Conservation Foundation to host Community Luncheon on April 9 at Michael’s on East

Event to mark premiere of 20th anniversary video series

This is the Miakka Headwaters Preserve in Manatee County, one of the areas that the Foundation has protected. Contributed photo by Mary Lundeberg for the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is inviting the public to attend its Conservation Community Luncheon on Tuesday, April 9, which will be held at Michael’s On East in Sarasota.

The event will showcase the Conservation Foundation’s “local impact and the urgency and importance of land conservation” in the region, a news release explains.

In celebration of 20 years of protecting Southwest Florida’s land and water, leaders of the not-for-profit land trust asked individuals from across the conservation community to share their thoughts in a new video series, the release notes. Featuring interviews with prominent community members and leaders reflecting on two decades of collaboration and conservation, “this compelling retrospective will premiere at the April luncheon,” the release adds.

Immediately following that, Christine P. Johnson, president of the Conservation Foundation, “will moderate a panel of local experts sharing their unique insights into land conservation, the environment, and our community,” the release notes. The panelists will be Damon Moore, founder and executive director of Oyster River Ecology; Nicole Rissler, director of Sarasota County’s Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Department; and Jon Thaxton, senior vice president for community leadership with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

“Our success is possible thanks to the generous support and steadfast commitment of our conservation community,” Lee Ann Rodriguez, the Conservation Foundation’s director of philanthropy, pointed out in the release. “As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, this luncheon is the perfect opportunity to highlight the individuals, foundations, and organizations who have helped us protect almost 20,000 acres so far.”

“This is also the perfect opportunity for those who may not know much about land conservation or be familiar with Conservation Foundation and our work to learn more,” added Sam Valentin, the Conservation Foundation’s director of marketing and events, in the release. “Protecting natural landscapes, open spaces, and agricultural land is critical to the future of our region in more ways than many people realize,” Valentin added. “We’re excited to connect those dots and showcase our conservation community at this special 20th anniversary event!”

The program will take place at 11:30 a.m. on April 9 at Michael’s On East in Sarasota. Individual tickets are $50, the release says, while sponsorships start at $500. Tickets and sponsorships are available at