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Sunshine State Steward

Tara Hottenstein moved to Florida in 2007 and has since watched the landscape transform.

Like many who relocate to the Sunshine State, Tara had vacationed here many times as a child, visiting family and sunning on Florida’s beaches. As an adult, her preferred Florida experience didn’t change much.

“That was the main pull, just wanting to be closer to the water, the beaches, the wildlife,” said Tara, who landed in the Tampa Bay area by way of Pennsylvania.

Tara spends her days exploring natural landscapes, birdwatching, and kayaking at Fort De Soto Park. But a few years ago, she noticed a shift in the popular kayaking destination; Tara was shocked by a distinct lack of seagrass, describing the scene as an “underwater desert.”

“It was shocking. It used to be a great place to see manatees and dolphins, chock full of wildlife,” said Tara. “The devastation, oh my gosh…just sand and dirt.”

Tara makes an important observation; seagrass is vital to maintain a healthy marine ecosystem. Eager to rectify the damage to the environment around her, Tara broached the subject with a friend of hers, a Floridian ecologist, who suggested looking into our Foundation.

“You guys had a special program for [seagrass restoration],” said Tara. “I’m not out in the field, but at least I can donate and be part of helping in that way.”

Tara’s weekly recurring gift to our Marine Mammal Fund supports seagrass and eelgrass restoration at nearly a dozen replanting sites. You can join her in supporting these efforts by making a donation today.

“There’s so many unique wild places in Florida and they’re so precious and fragile,” said Tara, “This is a very special place.”

If you’d like to join Tara in saving wild Florida, become a recurring donor today!

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Protecting Wild Florida Begins With You.

Protecting wild Florida begins with you. From Pensacola Bay to Key West, our Foundation is working to protect Florida’s natural lands and waters and the wildlife they harbor.

Help ensure future generations can experience wild Florida by donating now.



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