TNC in Florida announces the launch of its new Center for Conservation Initiatives (CCI): a cohesive state-wide program extending from TNC’s flagship preserves, addressing Florida’s environmental issues through four initiatives: conservation outreach, education, science and strategy, and stewardship of natural resources. Four of TNC’s properties will serve as Center for Conservation Initiatives campus preserves—Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve, Blowing Rocks Preserve, Disney Wilderness Preserve and Tiger Creek Preserve.
On-the-ground activities will be complemented by online programming and outreach to surrounding communities across the state.
TNC’s Center for Conservation Initiatives represents a first in TNC’s 70-year history—an endeavor that not only connects TNC's Florida preserves to each other under one strategic umbrella, but also contributes cohesively to the organization’s overarching conservation goals.
CCI will provide immersive education programs, increased opportunities for collaborative research, and continue TNC’s legacy as a conservation and science leader recognized for developing and disseminating land management stewardship methods that set benchmarks globally for conservation practices.
TNC’s preserves protect critical lands and waters, and feature some of Florida’s most iconic habitats, plants and animals. Based on site location, history, and conservation strengths, each campus preserve has a unique conservation focal theme:
- Apalachicola Bluffs & Ravines Preserve (Bristol, FL): Working Forests
- Blowing Rocks Preserve (Jupiter Island, Hobe Sound, FL): Marine and Coastal Environments
- Disney Wilderness Preserve (Kissimmee, FL): Connected Land, Water, and Communities
- Tiger Creek Preserve (Babson Park, FL): Florida’s Rare and Ancient Wilderness
Following TNC’s long history of working with partners like the Walt Disney Company and private landowners to establish these preserves, the launch of CCI’s innovative new programs was made possible by a transformational gift of $3 million from Joe and Renate Hixon, longtime supporters of TNC. Building on the legacy of best practice land management and stewardship, the Hixon Environmental Stewardship Program will provide new internships, volunteer and public education programs, in-person and virtual professional conservation training and help build the next generation of conservationists to ensure Florida retains its diverse ecosystems and natural landscapes.
CCI programs will focus on four initiatives. First, inspiring the next generation of conservationists through inclusive and engaging learning environments. Second, connecting people to nature through outreach programs that engage the public in understanding the role nature plays in our everyday lives. Third, cultivating scientific discovery and addressing critical environmental challenges through collaborative research partnerships, utilizing TNC managed lands as field sites. And fourth, advancing innovative conservation management practices through demonstration and sharing of knowledge with staff, partners, and communities.
These priorities will take the form of online and in-person prescribed fire trainings, conservation educational sessions for teachers, invasive species management workshops and research, and science and monitoring projects, to name a few.
“The Center for Conservation Initiatives breaks new ground for The Nature Conservancy globally by expanding what our preserves and staff can provide through innovative on-the-ground and online programming under one vision that contributes to our overarching organizational goals,” commented Temperince Morgan, executive director of TNC in Florida. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors, CCI will allow us to better shape the future of conservation in Florida and beyond.”
“The Center for Conservation Initiatives has been years in the making and is the result of hundreds of hours from dozens of dedicated staff and partners,” said Steve Coates, Center for Conservation Initiatives program director for TNC in Florida. “CCI will allow us to increase engagement with our local communities and partners, foster scientific discovery, educate future conservation leaders and advance land management techniques more deeply than ever before.”
TNC welcomes and encourages community members, students, researchers, scientists and conservation practitioners to study, experiment and advance scientific discovery and cutting-edge conservation practices in the living laboratories of the campus preserves. The preserves will remain accessible to the public.
Visit TNC’s Center for Conservation Initiatives: nature.org/CCI
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.