Tallahassee, FL (October 24, 2019) –The non-profit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is celebrating its 25th birthday this fall. Since its founding, the foundation has raised and donated nearly $40 million to conserve Florida’s best lands, waters and wildlife, working closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and many other partners.
The breadth of the foundation’s work is staggering. Florida panthers, manatees, black bears, turkeys, wood storks and red snapper are just a few of the species it has helped conserve. Few habitats and native species, in fact, haven’t benefited from its work. North America’s rarest bird, the Florida grasshopper sparrow, has a new lease on life thanks to a captive breeding-and-release program funded in large part by foundation donors. And with The Nature Conservancy, the foundation invested $120,000 this year into restoring critical manatee freshwater springs habitat.
Increasing public access to and enjoyment of traditional outdoor pastimes — birding, fishing, boating, hunting, archery, etc. –- is a foundation priority, and many of its outdoor programs benefit returning veterans, women and at-risk youth. The foundation is Florida’s largest private funder of outdoor youth programs, which benefit 230,000 children and teens annually.
The foundation also responds to emergencies, whether it’s hurricane disaster relief for FWC employees, identifying technologies for mitigating red tide or helping fund rescue of corals from “stony coral tissue-loss disease,” which is killing off 22 of Florida’s 45 species of stony corals. It’s also working with partners to increase capture of Burmese pythons and lionfish to reduce the threat to the Everglades and our fisheries.
“For 25 years, we’ve worked to conserve nature and our outdoor heritage, thanks to help from the public and many partners,” said foundation president and CEO Andrew Walker. “We are honored and excited to continue our work for many more decades to come.”