Conservation Foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration puts November spotlight on ‘Building a Better Future’

Nonprofit offering monthly reminders about its work to protect natural areas and ranchlands

The Conservation Foundation advocated for the extensions of Sarasota County’s Legacy Trail to downtown Sarasota and North Port. Contributed photo by Kerri Gagne Photography

As part of the celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, which is based in Osprey, has announced that its November spotlight is on “Building a Better Future.”

In marking 20 years of protecting Southwest Florida’s land and water, the nonprofit land trust each month is putting the focus on a different aspect of its work and the corresponding community impact, a news release explains.

The Conservation Foundation “protects natural areas and ranchlands throughout the region,” the release points out. Together with its conservation community, “the organization works to maintain the health and productivity of Florida’s land and water” at the same time it strives to preserve “the natural beauty and rural character of our community as more and more land is developed,” the release explains. To date, the Foundation has protected more than 19,200 acres across Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties, the release adds.

“You can’t think about land conservation without thinking about the future,” said Christine P. Johnson, president of the Conservation Foundation, in the release. “Though it, of course, benefits us in the present to protect land and water, everything we do is with an eye toward forever. We must ensure balance between the built and unbuilt worlds if we want to see a future in which people and nature flourish together. Saving land is an investment in the well-being and prosperity of our community, now and forever,” Johnson added.

The Conservation Foundation “also helps build a better future by advocating for policies that will increase conservation funding and further conservation efforts at local, state, and national levels,” the release continues. “For example, in Manatee County – one of the fastest growing counties in Florida” — the Foundation partnered with the Manatee Fish and Game Association and The Trust for Public Land to support a 2020 bond referendum to provide dedicated funding for water quality protection, natural areas preservation and park creation/management, the release points out. The funding measure passed with 71% of Manatee County voters’ support, the release says.

In Sarasota County, the Foundation partnered with The Trust for Public Land, along with the nonprofit Friends of the Legacy Trail, to advocate for and support the extensions of The Legacy Trail to downtown Sarasota and to North Port. A $65-million bond referendum on the November 2018 General Election, to enable the county to achieve that initiative, won 70% of the voters’ support, the release notes.

The Legacy Trail “provides an attractive and safe place to walk, run, skate, cycle, connect with nature, commute to work, and even run errands,” the release points out. “This community connector enhances our local quality of life and improves property values for nearby properties,” it adds.

To learn more about how the Conservation Foundation is building a better future, visit