$10,000 grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation to be used to support Conservation Foundation’s Next Gen Program

Funds will enable Conservation Foundation to broaden commitment to youth education through nature-based activities and ‘citizen science’

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation recently awarded a $10,000 grant to the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast in support of the latter’s Next Gen Conservation Program, the Conservation Foundation has announced. 

The grant was made possible through the Katherine Naismith Witten Fund at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the release notes. The money will enable the Conservation Foundation to broaden its “commitment to youth education through discovery, nature-based activities, citizen science, and memorable experiences in the great outdoors,” the release points out.

“Our Next Gen programming gives kids wild places to explore and learn about the wonders of our natural world,” Christine P. Johnson, president of the Conservation Foundation, said in the release. “These experiences help shape their views on wildlife and habitats, instill a love for nature, and inspire their desire to protect the environment. We are incredibly grateful to Gulf Coast Community Foundation for their investment in our work and the youth we serve,” she added.

Next Gen Conservation is the Conservation Foundation’s umbrella program comprising Youth in Nature and Nature Explorers, the release explains.

Youth in Nature focuses on underserved middle and high school youth from Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties, the release notes. “Anchored by a broad collaboration with numerous youth-serving organizations, Youth in Nature provides hundreds of kids with WOW! moments in nature each year,” the release says.

Nature Explorers is the Conservation Foundation’s free, public youth education program for children in grades K-5, the release continues. “This program uses ‘citizen science’ techniques” to show children how even they can make a difference in others’ lives, along with helping the Earth, the release adds.

Different from typical summer camp programs, Next Gen programming takes youngsters outside year-round, “immersing them in nature and providing a host of benefits for their overall well-being,” the release points out. Program activities and outings are facilitated by the Conservation Foundation’s Environmental Programs manager, Sabrina Cummings; they “would not be possible without the generous support of the community,” the release notes.

The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast protects land and water in Southwest Florida for the benefit of people and nature, the release adds. For more information, visit conservationfoundation.com.

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation “is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital,” the release explains. Since then, it has become the philanthropic home of more than 950 families, individuals, businesses, and organizations that have established charitable funds with it. Together, with them, the release adds, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation has invested more than $430 million in grants in the areas of health and human services, civics and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Learn more at GulfCoastCF.org.