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The Deep Dive Blog

Diving deeper into the story

It’s Almost Florida WildQuest Time!

By: Kyle Grammatica Grab some water, sunscreen, and your smartphone, and get ready for a one-of-a-kind scavenger hunt around Florida! From May 1st to May 9th, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting Florida WildQuest, a unique scavenger hunt for all ages at Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) around the state. The smartphone-based […]

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Florida’s Latest Invasive Species

By: Kyle Grammatica The Sunshine State has a new invasive species to worry about: zebra mussels. Zebra mussels are native to Southeastern Europe. They have triangular brownish shells that are striped; they typically grow no bigger than an inch in size. Zebra mussels are considered one of the most troublesome invasive species in the United […]

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Spring, and Pollination, are in the Air

By: Kyle Grammatica Spring is here and birds, bees, and butterflies are in the air. That means it’s time for pollination! Insects, birds, and bats transfer pollen to flowers of the same species, leading to seed and fruit production. Pollination is essential not only for plants, but also humans since it creates food, fibers, spices, […]

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Turning Tampa Bay Kids from iPhones to Archery

“Nature is a tool to get children to experience not just the wider world, but themselves.” – Stephen Moss Cloud Nine Outdoors (CNO) founder Jovan McNeill lives this quote every day, working to bring life-changing outdoor experiences to youth in the Tampa Bay Area. McNeill comes from a long line of anglers. His great-grandmother taught […]

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Meet Conservation Champion Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith is the guy who roots for the home team. After moving from Massachusetts five years ago, Florida became his new home team, and he committed to its success. With roots in the Sunshine State, he experienced Florida’s iconic manatees, birds, and other wildlife at a young age. And while he was always supportive […]

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Florida Black Bear Tips

By: Kyle Grammatica Spring is the perfect time to explore wild Florida! While you’re planning springtime trips and shaking off the winter blues, so are Florida black bears. While Florida black bears are not true hibernators, they do enter a state of lethargy in the winter. This winter laziness is called torpor and is brought […]

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Invasive Algae in the Home of Mermaids

By: Kyle Grammatica Suck it! That’s the thought the Friends of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park had when contemplating solutions to their algae problem. For years, volunteers and staff at Weeki Wachee have been combatting Lyngbya, an invasive algae threatening to take over the world-famous springs. Lyngbya algae feeds on excess nutrients resulting from runoff in […]

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Removing Barriers for New Hunters

By: Kyle Grammatica Hunting can have many barriers to first-timers, especially women: where to go, how to shoot, what are the rules. The Gator Gobblers, a chapter of The National Wild Turkey Federation in Alachua County, were established in 2011 by Missie Schneider to address these barriers along with conserving wild turkeys and America’s hunting […]

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Florida’s Newest Scarecrows

By: Kyle Grammatica When you picture a scarecrow do you see a straw body dressed in tattered clothes used to protect farms from birds? Northeast Florida now has a new type of scarecrow to protect imperiled birds thanks to a $45,517 grant from the Foundation. These scarecrows (or crow effigies) are previously deceased crows placed […]

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Making Silver Springs Accessible to All

A grandmother ushers a group of children to the ramp, excited to board one of the iconic glass-bottom boats and share the wonders of Silver Springs. Instead of disembarking full of a new appreciation for nature, the group leaves disappointed. The reason: the boat could not accommodate the grandmother’s wheelchair. We’re helping the Florida State […]

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Helping Panthers Through Trail Therapy

Steve Fugate is practicing trail therapy. After losing his son to suicide and daughter to an accidental overdose, the Vero Beach, Florida native started walking to escape his pain. But walking in nature did more than provide an escape, it taught him lessons about grief, healing and mental health. He’s using this wisdom to help […]

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Gumbo Competition Funds Youth Fishing

Captain Butch Finnigan Jr., Captain Tom Van Horn, and Jay Herrington share a passion for fishing and great food. Over a decade ago they combined their interests to create the non-profit Gumbo Wars, Inc. (formerly Gumbopalooza) to host an annual gumbo cook-off  competition that funds youth angling events. The Gumbo Wars competition occurs every October […]

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Everglades Ecosystems Find a New Champion

By: Kyle Grammatica Cypress trees, sponges, and eelgrass, oh my! These are all part of exciting restoration projects underway thanks to a $100,000 grant from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. The largest of these projects is sponge restoration in Florida Bay. As recently as the 1980s, Florida Bay held the greatest concentration of […]

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Supporting a Mosaic of Conservation Needs

By: Kyle Grammatica In September 2020 The Mosaic Company teamed up with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Foundation to tackle pressing conservation needs. Mosaic’s grant of over $25,000 marks a full decade of Mosaic support for the Foundation, said President and CEO Andrew Walker. “Mosaic has been one of our […]

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My Cause, My Cleats

By: Kyle Grammatica Even though the Miami Dolphins missed a playoff spot, you can clinch custom Dolphins gear while supporting the Foundation! My Cause My Cleats Miami Dolphin’s defensive tackle Zach Sieler chose the Foundation for the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats program. My Cause My Cleats gives players the opportunity to represent a cause […]

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New Faces on the Foundation Board

By: Kyle Grammatica The Foundation recently welcomed Robert A. Spottswood Jr., Francisco Bergaz, and Joshua Kellam to its Board of Directors. Robert A. Spottswood Jr. Spottswood holds a law degree from NOVA Southeastern University and has spent his professional career working at the intersection of law and real estate, including environmental resource permitting. In addition […]

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One Wild Year

It’s almost the end of one wild year, which means you’re hearing a lot from non-profits asking for donations. Here are a few reasons why you should donate, and donate to us. 1. It can help lower your tax bill.  Did you know that for the remainder of the year, your gift of $300 or […]

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Give with Confidence

By: Kyle Grammatica The Foundation has just earned a “Give with Confidence” 100/100 rating from Charity Navigator, the largest charity evaluator in America. This rating is given to organizations with strong financial health and ongoing accountability and transparency. Our rating of 100/100 is a testament to our effectiveness as a nonprofit and is further validation […]

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Hunt for a Cause

By: Kyle Grammatica Whether you’re a turkey tracker or a quick quail shot, we have you covered on our A Night for Nature online auction open now through December 5th at 10pm! Gilchrist Club Turkey Hunt Enjoy two nights for two guests in a pristine lakeside cabin at the exclusive Gilchrist Club in Trenton, Florida. […]

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Take a Unique Trip to Key West

By: Kyle Grammatica Relax by the pristine waters off Key West, sip a cold drink, and enjoy the gentle rumble of the waves after spending the day on a private fishing charter. If that sounds like an ideal vacation to you, then bid in our A Night for Nature auction from November 30th at 7am […]

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Hunt Pythons and Fund Conservation

By: Kyle Grammatica Slithering through the Everglade’s river of grass, you spot one: an invasive Burmese python. You stop in your tracks. You just bagged a 10-foot constrictor and helped remove one of the largest threats to south Florida’s biodiversity. If that sounds like your kind of fun, then you need to bid in our […]

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Conserving Wild Florida

By: Kyle Grammatica The Foundation and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently partnered to purchase a substantial parcel of land in Gulf County within the Apalachicola River and Bay watershed area. The 578-acre property is over five times the size of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, and like the theme park, it will be open […]

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Making Traps More Bear-able

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) had a problem that gave them paws. A poster child for conservation success, Florida’s once threatened black bear population now roams over half the state. With 21 million Florida residents and numerous visitors, FWC needed to address growing interactions between the 4,000 bears in the state and […]

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Stand with Wild Florida

By: Kyle Grammatica What do you love most about the Florida outdoors? The incredible variety of wild species? The expansive waterways and unique landscapes? The endless recreational opportunities? Whatever it is, we are committed to helping you support it. Since our founding in 1994, we have donated more than $45 million for conservation and outdoor […]

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Gators, Gals, and Guns

By: Kyle Grammatica We love introducing novices to the joys of hunting and shooting sports! In a recent $2,000 grant, we funded a day of firearm and archery training at the University of Florida. The Gators, Gals, and Guns event was held in spring 2019 at the Gator Skeet and Trap Club in Gainesville. University […]

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Beware of Florida’s Puss Catepillars

By: Kyle Grammatica While you may not be familiar with the native southern flannel moth, you might have heard of its larvae: the puss caterpillar. At an inch long, the puss caterpillar is one of the most venomous in the country. The caterpillar is covered in hair-like bristles with an orange streak frequently running down […]

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New Tool in the Fight Against Lionfish

By: Kyle Grammatica Thanks to University of Florida researchers, we may have a new tool in the fight against invasive lionfish: the Gittings trap. Their research, published in August in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, highlights an inexpensive and simply designed trap that captures lionfish while leaving native fish unaffected. The Gittings trap is named […]

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Preserving Florida’s Springs

By: Kyle Grammatica In a recent ceremony held at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis committed $3.7 million to improve the spring’s water quality. The funds will be used for enhancements at the nearby Glen Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant to reduce nutrients like nitrogen in the water supply. “The springs of Florida […]

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Conservation Partner Profile: The Mosaic Company

The Tampa-based The Mosaic Company has been a strong supporter of conservation in Florida for many years as the world’s leading integrated producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash. It employs more than 13,000 people in six countries and participates in every aspect of crop nutrition development. Its operations extend from the mine to […]

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Cracking Down on Invasives

By: Kyle Grammatica Tourists from all over the world come to enjoy the beauty of Florida, but the state’s invasive animal visitors have outstayed their welcome. These nonnative animals can take over ecosystems and cause significant losses in biodiversity. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is seeking public feedback from all interested parties […]

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Supporting Wild Florida from Around the World

Wild Florida attracts millions of visitors each year from around the world. Whether it’s relaxing on sandy beaches, diving into clear springs, or searching for animals only found in the Sunshine State, there is something for everyone to fall in love with. Many visitors are inspired by the state’s natural wonders to donate to the […]

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Sharing Old Skills with a New Generation

By: Kyle Grammatica One Florida organization is sharing moves you can’t learn via TikTok. Florida Frontiersmen Inc. (FFI) was founded in 1972 with the mission of preserving the skills of early American settlers. It began as a black powder gun club, but quickly expanded to include traditional archery and hawk and knife throwing. The Foundation […]

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Getting Creative for Conservation

By: Kyle Grammatica Darrell Thompson, a resident of Pasco County, knew he needed a creative solution to save the gopher tortoises in his neighborhood. Thompson enjoys observing Florida’s wildlife on his daily walks, especially the nearby gopher tortoises. He became concerned when an underground construction company began encroaching on the tortoise’s burrows. Despite his efforts […]

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Shark Week is Here

By: Kyle Grammatica It’s Shark Week! To celebrate, let’s examine the critical role sharks play in the ecosystem and learn more about some of Florida’s native shark species. The Importance of Sharks Sharks are apex predators at the top of their respective food chain. They regulate all other levels of the food chain, ensuring balance […]

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Species Spotlight: Florida Panther

Donate The puma once had the largest range of any land mammal in the Americas. The species was well adapted to a variety of habitats from forests to deserts, mountains to rainforests. Today, pumas are found in only half of their historic range, primarily in the mountain and desert regions of the western United States. […]

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Solving the Mystery of Blue Holes

By: Kyle Grammatica You’ve heard of black holes in the universe, but what about blue holes in our oceans? Florida researchers are hoping to learn more about these unique formations found in the Gulf of Mexico. Blue holes are thought to be ancient sinkholes created 10,000 years ago when the Florida landmass extended farther into […]

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Impact of Hurricanes on the Environment

By: Kyle Grammatica As the peak of hurricane season nears, it is important to ensure that you and your family are prepared. The impact of hurricanes on our communities is obvious, but their effect on the environment is also profound. Hurricane Fish Kills Hurricanes often lead to an increase in fish kills due to: Changes […]

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Return of the Clam

By: Kyle Grammatica One important project is working to restore lost clam populations from the Indian River Lagoon. Blair Wiggins of Addictive Fishing Television, the Coastal Conservation Association, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and UF’s Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience are planting 3.4 million clams throughout lagoon this year. Clams in the […]

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Florida’s Newest Nature Preserve

By: Kyle Grammatica Exciting news: Florida has a new aquatic preserve! The recently created Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve is the first aquatic preserve designated by Florida lawmakers in 32 years, and the 42nd aquatic preserve established in the state overall. The preserve covers about 800 square miles of Gulf of Mexico coastal waters off Citrus, […]

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Try Scalloping this Holiday Weekend

By: Kyle Grammatica Looking for an outdoor activity for the holiday weekend? Try bay scalloping, it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and snorkeling experience levels. Scalloping Season Information Before you go, it’s important to check the dates for the county you plan on scalloping in. Gulf County: August 16 – September 24 […]

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Manatee swimming near school of fish

Marine Mammal Fund

Donate The Foundation’s Marine Mammal Fund supports the conservation of Florida’s manatees, dolphins, and whales. While some of our marine mammals have seen remarkable population increases over the years, others are still in critical need. By working together, we can ensure that they call Florida home for generations to come. The Inspiring Rebound of Florida […]

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Boy looking through telescope

The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail

Donate By: Kyle Grammatica The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) is a 2,000-mile, self-guided trail designed to conserve Florida’s 490 native species of birds via birdwatching, education, and economic opportunities. The trail, which includes 510 premier wildlife viewing sites across the state,  is supported by the Foundation, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation […]

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Historical Treasures of Northeast Florida

By: Kyle Grammatica Fort Clinch State Park The 1,400-acre Fort Clinch State Park has something for everyone! Whether you’re a history buff, a trail trekker, or a beach lover you’ll find something to enjoy at Fort Clinch State Park. The area that Fort Clinch State Park sits on has been used by Floridians for almost […]

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Natural Wonders of the Panhandle

By: Kyle Grammatica Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park covers over 4,000 acres and protects Florida’s wet prairie habitat. The wet prairie habitat found in the park is home to four species of pitcher plants as well as other rare plants and animals. Visitors can enjoy hiking along the bayou and […]

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Central Florida’s Original Tourist Attraction

By: Kyle Grammatica Wekiwa Springs State Park is home to cool, clear waters and vibrant tropical hammocks. The park contains miles of trails, a variety of campsites, incredible paddling opportunities, and of course, swimming! Wekiwa Springs is 72°F year-round, making in a perfect place to cool down during the summer. It is one of the […]

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The Beauty of Florida’s Nature Coast

By: Kyle Grammatica Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park Land for Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park was purchased on December 31, 1992. Since then, more land has been added to the park through a donation from Pasco County and acquisitions under Preservation 2000 Additions and the Florida Forever Additions and Inholdings programs. Today, Werner-Boyce Salt Springs […]

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Hike Through History

By: Kyle Grammatica Established in 1950, Jonathan Dickinson State Park is the largest state park in Southeast Florida. It covers a variety of habitats, such as coastal sand hills, upland lakes, and scrub forests. The Loxahatchee River runs through the park as well, providing a variety of recreational opportunities like kayaking and fishing. The park’s […]

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Weedon Island Preserve Kayaking

Exploring Tampa Bay

By Kyle Grammatica This week’s #followmeflorida region is the Tampa Bay area. Let’s take a look at some of the bay area’s best natural spots! Weedon Island Weedon Island Preserve is a natural and historical treasure. In 1972 Weedon Island Preserve was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places; two years later the […]

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The Abundance of Florida’s Space Coast

By: Kyle Grammatica Florida’s Space Coast has an abundance of parks, preserves, and wildlife refuges to explore! Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1963 as an overlay of NASA’s John F Kennedy Space Center for the protection of migratory birds. The refuge consists of 140,000 acres covering a […]

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#followmeflorida: The Florida Keys

By: Kyle Grammatica The Florida Keys are an amazing source of natural beauty. The breathtaking scenery and unique flora and fauna make it a place all outdoor enthusiasts can appreciate! The Florida Keys have several parks and preserves that protect the majesty of the area. Let’s take a look at some of them! John Pennekamp […]

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Bringing Nature Education to Students

By: Kyle Grammatica Some creative teachers in Pinellas County have found a way to bring nature education to students during the stay at home order. Science resource teachers Martyne LaDuke and Ginger Rehm have started a series of videos called “Life Science at a Social Distance.” These videos give kids who are stuck at home […]

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Florida’s Sea Turtles Benefit from Empty Beaches

By: Kyle Grammatica While COVID-19 keeps us at home, sea turtles are taking advantage of the empty shores. The beach shutdowns are giving our endangered sea turtle species more opportunities to nest, which could lead to a needed increase in population. Sea Turtle Nesting and Human Presence Researchers like Justin Perrault, Director of Research at […]

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Finding Nature Near You

By: Kyle Grammatica As we do our part to flatten the COVID-19 curve, you may miss enjoying the outdoors. Luckily, there are ways to experience Florida’s wildlife around your home! Creating a Backyard Refuge If you have a backyard, there are many opportunities to observe native species like birds, small mammals, lizards, and snakes. You […]

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Women in Science: FWRI’s Stephanie Schopmeyer

Scientist Stephanie Schopmeyer has always loved nature and being outdoors. Her academic career focused on the complexity of corals, leading to a position with NOAA as a coral reef ecologist in Hawaii. With NOAA she monitored the coral reefs around Hawaii and other Pacific Islands for changes in their ecosystems and overall health. She loved […]

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Women in Science: FWRI’s Brittany Barbeau

Marine Mammal Biologist Brittany Barbeau started her path to FWRI in Montreal, Canada while attending McGill University. Brittany joined Mote Marine Laboratory after college to work with their stranding investigation program, followed by a stranding technician position at the Virginia Aquarium prior to joining FWRI three years ago. Brittany’s primarily responds to injured, sick, and […]

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Women in Science: FWRI’s Dr. Jan Landsberg

Research Scientist Dr. Jan Landsberg has always had an inquisitive mind and an interest in biology. After completing her degrees in her home country of England, she worked in a fish disease lab in Israel. After a stop at the University of North Carolina, she began working for FWC over 30 years ago. Jan has […]

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Women in Science: FWRI’s Kathleen Gibbons

Kathleen Gibbons has been fascinated with geography since early adulthood. She liked the broad scope of the subject and the great variety of topics she could investigate. After completing college, Kathleen worked for the National Wetlands Inventory for 10 years, which introduced her to computer mapping via geographic information system (GIS). GIS is a framework […]

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Women in Science: FWRI’s Anna Panike

Marine Mammal Biologist Anna Panike always wanted to work with animals. Early in her career, Anna worked at the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center (NMMC) in California. While there, she helped with seal and sea lion rescue and rehabilitation. After her time at the NMMC, Anna joined FWRI where she now gets to work with her […]

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Daphne and C. Martin Wood III

Conservation Spotlight: Daphne and C. Martin Wood III

Daphne and C. Martin “Marty” Wood III share a lifelong passion for nature and traditional outdoor sports and are determined to pass it on to new generations. Although Daphne grew up in the South and Marty in the North in the 1950s, their childhoods were united by an exploration of the outdoors. Marty was raised […]

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Women in Science: FWRI’s Lindsay Huebner

Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) Researcher Lindsay Huebner has combined her love of the ocean with her passion for solving environmental science puzzles throughout her education and career. Her graduate thesis project focused on corkscrew sea anemones and a cleaner shrimp which associates with them. These anemones and shrimp form “cleaning stations,” where the […]

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Florida’s Shrinking Oysters

By: Kyle Grammatica A study published recently in the journal Biology Letters shows that Florida’s oysters have undergone a substantial size reduction over time. In prehistoric times, the oysters found in the Crystal River area would grow up to 7 inches long; now their typical size is 4 ½ inches long maximum. The study was […]

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A Night For Nature Logo

Foundation Honors Two Conservation Icons

By: Kyle Grammatica The Foundation’s annual gala A Night for Nature is fast approaching! This year’s event honors two conservation icons: Paul Tudor Jones and Jack Nicklaus. Paul Tudor Jones has been a giant in conservation for over three decades, focusing particularly on Florida. Along with George Barley, Jones founded the Everglades Foundation in 1995 […]

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Palms & Trees Osceola National Forest

Florida’s Smallest National Forest

By: Kyle Grammatica Osceola National Forest is Florida’s northernmost and smallest national forest. Within the forest’s 200,000 acres there are unique habitats like the Pinhook Swamp, a wet pine flatwood and pocosin swamp found on the northern end of the forest. There is also Big Gum Swamp, a wilderness area with over 13,000 acres of […]

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Southeastern American Kestrel

Species Spotlight: Southeastern American Kestrel

The Southeastern American kestrel is the smallest falcon found in the United States. It has a brownish back area with black markings and a white belly, and black marks extending from its eyes downward. The colors of their wings differ depending on the bird’s sex. Male kestrels have bluish-gray wings and females have brown wings. […]

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A Night For Nature Logo

Auction Sneak Peek

By: Kyle Grammatica The Foundation is hosting our annual gala, A Night for Nature, on April 3rd, 6pm at the Pelican Club in Jupiter, Florida. This year we are honoring the lifetime conservation efforts of Jack Nicklaus and Paul Tudor Jones. A Night for Nature celebrates and supports the conservation of Florida’s incredible natural beauty […]

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Invasive Fish

New Invasive Invades Florida’s Waters

By: Kyle Grammatica A new invasive fish species has been identified in Florida called the chanchita, a subtropical fish native to Southern Brazil. For many years chanchitas were misidentified as a similar looking nonnative fish, the black acara. Chanchitas (Cichlasoma dimerus) are freshwater fish currently present in seven counties and five river drainages in Florida. […]

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Two endangered whales

Florida’s Role in Protecting Endangered Whales

Donate By: Kyle Grammatica Did you know that Florida is home to migratory whales? One of these whale species is the endangered North Atlantic right whale, which comes to Florida in the winter and spring to give birth to their calves. Volunteers searching for right whales spotted a mother and calf on New Year’s Day […]

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Big Talbot Island State Park beach

Explore Big Talbot Island State Park

By: Kyle Grammatica Big Talbot Island State Park is located on one of northeast Florida’s sea islands. It was home to some of Florida’s oldest human inhabitants, the Timucua people. Evidence of their occupation can be found from shell middens, ancient trash piles of oyster shell and food refuse found throughout the island. By the […]

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Bird on branch

Counting Florida’s Birds this Christmas

By: Kyle Grammatica Birds play an important, and often overlooked, role in Florida’s ecosystem. Some keep other species of animals and insects in check, others act as pollinators or planters, and some like vultures are important in the decomposing process of animals. If you’re interested in participating in research that will directly benefit these wonderful […]

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Two women holding python

Are You Ready for Python Bowl?

By: Kyle Grammatica Floridians have two very exciting events coming to the Miami-Dade area next year: Super Bowl and the Python Bowl! The Python Bowl is a Burmese python hunting competition set to start January 10th, 2020. It was recently announced by Governor DeSantis, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. The competition is designed to […]

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Fish around coral reef

Encouraging Coral Resiliency

By: Kyle Grammatica Florida’s coral reefs are immensely important. They are sanctuaries for hundreds of marine species, including many that are rare and at-risk. Unfortunately, they are also under threat. Luckily, various partners are addressing these threats head-on, including the University of Miami. Scientists with the University of Miami are trying to create climate change […]

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Heron standing in water

Get Ready for #GivingTuesday

By: Kyle Grammatica This year’s Giving Tuesday is right around the corner: Tuesday, December 3rd. In preparation, let’s take a look at the Giving Tuesday movement and its history! Giving Tuesday was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y (Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association) in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. […]

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Palm trees in Florida forest

When Development and Conservation Meet

By: Kyle Grammatica The goals of land developers and environmentalists are often at ends. However, with the right people working together, compromises can be made that satisfy both groups. This was recently the case in Pasco County, where 843 acres were purchased from housing developers for conservation. Pasco Country recently approved its largest ever environmental […]

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Small blue bird on branch

Florida’s Rare Habitat

By: Kyle Grammatica Florida is home to a number of unique ecosystems that contain elusive plants and animals. Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park is one prime example. The 8,000 acre park sits atop the ancient Lake Wales Ridge and features Florida’s increasingly rare scrub and sandhill habitats. The park provides critical habitat […]

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Young girl in marine lab

A Special Perspective on FWRI

By: Caroline McKeel I thought that my trip to the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) was an amazing experience for a kid who loves the ocean! My favorite part was learning about the animals that are preserved in the collections. My favorite animal there was the hammerhead shark head because I had never seen […]

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Illustration of Florida Panther

Conserving Nature with Brushstrokes

By: Kyle Grammatica Based in Florida, Gail Powell is self-taught artist and cartoonist that uses her art to bring attention to the alarming amount of endangered species in the world. She started drawing cartoons when she was in elementary school and based the style of them on Looney Tunes and Disney characters. While in college, […]

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Yellow Cardinal

A Rare Bird Sighting in the Sunshine State

By: Kyle Grammatica Florida is home to an incredible variety of plants and animals, including rare and elusive species like the Miami blue butterfly and the Florida bonneted bat. Sometimes, striking variations of common animals can be spotted as well. Such was the case when a yellow northern cardinal was spotted in Florida this week. […]

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Florida Panther standing in grass

Good News Hidden in Panther Genes

Donate By: Kyle Grammatica The Florida panther, our state animal, is dear to our hearts. Its striking appearance wows those fortunate enough to spot one, and its fight to avoid extinction shows the powerful impact conservation work has. Read on to learn more about the Florida panther’s astounding story and the recent work being done […]

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Colf cart on trailer

Making Nature Accessible to All

By: Kyle Grammatica One of the great things about nature is that it’s for everyone. You can enjoy the happy singing of songbirds and the low croaks of frogs no matter who you are. Florida’s radiant sun shines on everyone equally. However, some of Florida’s wildlife areas are difficult to access for mobility impaired people. […]

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People swimming in Florida spring

Celebrate National Public Lands Day in a Florida Park

By: Kyle Grammatica September 28th is National Public Lands Day, a holiday created to celebrate our amazing parks and wildlife preserves. To honor the holiday, let’s take a dive into the refreshing waters of Florida’s Edward Ball Wakulla State Park, a natural and historic wonder. Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is a 6,00-acre wildlife […]

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Two dolphins swimming

Microplastics and You

By: Kyle Grammatica Hidden beneath Florida’s picturesque waves is a huge problem. Microplastics have found their way into our oceans and while their effects on people are not fully known, research has shown them to be a threat to marine life. Microplastics are small pieces of plastic measuring 1/8 inch or less. They can be […]

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Black Bear standing on garbage can

Living with Wildlife

By: Kyle Grammatica We all love Florida’s wildlife. Experiencing the wide variety of unique plants and animals in our state is one of the best things about living here. Sometimes, though, animals like the black bear can create problems for the people who live near them. Florida’s black bears can rummage through trashcans and wander […]

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Two women firing hunting rifle

Making Shooting Education More Accessible

By: Kyle Grammatica The Foundation recently provided grant funding for two outdoor education programs: the Lakeland-based Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) and Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW). These programs introduce children, teenagers, and women to outdoor shooting sports and hunting. The YHEC program has about 52 members while BOW has around 80 new participants every […]

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Big Shoals State Park

Explore Big Shoals State Park

By: Kyle Grammatica Big Shoals State Park is another example of Florida’s countless wonders. The contrast between the tranquil flow of the Suwannee River and the powerful whipping water of Big Shoals rapids showcases the power and beauty of nature. Ancient geology, 80 ft. limestone bluffs, and the remains of human settlements are found throughout […]

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Florida palm trees against blue sky

Florida’s Palms Under Threat

By: Kyle Grammatica When you picture Florida, you likely see waves rolling onto soft sand, birds chirping in the woods, and turtles quietly poking their heads out of the water. All of these serene images would be incomplete without our state’s most iconic tree: the palm tree. But a lethal disease is threatening palm trees […]

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People in water helping beached Pilot Whale

Why Do Whales Beach Themselves?

By: Kyle Grammatica Thanks to the hard work of professionals and volunteers, all the pilot whales from the July mass stranding on Redington Beach, Florida were saved. When these mass strandings occur, we wonder why. While whale beachings are still not fully understood, there is research that helps us understand some of the causes. Why […]

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Man and boy wearing hunting gear

Hunting’s Role in Conservation

By: Kyle Grammatica Florida is fortunate to have a rich outdoor heritage. We have amazing fishing locations and one of the most diverse populations of game species and wildlife areas. Our heritage is truly something worth preserving, and by complying with changing hunting and fishing policies we can ensure that animal populations are kept at […]

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florida coast line

Red Tide Refresher

By: Kyle Grammatica Our oceans are full of microscopic organisms that play an important role in the ecosystem. However, when these microorganisms get too plentiful, they can cause dangerous algal blooms that harm humans and ocean life. One type of harmful algal bloom that frequently occurs in the Gulf of Mexico is red tide. Read […]

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Trees growing in the Everglades

Florida’s Unique Treasure

By: Kyle Grammatica The History of Everglades National Park Everglades National Park is one of Florida’s most treasured natural areas. It is the largest piece of tropical wilderness in the United States and one of the largest national parks as well. The Everglades are an essential sanctuary for 36 of Florida’s protected species and an […]

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grasshopper sparrow

Species Spotlight: The Florida Grasshopper Sparrow

Donate The Florida grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus) is a nonmigratory subspecies of the grassland sparrow and is found only on the dry prairies of south-central Florida. The song of the Florida grasshopper sparrow sounds much like that of a grasshopper, which is where it gets its name. Males only sing a few hours a […]

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Newly hatched sea turtles in sand

How You Can Help Sea Turtles

By: Kyle Grammatica Nesting season, from the beginning of May to the end of October, is an important time of year for Florida’s endangered sea turtle species. Around 90% of sea turtles in the United States make their nests on Florida’s beaches. It’s very important that precautions are taken to protect these vulnerable animals and […]

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Children watching video in classroom

Manatees Receive Support from the Arizona Desert

By: Kyle Grammatica For the second year in a row, the first grade class at Diamond Canyon School in the Phoenix suburb of Anthem, Arizona organized a fundraiser to help protect Florida manatees. The class raised nearly $700, up from $435 last year, demonstrating that anyone can make a difference no matter your age or […]

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Manatee Springs

The Spring State

By: Kyle Grammatica  Florida has been blessed with incredible wildlife, most notably the state’s unique springs. These stunning reservoirs of crystal-clear, cool water provide people, plants, and animals with essential resources. Manatees use the springs for winter retreats, bears feed on the fish, and people use them as a source of water and recreation. Florida’s […]

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Man riding horse

A Life Dedicated to Conservation

Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida Board Chair Richard A. “Dick” Corbett has spent his life conserving nature and supporting our country’s outdoor heritage. Growing up in Rochester, NY by Lake Ontario, he credits his father, Donald Corbett, for instilling a life-long love of the nature in him and his siblings. An avid outdoorsman, Donald […]

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Highlands Hammock State Park boardwalk

Highlands Hammock State Park: Making a Difference

By: Kyle Grammatica Have you ever wondered what your neighborhood used to look like? If so, take a trip to Highlands Hammock State Park and walk through history. This beautiful park lets you experience the natural wonder of Florida and is a great reminder of how successful grassroots conservation movements can be.   The History […]

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Kyle Miller reeling in catch on boat

Gulf Red Snapper Season Underway

By: Kyle Grammatica A great way to enjoy Florida’s oceans is through fishing, and with the 2019 gulf red snapper season officially underway, what better time to go? The 2019 gulf red snapper season opened June 11th and will last through July 12th. It may reopen in the fall if there is enough stock available. […]

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iguana in grass

Report Invasive Species

By: Kyle Grammatica Florida is accustomed to tourists, but some plant and animal visitors outstay their welcome. These nonnative species create big problems for the people and animals that call the Sunshine State home. Invasive Species in Florida Over 500 nonnative species have been introduced to Florida. While not all of these nonnative species cause […]

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lion fish

A Fun Way to Make a Difference

By: Kyle Grammatica May 18th was Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, marking the beginning of the 2019 Lionfish Challenge. The Lionfish Challenge is a statewide program run by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to encourage the removal of lionfish from Florida’s waters. Both recreational and commercial divers can participate in the challenge. […]

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Weedon Island Preserve Kayaking

Explore Where Nature Meets History

By: Kyle Grammatica Weedon Island Preserve is a natural and historical treasure of Florida. In 1972 Weedon Island Preserve was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and two years later the state of Florida purchased the land and surrounding islands and opened it for public use as a nature preserve. The name Weedon […]

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It’s Blueberry Picking Season!

By: Kyle Grammatica It is officially blueberry picking season in Florida! Learn about blueberries, their history in Florida, and how to pick your own. Florida Blueberry History Blueberries have been growing in the wild for hundreds of years in Florida, but it wasn’t until the late 1960’s that they became a success for the Florida […]

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Guide Star Seals Platinum Logo

Foundation Receives Guidestar’s Highest Rating

The Foundation just earned a 2019 platinum seal by adding information to our nonprofit profile on GuideStar. By sharing these important metrics, we’re helping the sector move beyond simplistic financial ratios to assess nonprofit progress. We chose to display quantitative information such as total number of grants awarded, total dollar amount of grants awarded, and […]

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Manatee swimming near school of fish

Experience Florida Wildlife Up Close

By: Kyle Grammatica Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is a safe haven for Florida’s West Indian manatee population. The refuge was established in 1983 as a part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System. It covers 80 acres in total and has 20 islands within the protected area. There are a variety of different […]

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Earth Day 2019: Protect Our Species

By: Kyle Grammatica Do you know how Earth Day started? Read more to learn about how this celebration started, why it is so important, and what you can do to participate. The Santa Barbara Oil Spill In January of 1969, an oil platform off the coast of Santa Barbara, California exploded, spilling more than 21,000 […]

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Two Lovebugs

The Coming Season: Lovebugs

By: Stefani Harrison It’s that time of year again, lovebug season. For a few weeks in April and May each year, an abundance of lovebugs appear across Florida. These small flies are in the same family as gnats and mosquitos (Bibionidae) and are about a quarter inch in size. As you’ve probably guessed, lovebugs get […]

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Bee inside flower

Pollination and the Pollinators

It’s that time of year again: the temperatures are rising as spring arrives. With spring, the much-needed season of pollination begins.

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Person standing near brushfire

Fire and Florida

By: Stefani Harrison Fire can be a destructive force that demolishes homes, decimates forests, and leaves the land feeling desolate and dead. But fire can also be a source of life. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) utilizes fire to help conserve Florida’s wildlife. For at least 12,000 years, fires and forests have coexisted […]

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Black Bear in tree

FWC Ensures that Bear Cubs Get Back to the Wild

By: Nicole Forsgren Information provided by FWC’s Mike Orlando, Bear Management Program Assistant Coordinator Each year, Florida black bear cubs are born in early February. About six months later, most cubs reach approximately 30 pounds, signifying they are doing well. If a bear cub does not reach this weight, it might have suffered some sort […]

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Man showing teenagers a black snake

Snakes and You on National Serpent Day

By: Stefani Harrison Has this ever happened to you? It’s a warm, sunny Florida day and you’re sitting by the pool when you notice a dark, rope-like object moving in the pool. As you get up to examine it, you discover it is a snake. Now what do you do? Benefits of Snakes The state […]

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Blue Green 2018 Fundraiser

A Surprise Gift For Florida Conservation

John L. (Johnny) Morris, conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops, surprised BlueGreen 2018 attendees by announcing a $1 million at the end of his keynote speech. Speaking before an audience of 330 Florida conservationists, anglers and hunters, Mr. Morris reminisced on his childhood and early years in business, his fondness for fishing and his […]

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Man showing young girl deer antler

Your Support Matters

We know there are a lot of requests on your budget. But with #GivingTuesday today, we wanted to remind you that your donation to the Foundation can be as unique as you! If hunting has your heart, we have a fund for encouraging outdoor sports. If you only have eyes for egrets, we have a fund for conserving Florida’s wildlife. […]

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Two people hugging in front of downed tree

Celebrate National Make a Difference Day

By: Nicole Forsgren What better way to celebrate National Make a Difference Day this Saturday than contributing to Hurricane Michael recovery? On October 10, Hurricane Michael roared ashore in the Florida Panhandle. Classified as a category 4 storm with winds reaching 155 miles per hour. It was the third most powerful hurricane to ever hit […]

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Business people having a conversation

BlueGreen 2018 Photos

Thanks to you, BlueGreen 2018 was a huge success! View photos from the event on Saturday, October 27th at Armature Works in Tampa.

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Two men on boat in flooded neighborhood

Foundation Sets Up Fund to Help FWC First Responders and Staff

The nonprofit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida (FWFF) announced today it has created a Hurricane Michael Relief and Recovery Fund to support the first responders and other staff of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

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Bioblitz flyer

Bioblitz: Counting the Corridor

By: Nicole Forsgren Conservation Florida is a nonprofit land trust whose mission is to save Florida’s wild and working landscapes. By working with landowners, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, over 25,000 acres of land are being protected. Along with this goal of protecting Florida’s land, Conservation Florida intends to protect wildlife, natural systems, rural […]

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Bearded man standing near coastline

BlueGreen 2018 Features Two Leading Conservationists

The Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida is honored to showcase two leading conservationists, Johnny Morris of Bass Pro Shops and Shane Mahoney of Conservation Visions at BlueGreen 2018 on Saturday, October 27th at Armature Works in Tampa. Mahoney is an internationally recognized conservationist and wildlife advocate who bridges the gap between our natural heritage and the […]

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FWC Law Enforcement on boat

FWC Provides Important Red Tide Update

Gil McRae, Director of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, gave an important update on the status of red tide in Southwest Florida at the September 2018 Commission Meeting.

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Diver taking notes on coral underwater

Coral Disease Devastating Florida Reefs

In 2014, an unidentified coral tissue loss disease was first observed in Miami-Dade County and quickly spread throughout the northern areas of the Florida Reef Tract (FRT). The disease outbreak continued to slowly and persistently progress south of Miami through the Upper and Middle Keys, reaching the Lower Keys by April 2018. Multiple factors make […]

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Grid with logos and hunting photos

A Conversation with Andy Walker and Eric Sutton

Listen to Eric Sutton, Executive Director of FWC, and Andrew Walker, President and CEO of the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida, address the impacts of the red tide and blue-green algae bloom on fisheries, boating and recreation, and more on BassProShops Outdoor World on SiriusXM’s Rural Radio Channel 147.

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young child shooting a bow and arrow

Celebrating Our Outdoor Heritage

By: Bill O’Connor Hunters and anglers have been vital champions in the conservation of our wildlife and the environment. On the  47th National Hunting and Fishing Day,  we caught up with Kayla Reid, a microbiologist, Florida native, and hunter to discuss why hunting and fishing have been important in her life for over two decades. FWFF: […]

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scientists working with sea creatures

The Importance of Conservation

By: Nicole Forsgren Each individual activity has an impact on the health of the planet. Did you know that shortening the duration of your shower by just five minutes can save 25 gallons of water? When you brush your teeth, do you shut the faucet off? On average, 2.5 gallons of water leave the faucet with […]

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iguana in grass

The Harm of Invasive Species

By: Nicole Forsgren Invasive species are silent killers of biodiverse regions by taking over the habitat. The most avoidable cause for the spread of invasive species is the release of house pets into the wild. The spread of Burmese pythons in the Everglades was a direct result of house pet release. Climate change also contributes […]

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Group gathered taking a picture

Buy Your Tickets Now for BlueGreen 2018

Tickets are on sale and going fast for the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida’s annual fundraiser. BlueGreen 2018 will be held on Saturday, October 27th, 6pm at Armature Works in Tampa. Visit to purchase your tickets now. Don’t miss out on supporting a great cause while having a ball in your black tie and […]

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florida coast line

Red Tide Plaguing Florida’s Waters

By: Nicole Forsgren Although red tide outbreaks are a natural occurrence, their pervasive nature is troubling.  Research is still in the beginning stages, but it has been determined that early detection, along with persistent monitoring of the blooms and a better understanding of environmental factors, may allow the possibility of a safer tomorrow. Karenia brevis […]

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rescuing a manatee

Florida’s Devastating Algal Blooms and Coral Disease

With the Gulf Coast’s red tide outbreak now in its 10th month and blue-green algae plaguing parts of the Southeastern Florida coast, the economic and ecological tolls continue to mount and are now headline news around the world. Governor Scott has declared a state of emergency, and FWC and other state and federal agencies are […]

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Jim holding fish

BlueGreen2018 Features Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO

The Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida (FWFF) is thrilled that Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO, will be the guest of honor and speaker at BlueGreen 2018 on Saturday, October 27th in Tampa. A conservationist at heart, Mr. Morris is one of the country’s leaders working to ensure natural habitats, wildlife, and […]

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wind surfing

Impacting the World of Conservation, One Sock at a Time

By: Nicole Forsgren Brett Putnam, an 18-year-old entrepreneur, has partnered with the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida to help make an impact. Brett has agreed to create wildlife-themed socks, donating 40% of his proceeds to the Foundation. With an interest in finance and a passion for people, Brett is determined to change the lives […]

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