The North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) is getting a $450,000 grant from the Houston-based EJK Foundation to support efforts in the Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor.
The foundation regularly supports conservation efforts focused on wildlife habitat and ecological resiliency to climate change.
The O2O Corridor is a network of more than 1.6 million acres of forests and rural land connecting the Ocala National Forest near Orlando to the Osceola National Forest, which is about 50 miles west of Jacksonville.
It’s part of the larger Florida Wildlife Corridor, a network of connected lands throughout the state that serves as a “conservation blueprint” for the protection of natural resources, wildlife habitat, agriculture, and open space.
According to the NFLT, the O2O, if protected, will provide habitat for a wide range of animals and imperiled species that are at risk of extinction, like the Florida black bear, the red-cockaded woodpecker, the eastern indigo snake, and the gopher tortoise.
“This couldn’t come at a better or more exciting time for our O2O Corridor initiative,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “By sustaining our program through capacity funding, we’re able to focus on achieving our ambitious conservation goals in the O2O with our partners.”
The two year grant will help cover costs like salaries and marketing.
The EJK Foundation has also issued a $75,000 challenge grant, giving the Jacksonville-based NFLT until August 31, 2021, to raise even more funding for the project.