Conservation Florida is saving land, conserving Florida, and protecting the Florida Wildlife Corridor for future generations

Press release from Conservation Florida

Today is the first day of summer. For most Floridians, including us, that comes with an intense sense of nostalgia – time spent reminiscing over the summers of our youth. Endless days spent along the world’s best coastlines, exploring countless springs, hiking thickly wooded trails while carefully dodging too-close-for-comfort encounters with snakes. From the subtropical hammocks to the sandhills to the swamps, Florida is one of a kind. Florida is wild. And we intend to keep it that way. 

Conservation Florida is grounded by a deep love for Florida and a history of boots-on-the-ground land conservation. Our statewide conservation projects support the protection of the Florida Wildlife Corridor, Florida’s native plants and wildlife, fresh water, family farms and ranches, the economy, and nature-based recreation. Simply stated, we are saving the places Floridians love.

Conservation Florida was founded in 1999 by David Carr as the “Conservation Trust for Florida.” His father, Archie Carr, was recognized as one of the foremost conservationists of the twentieth century and the founder of conservation biology. His mother, Marjorie Harris Carr, helped establish Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park and led efforts to stop the Cross Florida Barge Canal. As the son of pioneering conservationists, he saw firsthand the growing need for a land trust that would focus on protecting Florida’s “working rural landscapes,” which included farms, ranches, and timber lands. David and his high school sweetheart-turned-wife, Peggy Carr, live a life committed to conservation. In fact, Peggy was instrumental in creating the Florida Ecological Greenways Network, which is the science and mapping foundation that makes up the Florida Wildlife Corridor. 

Since our founding, Conservation Florida has led the way in strategic and evidence-based land protection and has saved over 30,000 acres of critical habitat through the acquisition, facilitation, and incubation of conservation projects. We are now actively working on over 100,000 acres! Our vision is large-scale, and we are 100% committed to conservation in the state of Florida and to the protection of the Florida Wildlife Corridor – from Pensacola to the Florida Keys. While our conservation story might have begun in 1999, Florida’s conservation story began well before the Sunshine State was sold as paradise.

Early naturalists such as William Bartram, John James Audubon, and John Muir inspired a movement in our state that would start the fight against environmental damage and for protecting Florida’s wild and wonderful places. Modern-day conservation in Florida is built on the backs of familiar heroes, unsung champions, activists, artists, philanthropists, politicians, and – perhaps most notably – everyday Floridians who just love where they live.

“The lure of conservation is that one person can make a difference,” said Clay Henderson in his upcoming book, Forces of Nature, A History of Florida Land Conservation. “The history of the conservation movement is woven through personal stories of ordinary people drawn to a special place and found a way to protect it as a legacy for the enjoyment of future generations. Through their deeds there are many grandparents of the future, and their stories weave important threads into the rich fabric of Florida’s history.”

This summer we challenge you to find time to explore those wild places that speak to your soul – the places that take you back to the Florida of your childhood. Go to the coast, swim in the springs, hike the trails. Find the place that you want to protect for your children’s children. 

Conservation Florida needs you. Florida needs you. It’s going to take all of us – the collective impact – to preserve the best of Florida for future generations. It’s time to leave your legacy. Join our team, and fund land conservation like the future of Florida depends on it – because it does.

Time to get outside, Florida…and stay wild.