Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation

Florida Conservation Leaders Unite to Commemorate Inaugural Florida Wildlife Corridor Day

Conservation Florida, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation and Wildpath host Florida Wildlife Corridor Day and Wild Florida Legislative Reception to celebrate conservation in Sunshine State

Alex Freeze

Tallahassee, Fla. (Feb. 13, 2024) — Yesterday, Conservation Florida, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation and Wildpath — dynamic leaders in conservation — gathered in the Florida State Capitol to host the inaugural Florida Wildlife Corridor Day and the third Wild Florida Legislative Reception.

The groups were joined by conservationists from around the state, including land trusts, nonprofits, agency partners, artists, philanthropists, and legislative leaders. They spent the day on the plaza level of the Capitol Rotunda directly engaging with the in community, spreading awareness and excitement for the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

That evening, the inaugural Florida Wildlife Corridor Day culminated in the Wild Florida Legislative Reception on the 22nd floor, overlooking the Capitol city.

The audience heard special remarks from Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, House Speaker Paul Renner, Secretary of Environmental Protection Shawn Hamilton, Senator Jason Brodeur, Conservation Florida CEO Traci Deen, FWCF CEO Mallory Dimmit, and National Geographic photographer Carlton Ward Jr.

Senate Resolution 1818, introduced by Sen. Brodeur, recognized Feb. 12, 2024, as Florida Wildlife Corridor Day — a day to celebrate and reaffirm the importance of the Florida Wildlife Corridor and its significant environmental, cultural, economic, and tourism value.

“It is important to make sure that we embed in our legislative memory the importance of the Florida Wildlife Corridor and funding for conservation lands,” said Senate President Passidomo. “I want to make sure it’s embedded in our hearts and minds. That’s the Florida Wildlife Corridor — don’t touch it.”

The Florida Wildlife Corridor, stretching over 18 million acres, generates more than $30 billion in revenue annually and stimulates roughly 100,000 jobs in the state of Florida. Since the passing of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act in 2021, more than 160,000 acres have been approved for protection.

“A conserved, statewide corridor is a vision and a common conservation goal that has brought all of us together — it’s empowering and truly exciting,” said Conservation Florida CEO and President Traci Deen. “Conservation Florida looks forward to continued partnership and completing critical land acquisitions to save our special places. To say we’re grateful to our state’s leaders and the many partners and land conservation practitioners making this vision a reality is an understatement.”

Carlton Ward Jr., acclaimed National Geographic photographer and long-time Florida Wildlife Corridor advocate, curated an exclusive collection for the inaugural day.

“I can’t describe it to go back to these protected properties,” Ward remembers his uncle taking him to a wild Floridian ranch. “Think about the amount of change that’s happened in one man’s lifetime and the living heritage that exists. There’s this inspiration to go on and tell these stories.”

Florida legislators have allocated roughly $2 billion over the past three years to environmental protection, and Sec. Hamilton said he anticipates continued momentum through 2024.

“We are a national leader in land conservation. People are striving to do what we do,” said FDEP Secretary Hamilton. “I couldn’t be prouder of the partnerships that allow us to accomplish that.”

Conservation Florida, the Florida Wildlife Corridor and Wildpath were three of many partners present in the Capitol Monday advocating for land and wildlife protection.

“There was so much to celebrate during Florida Wildlife Corridor Day, including the twenty dedicated organizations that showcased the corridor at the Capitol today,” said Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation CEO Mallory Dimmitt. “The progress for this movement wouldn’t be possible without the unwavering support of our legislators and their commitment to funding that has boosted land acquisition programs and energized hundreds of partners to collectively accelerate the pace of conservation in Florida.”

CONTACT:
Sarah Shepard
Conservation Florida
636-734-5509
Sarah@conservationfla.org

About Conservation Florida:

Conservation Florida is a statewide accredited land conservancy working to conserve Florida’s water, wildlife, wild places, and protect the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Since its founding in 1999, Conservation Florida has prioritized strategic and evidence-based land protection and has saved more than 35,000 acres of critical habitat. To learn more, visit conservationfla.org.

About the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation:

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation champions a collaborative campaign to permanently connect, protect and restore the Florida Wildlife Corridor – a statewide network of connected lands and waters that supports wildlife and people. The organization uses rich storytelling, rooted in science, to heighten the visibility of the Florida Wildlife Corridor and inspire protection of the missing links in the Corridor. To learn more, visit floridawildlifecorridor.org or connect on social media @floridawildlifecorridor.

About Wildpath:

Wildpath’s mission is to inspire the appreciation and protection of wild places. We seek to tell powerful stories that raise awareness of
conservation issues that inspire policy makers, businesses, communities, and citizens to take action.

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