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North Florida Land Trust receives $510,000 grant

Published on July 18, 2023 at 3:31 pm

A hefty grant will help the North Florida Land Trust care for the 26 forested preserves and future conservation lands that is it preserving for the future.

The $510,000 grant from the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund also will help roll out a new membership program for the nonprofit land preservation group.

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The Land Trust, founded in 1999, has preserved more than 16,000 acres of property in North Florida through the donation or purchase of land as well as conservation easements. Weaver, former co-owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars with husband Wayne, created the fund in 2012. It has awarded more than $86 million in grants since then.

The Land Trust grant will help the organization continue to preserve natural Florida before it is gone, President Allison DeFoor said.

“We are of the opinion that it’s now or never for preservation of land in North Florida. Whatever time we thought we had, we don’t,” DeFoor told WJCT News. “We are galvanizing resources to make sure our grandchildren can see what Florida looks like, the real Florida, and this is a big contribution. … Delores Weaver is kind of a Good Housekeeping seal of approval for major contributors in Florida, so we are very, very grateful for her generosity.”

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In a statement announcing the donation, Weaver said the work the Land Trust does encompasses many aspects of land preservation, stewardship and activation.

“Recognizing this, I am pleased to play a part in helping people see the value of membership in such a vital organization, and also help the (Land Trust’s) staff to increase its hands-on stewardship of land they have preserved,” Weaver said. “It is my hope these gifts help the Land Trust continue to meet the goals of its expansive mission.”

The North Florida Land Trust is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with landowners, public agencies and other groups to preserve the area’s natural environment. That has recently included the Bull Family Preserve, named after Atlantic Beach’s first mayor, Harcourt Bull. The almost 219-acre preserve was sold to the Land Trust in late winter after Bull’s family decided to keep its natural state forever. The Land Trust also allows public access at its Bogey Creek Preserve, open year-round from sunrise to sunset on Cedar Point Road.

 This view shows the North Florida Land Trust's Bogey Creek Preserve.

The Land Trust will use $380,000 of the new grant to purchase a track loader and a new firetruck to support its land stewardship and management program. That means it won’t need someone else to provide equipment or services to maintain properties, which saves money and maintenance expenses, DeFoor said.

“The sexy part of this is to buy the land,” he said. “But it’s kind of like having a baby. The hard part is raising it, and this will help us do a big chunk towards taking care of the land we buy.”

The remainder of the grant will be used for the Land Trust’s 3-month-old membership program created to help establish long-term community support through promotion, outreach, website additions and more. Members can join at five levels designed to allow them to share thoughts on the land trust’s conservation efforts and future plans, plus help it act quickly when preservation opportunities arise.

The program’s creation in April also brought a new primary logo featuring an image of a roseate spoonbill found in many of the habitats, and spearheaded its O2O Wildlife Corridor Partnership and the Amelia Forever Campaign.

The Land Trust membership program includes levels that range from the $45 Friend Level to the $1,000 Champion Level. Each level includes benefits such as member-only publications, merchandise and merchandise discounts. To learn more, go to nflt.org/membership.


author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.
author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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