a regional advocate in Florida, and then as the fish conservation program director in Washington, D.C. She first joined WWF in 2002 as the senior fisheries officer for TRAFFIC, WWF’s wildlife trade monitoring program.

Bert Martin – Treasurer

Bert is a partner in Caerus Ventures, a West Palm Beach based venture capital and private equity firm. Caerus is an investment vehicle targeting startup and established companies that are poised for growth. Mr. Martin currently sits on the board of Island Club Brands, a West Palm Beach based wine and spirits accelerator. Bert is a graduate of Rollins College where he earned a B.S. in Economics and played on the Men’s varsity tennis team. He was a member of the 2001 Division II national championship team. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, skiing, and golf. Bert found a passion for photography while on safari in Tanzania.

Pamela Adkins

Pamela AdkinsPamela is a communications strategist, writer, news media expert and creative force working on behalf of clients in government, healthcare, technology and education in cities throughout the US and around the world. She includes some of the world’s best-known brands, political leaders, high-profile crises and life saving health initiatives in her portfolio of communications experience. Pamela served on volunteer committees for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital and Ronald McDonald House, and received the National Glaucoma Trust “Singular Sensation” Award to recognize her contributions and community service. Now back in Tampa, she also is a board member of the Faces of Courage Foundation.

She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, earned her Masters Degree at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, and studied at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. A native Midwesterner, Pamela grew up counting petals and capturing Popillia japonica (for a penny each) as a budding rose hybridizer, learned the challenges of large-scale agricultural practices farming Yellow Dent Corn, and experienced first hand the destructiveness of an invasive apex predator as sea lampreys decimated the indigenous populations of salmon, whitefish, trout, chub and herring she and her brothers fished during summers sailing on the Great Lakes. Protecting Florida wildlife habitat and movement corridors to ensure the preservation of indigenous species, while balancing land and water conservation with human needs, is an important legacy she is proud to support.

Renée Athey

Renée Athey is a longtime resident of the St. Petersburg, Florida, area and an honored Certified Florida Educator with degrees from the Florida State University and the University of Florida. She helped to construct the Florida Trail and also western trails, and is a returned VISTA (Montana) and Peace Corps (Colombia) volunteer. Renée used her proficiency in Spanish to assist as an educator/facilitator in the San Blas Islands of Panamá, and with Habitat International in Guatemala. Like her husband and son, she is a lifelong sailor, active with the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, and a longtime organizer of youth sailing regattas. Renée is a musician with the FSU Alumni Band and another marching band (piccolo and bass drum), and active with Pinellas Habitat, Stanford University Sailing, and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. Renée considers herself a textile artist and amateur photographer, with many additional interests. Her years of travel around the world for work, pleasure, and volunteer efforts give her a unique perspective regarding conservation efforts and needs, but she believes that education is the pathway to creating a sensibility and a protective attitude toward irreplaceable flora and fauna on our planet.

Kristen Brand, CPA

Kristen BrandKristin is a CPA and managing director of Brand Tax Group in Tampa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Florida, and a Master of Accountancy from the University of South Florida. Kristen began her career with Deloitte’s state and local tax department in Atlanta and since returning to the Tampa Bay area has assisted small to mid-size companies and high net-worth individuals with their tax planning and accounting practices. She provides a unique insight for her clients, taking into consideration the appropriate accounting treatment for transactions as well as the tax implications that will come into play. Although Kristen knows “there’s no money in Nature,” she is ready to support effective conservation efforts by helping with effective fiscal management.

Michael G. Cantonis II

Michael is Vice President and Director of Development for his family’s business, The Cantonis Company. This Tarpon Springs based company has pursued diversified interests in hotels, as well as in the natural sponge and chamois leather industry, for over 70 years. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics from Princeton University. He has worked as an investment banking analyst with Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, and he was an associate with the private equity firm Thayer Capital Partners. Michael currently serves on the Alumni Executive Committee for Berkeley Preparatory School, has previously served as LINC’s Treasurer, and was co-founder of DCPE, a Washington, D.C., based organization of young, private equity professionals

Melissa LeBaron

Melissa is the Project Coordinator for the City of Tampa, Art Programs division, where she facilitates projects and art installations for the Tampa Public Art Program. Prior to joining the City of Tampa in 2004, Melissa was Communications and Public Relations Coordinator for Tampa Bay Business Committee for the Arts. She serves on the Board of Florida Association of Public Art Professionals and LINC, is a graduate of Tampa Connection, and is involved in the Florida Next Foundation. Melissa is a Tampa native and graduated from Berkeley Preparatory School. She received her B.A. from the University of Florida and recently completed the Graduate Certificate program in nonprofit management at USF.

John Moran

John MoranJohn is currently traveling the Sunshine State with his cameras, seeking his vision of natural Florida as it may have appeared to Ponce de Leon and other early strangers in paradise. A graduate of the University of Florida, John’s photography has appeared in numerous books and magazines including National Geographic, Life, Time, Newsweek, Smithsonian, The New York Times Magazine and on the cover of the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida. He has been named Photographer of the Year for the Southeastern U.S. by the National Press Photographers Association. His photograph of alligators at Paynes Prairie State Park was selected as the top-placing American photograph in the United Nations Earth Summit photo contest. Several book projects are now in the works, including one titled John Moran’s Florida: One State, Many Worlds. On photographing the nature of Florida, Moran says, “Truly a universal language, photography can help us better understand and appreciate the many gifts of nature bestowed upon this great state we call home.” johnmoranphoto.com

Tready Arthur Smith

Tready SmithAs Founder and CEO of Bayshore Capital, Tready is responsible for creating and implementing the firm’s strategic vision. She is a member of the investment committee and has spent the last 15 years directly investing in the full spectrum of alternative and traditional investments. Tready is also a managing member of ASAP Capital Partners, her family investment office. Prior to managing her family’s assets, Tready was a senior consultant at Deloitte & Touche. She graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with a degree in Business Administration.

Carlton Ward

Carlton WardCarlton is an environmental photojournalist from Clearwater, Florida, with graduate training in ecology and anthropology. His first book, The Edge of Africa, is a product of the months he spent in the tropical rain forests of Gabon with scientists from the Smithsonian Institution. Using custom photography techniques, Carlton documented over 400 different species of plants and animals, many of which were new to science. For his most recent international project, Carlton photographed endangered desert elephants to raise awareness of the last population found in the Sahel of West Africa. In the U.S., Carlton’s projects are aimed at celebrating Florida’s vanishing natural heritage, recognizing the power of photographs to influence public perceptions and inspire change. He regularly produces stories for newspapers and magazines, including recent features in Smithsonian, National Wildlife, Africa Geographic, and Outdoor Photographer. In 2009, he published the book Florida Cowboys: Keepers of the Last Frontier, depicting the role of ranching in preserving Florida’s open spaces. Carlton’s passion for nature was born from the Florida landscape, where eight generations of family history have grounded his perspective. He sees cultural heritage and the natural environment as two of society’s greatest yet most threatened resources. www.carltonward.com

Meet the Staff

Mallory Lykes Dimmitt

mallory-staff-bioMallory Lykes Dimmitt is a seventh generation Floridian whose childhood was partly spent exploring the lands and waters of central Florida. She pursued her passion for the outdoors by receiving her B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. She was also awarded a Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship at Duke University’s Nicholas School of Environment where she earned a Master’s of Environmental Management.

Some of Mallory’s projects include protecting river corridors and large landscapes in Colorado with The Nature Conservancy, research in Sri Lanka for the International Water Management Institute and strategic planning and organizational development with Legacy Institute for Nature & Culture (LINC).

maddie-staff-bioMaddie Southard began working with the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition in 2013 as an intern assisting in the ongoing effort to bring FWCE’s message of environmental awareness to schools. She is now FWCE’s Communication Manager, working in an array of capacities related to shaping the organization’s message to donors, government agencies, and other public audiences.

In 2013 she completed a MA in Communication at the University of South Florida, with an emphasis on corporate communication strategies in the area of sustainable energy and environmental awareness. As an undergraduate student at USF, Maddie spent time connecting with Florida’s land and agricultural practices at the Sweetwater Organic Farm.

A fourth generation Floridian born in Clearwater, Maddie has lived all around the Tampa Bay area and now resides in St. Petersburg where she continues to enjoy Florida’s natural environment bicycling Bay area trails, kayaking and canoeing the rivers, and paddle boarding to catch a glimpse at Florida’s remarkable marine life.

LINC transitions to Florida Wildlife Corridor

Beginning May 7, 2014, the Legacy for Nature and Culture (LINC) officially transitioned into The Florida Wildlife Corridor, an organization dedicated to the establishment and protection of the remaining natural lands, waters, working farms, forests and ranches from the Everglades to Georgia and Alabama, protecting a functional ecological corridor for the health of people, wildlife and watersheds. The organization is now officially doing business as the Florida Wildlife Corridor.