CLAY COUNTY – North Florida Land Trust has been awarded a $450,000 transformational grant from the EJK Foundation of Houston, Texas to help support its efforts in the Ocala to Osceola (O2O) Wildlife Corridor. The Foundation supports efforts centered on landscape-scale conservation for wildlife habitat and ecological resiliency to climate change. The Foundation has also issued a challenge grant for additional funding for the project. The O2O Corridor is part of the greater Florida Wildlife Corridor, a blueprint for conservation and connection of Florida’s native and rural landscapes.
The O2O Corridor comprises nearly two-thirds of Clay County.
The $450,000 grant over two years will help fund the operational needs of the O2O initiative which is led by NFLT and involves 18 partner organizations. The grant will help with costs including salaries, due diligence, marketing, and increased fundraising capacity related to the O2O Corridor. It will also provide future sustainability for the landscape-scale initiative.
“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.”
In addition to the $450,000 initial award, the Foundation has issued a challenge grant for $75,000 to further fund the operational needs of the O2O Corridor initiative. NFLT has until August 31, 2021, to meet the challenge and is actively seeking funds to be matched 1:1 by the EJK Foundation if the $75,000 goal is met.
If you are interested in supporting the O2O operations and have your gift matched, contact Megan Mangiaracino at email@example.com or (904) 559-4187.
About the O2O Corridor
The Ocala to Osceola Conservation Corridor is a network of forested and rural lands that make up a 1.6 million-acre wildlife corridor connecting Ocala National Forest to Osceola National Forest. The O2O is part of the larger Florida Wildlife Corridor, which is a network of connected lands throughout the State that serves as Florida’s “conservation blueprint” for the optimal protection of natural resources, wildlife habitat, agriculture and open space. If protected, the O2O will provide habitat for a wide range of animals and imperiled species, such as the Florida black bear, red-cockaded woodpecker, eastern indigo snake and gopher tortoise. In addition, the O2O contains some of the best remaining upland pine forests, wetlands and waterways in North Florida.