To the Editor:
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast has been protecting nature in Southwest Florida since 2003. After first being accredited in 2010, then reaccredited in 2016, they are delighted to announce the renewal of their land trust accreditation for another five years – once again proving their commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust.
“Over our lifetime, we leveraged every dollar earned 3.66 times for land conservation and are steadfast in our efforts to safeguard the future of Southwest Florida’s land and water,” says Christine P. Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation. “Our accreditation renewal assures our community that we continue to adhere to the highest standards not only for land management and conservation, but also for managing their donations.”
Conservation Foundation provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction. After a rigorous review process, the Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded renewed accreditation, signifying its confidence that Conservation Foundation’s lands will be protected forever.
“It is exciting to recognize Conservation Foundation’s continued commitment to national standards by renewing this national mark of distinction,” said Melissa Kalvestrand, executive director of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. “Donors and partners can trust that the more than 450 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.” Only six Florida land trusts are accredited.
Conservation Foundation has saved over 19,100 acres across 54 properties since its inception. Notable recent conservation successes include the 363-acre Myakka Headwaters Preserve in Myakka City, the 228-acre addition to Old Miakka Preserve in Sarasota County, and the centrally located almost 300-acre Bobby Jones Golf Club in the City of Sarasota. In 2020, Conservation Foundation partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to permanently protect the 5,777-acre Orange Hammock Ranch in the City of North Port. The organization is currently partnering with Sarasota Audubon Society and Sarasota County to re-wild the 33-acre Quad Parcels at the Celery Fields.
Conservation Foundation is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States according to the Land Trust Alliance’s most recent National Land Trust Census. A complete list of accredited land trusts and more information about the process and benefits can be found at landtrustaccreditation.org.
Sam Valentin, CDMP, PCM®
Marketing and Communications
Manager, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast