Save the Date: Corridor Connect 2025

Thank you to the 500+ attendees across 200+ partner organizations who came together at Corridor Connect 2023 to connect, build solutions, and amplify the Corridor movement! It feels like just yesterday we were together, but we are already busy preparing for Corridor Connect 2025! Thanks to our incredible partnership with Disney, if you thought last September’s event was magical, prepare for even more unforgettable experiences in 2025.

Save the dates: June 3-5, 2025, at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida

We are deeply grateful for your continuous and insightful feedback, which has resulted in a larger summit, offering more time for networking and solution-building. Plus, it’s set within the Corridor’s Last Green Thread, linking the Everglades headwaters to the Green Swamp.

Together we can accelerate the pace of conservation through more collaboration, connect with diverse conservation groups, and raise awareness and support for grassroots efforts happening statewide.

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Sponsor Opportunities

Thank you for the generous support of our Corridor Connect 2025 Sponsors!

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MAIN STAGE 2023

Welcome to Corridor Connect

Opening remarks from Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation CEO, Mallory Dimmitt. The Florida Wildlife Corridor spans approximately 18 million acres of contiguous open space, more than 40% of the state. This land is home to Florida’s wildlife and wild places, and is vital to the state’s agriculture, tourism, recreation, and more. As the fastest growing state in the U.S., it is imperative that we work collaboratively to ensure win-win solutions for economy and ecology.

Corridor Talks: Inspirational Success Stories

The past year has seen remarkable achievements, breakthroughs, and impactful initiatives that are shaping our journey toward a permanently protected Corridor. Hear a snapshot of some of the outcomes driven by this community’s collective efforts.

  • Traci Deen, CEO Conservation Florida

  • Fabiola Baeza, Conservation Ecologist, Common Ground Ecology

  • Jennifer Marshall, Director, Office of Environmental Management, FDEP

  • Juan Hernandez, State Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Remarks from Senator Brodeur

Opening remarks from Senator Jason Brodeur and Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation CEO, Mallory Dimmitt.

  • Mallory Dimmitt, CEO, Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation 

  • Senator Jason Brodeur

Ecology + Economy: Coming Together to Protect the Corridor

Connected, protected landscapes play a pivotal role in Florida’s prosperity. Explore the interwoven link between ecology and economy in sustaining the Florida Wildlife Corridor, discover successful collaborations, and uncover opportunities to synergize efforts in agriculture, renewable energy, planning, development, and tourism.

  • Jeb Smith, President, Florida Farm Bureau Federation

  • Mike Alfano, Principal Planner, Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency

  • Dana Young, President and CEO, VISIT Florida

  • Geoff West, Director, Florida Power and Light

  • Richard Levey, Senior Advisor, Tavistock Development Company

A Histo-Musical Journey of Gullah/Geechee Sustainability by Queen Quet

  • Queen Quet, Marquetta L. Goodwine, Chieftess and Head of State, Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition

Intertwined: Federal Efforts and Conservation in Florida

Uncover the two-way opportunities for how the federal system is synergizing and amplifying efforts taking place within Florida, and how our state’s success can inspire and shape federal policies and programs. Learn what’s taking place with NGOs and government collaborations elsewhere in the country and how they’re advancing conservation and benefiting communities.

  • Shannon Estenoz, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, US Department of the Interior

  • Zach Bodhane, Government Affairs Director, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

  • Nick Wiley, Chief Operating Officer, Ducks Unlimited

Revitalizing Gorongosa National Park

Gorongosa National Park is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife restoration stories. Once decimated by civil conflict, scientists and conservationists embarked on a massive effort to balance the needs of wildlife and people by ensuring the protection of its animals and landscapes, offering educational programs and agricultural support, and implementing sustainable tourism. As a tourism guide, Gabriela Curtiz has intimate knowledge of the park, and is striving to help communities–and ultimately her country–by inspiring peoples’ connection to nature and preparing for future leadership roles within the park.

  • Gabriela Curtiz, Safari Guide, Gorongosa National Park

  • Greg Knecht, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy FL Chapter

Uniting Hearts, Lands, and Minds: Y2Y’s Recipe for Success

The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative is a joint Canada-U.S. effort to secure an interconnected system of wild lands and waters stretching across the entire region, harmonizing the needs of people with those of nature. Discover valuable insights and find inspiration in Y2Y’s efforts to bring together conservationists, government entities, landowners and other pivotal organizations.

  • Jodi Hilty, President and Chief Scientist, Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative

Forces of Nature: A History of Florida Land Conservation

Step back in time as Clay Henderson, an author, environmental lawyer, educator and conservation torchbearer, celebrates the individuals and organizations who made Florida a leader in state-funded conservation and land preservation.

  • Clay Henderson, author, environmental lawyer, educator

Hope for Wild Florida

Step into Florida’s unmatched beauty through the lens of renowned conservation photographer, National Geographic Explorer, and creator of the award-winning feature film Path of the Panther, Carlton Ward, Jr. Through breathtaking imagery and heartfelt storytelling, Carlton illuminates the essence of Florida’s unique ecosystems, the threats against its wildlife and lands, and our collective progress protecting the Corridor.

  • Carlton Ward Jr., CEO, Wildpath

ECOLOGY + ECONOMY IN THE FIELD

Field Trips

Attendees ventured into the Florida Wildlife Corridor for an up-close look at the relationship between Florida’s ecology and economy. Local experts led conversations addressing solutions needed to ensure the Corridor’s protection for generations to come.

The first field trip brought attendees to Sunbridge, a 27000+ acre community in Central Florida, is a living laboratory testing and monitoring innovative strategies for regenerating soils, reducing water consumption, improving stormwater quality, rooting landscapes with native plants and creating habitat in the built environment that invites pollinators, birds and other wildlife.

Other attendees joined Florida Department of Transportation engineers and scientists to explore the newly completed I-4 wildlife crossing. The underpass reconnects wilderness that was bisected 50 years ago by the six-lane highway connecting Tampa and Orlando. This crossing is vital to the biodiversity and survival of migrating animals.

The remainder of participants ventured into the narrow “last green thread” of the Florida Wildlife Corridor with Disney team members to explore Disney Wilderness Preserve.

It’s Up To Us!

Ocean Conservancy’s J.P. Brooker welcomes us to day 2, which is built around the vital theme of collaboration and collective problem-solving. JP shares how land conservation and healthy waters are directly connected and why the power of unity and shared vision is more crucial than ever. Get inspired to harness the energy of togetherness while we drive meaningful change and forge a path towards a future where collective solutions lead to accelerated progress.

  • J.P. Brooker, Director of Florida Conservation, Ocean Conservancy

State of the State

By 2030, Florida is expected to be home to more than four million new residents. The evolving demographic and geographic changes Florida is experiencing directly impact and inform our efforts to work collaboratively to protect the Corridor. It’s vital we understand what Florida will look like in order to make informed decisions about how we scale.

  • Mark Wilson, CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce

Legacy of Our Lands

A visionary exploration of “Planning for the Future” where we embrace the profound responsibility and unparalleled opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. Through the lens of a long-term perspective, we’ll navigates the complexities of today’s challenges and examine how each choice made charts a course ensuring far-reaching impact for generations to come.

  • Rev. Houston Cypress, Otter Clan, Board of Directors, Lover the Everglades Movement

  • Travis Thompson, PT Outfitters (Owner), Cast and Blast Florida (Creator), All Florida (Executive Director)

  • John Nix, President, Black Farmers Association

  • Jim Strickland, Strickland Ranch & Florida Conservation Group

Shared Vision for a Robust & Resilient Florida Wildlife Corridor

State agency leaders have the delicate task of safeguarding the Corridor’s biodiversity while propelling economic vitality. Gain a firsthand understanding of how agencies are collaborating to address present-day hurdles by employing innovative strategies and undertaking visionary projects to shape a future where the Corridor thrives.

  • Shawn Hamilton, Secretary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection

  • Wilton Simpson, Commissioner of Agriculture, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

  • Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director, Audubon Florida

Ecosystem Resilience is Economic Resilience

As Florida confronts escalating climate threats we dissect the impacts of sea-level rise, increasing storms, and shifting ecology on our state’s economic fabric and uncover strategies that fortify both our environment and economic well-being. How can synergies between built and natural infrastructure and nature-based solutions  increase our state’s resilience? Learn about successes and areas needing further support.

  • Jennifer Hecker, Executive Director, Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Partnership

  • Kim Holland, Assistant Secretary of Strategic Development, Florida Department of Transportation

  • Logan Benedict, Adaptation and Landscape Specialist, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

  • Frank Martz, City Manager, City of Altamonte Springs

Restoring Kings Bay

Eight years ago, a dedicated group of Crystal River locals rallied together and embarked on a journey to create a closed-loop system to restore one of Florida’s top tourist destinations: King’s Bay. Through innovative practices, collaboration, education, and sweat equity, their goal to restore 90 acres of seagrass was accomplished and the local economy is once again thriving. Their efforts are now poised to have influence in lyngbia algae reduction across Florida and beyond and offer valuable insights and lessons learned.

  • Paul Cross, Director of Operations, Plantation Resort on Crystal River

  • Carter Henne, President/Partner, Sea and Shoreline

  • Lisa Moore, President, Save Crystal River

LIVE PAINTING

Artist Alyssa Marie

Artist Alyssa Marie created a custom Corridor Connect paint by number that all attendees had the chance to participate in!

Art inspires contemplation, raises questions and starts conversations. Our mural campaign is centered around connecting communities and the Corridor to cultivate Corridor pride.

Alyssa Marie completed a Corridor themed mural during 2022 SHINE Mural Festival in Downtown St Petersburg. It was a joy to reconnect with her on the Corridor Connect mini mural. The completed painting will travel to future events to inspire Floridians to keep the Corridor Connected.

Reconnecting to Wild Florida

Growing up in rural, central Florida, Mason Gravely got to experience bits and pieces of undeveloped Florida. With eyes open after moving away for college, Gravley got to experience the natural wonders of the west coast such as the Grand Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks, and Mt. Rainier. Moving back to Florida with his family in 2020, Gravley made plans with two close friends to stay connected to each other and to reconnect to Florida’s quickly disappearing natural environment.

  • Mason Gravley, Lead Adventurer, Athletic Brewing/Adventure Sports Podcast

The Planet Walker

John Francis’ environmental work began in 1971, when he witnessed a tanker collision and oil spill in San Francisco Bay. It was then that he gave up the use of motorized vehicles and began to walk. He started walking because he felt partly responsible for the mess that washed up on the shore. Join us to hear his incredible story and vision for the future.

  • Dr. John Francis, Author, United Nations Environmental Program’s Goodwill Ambassador

A Love Story

Dynamic storyteller, Gabriela Tejeda, shares her journey to use photography, film and exhibitions to immerse people in the Everglades.

  • Gabriela Tejeda, Editorial and Content Coordinator, the Nature Conservancy; 2023 National Geographic Young Explorer, 2023 Jackson Wild LatinX Media Lab Fellow

Beyond H2O: Water as a Human Bond

Cynthia Barnett is an award-winning environmental author and journalist who has reported on water and climate change around the world. Her latest book, The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans, was named one of the best science books of the year by NPR’s Science Friday, and one of the best nonfiction books of the year by Kirkus Reviews, the Tampa Bay Times and others.

  • Cynthia Barnett, Director of Climate and Environment Reporting Initiatives, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications

Gaming to Engage with Wildlife

Gautam Shah is the founder of Internet of Elephants, a social enterprise that develops groundbreaking digital tools to engage people with wildlife. Shah hopes to catalyze whole new approaches to engaging the public with wildlife.

  • Gautam Shah, Founder, Internet of Elephants, National Geographic Fellow, TED Fellow

We are the Story We Tell Ourselves

Dustin Angell is an environmental educator and conservation photographer living and working in the Headwaters of Florida’s Everglades. As Archbold Biological Station’s Program Director of Education, he builds community relationships and interprets ecological research for audiences of all ages, often by combining discovery-based outdoor education with the creative use of technology and the arts.

  • Dustin Angell, Program Director of Education, Archbold Biological Station

Future of Corridors Across the Americas

Navigate the complex challenges and opportunities that the Corridor Movement presents globally and the pivotal role of local communities in cultivating networks that make vision a reality. Expand your horizons as we set the stage for exploring corridors that transcend borders and spark inspiration to embark on grander, collective ventures right here in Florida.

  • Beth Pratt, California Regional Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation

  • Katie Allen, Director of Landscape Conservation, Appalachian Trail Conservancy

  • Bob Bendick, Director, Gulf of Mexico Program, The Nature Conservancy

  • Tori Linder, Conservationist, Path of the Panther

Charting the Path Forward

Hear from thought leaders as they share unique perspectives, emerging themes, and insights gleaned from our time together; highlighting actionable takeaways that will propel ecology + economy for a better Florida.

  • Hilary Swain, Executive Director, Archbold Biological Station

  • Andrew Walker, President and CEO, Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida

  • Debi Osborne, Director of Land Protection, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

PROJECT SPOTLIGHT

Innovation Corridor

The innovation Corridor showcased creative, innovative, and novel solutions for Corridor protection.

Businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and students demonstrated cutting edge projects using Extended Reality, remote camera trap technology, educational tools and much more!

Participants included Archbold Biological Station, the Balmoral Group, City of Orlando Office of Sustainability and Resilience, Common Ground Ecology, Florida Department of Transportation, fStop Foundation, Museum of Discovery and Science, the Ocean Conservancy, Planetlines, UF Center for Landscape Planning, and ZooTampa.