Conservation Foundation of Gulf Coast earns national mark of distinction — renewal of its land trust accreditation ‘after rigorous review process’

Nonprofit among only six accredited land trusts in Florida

The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, whose headquarters is in Osprey, has been protecting nature in Southwest Florida since 2003, its staff points out in a news release. The Foundation first won accreditation in 2010 and then was reaccredited in 2016.

This week, the leaders of the Foundation “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,” the release points out.

“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,” said Christine P. Johnson, president of the Conservation Foundation, in the release. “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,” she added in the release.

The Conservation Foundation “provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction,” the release explains. “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,” the release points out.

“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, in the release. “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,” Kalvestrand added in the release.

Only six Florida land trusts are accredited, the release notes.

Since its inception, the release continues, the Conservation Foundation has saved more than 19,100 acres across 54 properties. “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,” the release points out.

In 2020, the 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. Further, the release adds, the organization is partnering with Sarasota Audubon Society and Sarasota County “to re-wild the 33-acre Quad Parcels at the Celery Fields.”

The Conservation Foundation is one of 1,363 land trusts located 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 may be found at, the release points out.

Learn more about the Conservation Foundation’s mission at