From panthers to Panhandle lilies, Florida is home to a stunning array of native animals and plants. You can help us provide them with lasting protection.
“Biological diversity” describes the full array of plants, animals, and natural communities (habitats) that make up life on Earth. There are myriad reasons why protecting species and habitats is critical to human welfare, from ensuring the survival of watersheds that provide clean drinking water to maintaining healthy fisheries. Compounds found in plants and animals have hundreds of practical uses in agriculture, chemistry, and medicine. Allowing a species to go extinct is like burning a book without reading it. Once gone, a plant or animal is gone forever.
This wildlife, in turn, depends on the equally rich variety of Florida’s habitats, from relict Appalachian plant communities in temperate north Florida to West Indian tropical forests and coral reefs in the south.
Particularly famous are our “charismatic megafauna” — the American alligator, West Indian manatee, and Florida panther among them. We have 490 species of native birds, from roseate spoonbills, limpkins and caracaras to painted buntings, bald eagles and ospreys. Birdwatching contributes $450 million annually to the state economy while recreational fishing is bigger still, adding a staggering $8 billion a year to the Florida economy.
We are committed to ensuring the lasting conservation of the Sunshine State’s biological diversity. We work closely with FWC and others to protect the full array of native species and habitats. In recent years we have:
- Funded the conservation breeding and release of nearly a thousand Florida grasshopper sparrows.
- Provided funds for communities and homeowners to purchase bear-proof garbage cans.
- In cooperation with the Knopf Family Foundation, helped expand panther rehabilitation facilities at Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park and identify ways of reducing panther-car collisions on south Florida roads.
- Underwrote research on restoration and management of many of Florida’s freshwater springs.
- Funded enhanced monitoring of important Keys fish spawning aggregation sites.
- Supported reintroduction of eastern indigo snakes in the panhandle.
Some of these programs are funded via the “Protect Florida Springs” and “Conserve Wildlife” specialty license plates. For every plate sold, our Foundation receives $25 for wildlife and springs conservation. Please consider purchasing one of our plates.
OUR OTHER WORK
Restoring our Reefs
Florida’s fisheries are renowned. But our reefs are declining. Read what we and others are doing about it.
Lionfish, Burmese pythons and tegu lizards are among the non-native species threatening Florida’s ecosystems. You can help.
Getting Kids Back to Nature
We help fund the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network which provides 200,000 children and teens annually with outdoor experiences.