Conservancy sustainability plan in motion
Like many nonprofits, the Conservancy has been impacted significantly by COVID 19. With the Nature Center closed to the public for safety reasons, and with our events and programs limited, we have seen a decline in our revenues that will take time to rebuild.
I’m very encouraged by the Conservancy’s leadership team which has taken on this latest challenge with creativity and commitment. However, there is no avoiding necessary reductions in expenses to ensure we have a balanced budget, and to remain strong for the mission not just for this year, but for many years to come.
To that end, with the support of the Board of Directors, we have created a three-year sustainability plan to ensure the Conservancy meets the current financial challenges. We have reviewed all of our project and programs, to make certain we have the most effective mix to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.
Key areas of focus include:
- The von Arx Wildlife Hospital remains open and fully operational and we remain strongly committed to protection of our native wildlife including threatened and endangered species, research and removal of select invasive species, our core scientific research programs and the delivery of high quality environmental education programs to inform the public.
- The bulk of our core policy activities remains unchanged, including our commitment to protect water quality, preserve wetlands and ensure the restoration of the Western Everglades.
- The Conservancy remains equally committed to helping ensure smart growth in our eastern lands in Collier County including our legal challenge against the County approval of Rivergrass Village.
- Our longstanding commitment to land conservation remains and will focus on preventing the destruction of wetlands, protecting critical panther habitat, fighting the proposed toll roads, and promoting smart growth in the region to protect sensitive lands and habitats from overdevelopment.
Where we will reduce or remove our involvement during these three years is in direct land acquisition and seeking to advance state wide and county land acquisition programs and projects. We feel there are a number of other strong organizations still working in this arena and our endorsement of the upcoming Conservation Collier ballot initiative remains unwavering.
An additional area we will reduce in focus is our work on oil and gas policy. The Conservancy’s oil and gas campaign over the past eight years with our partners has yielded many significant wins, including holding the State accountable for the debacle at Collier-Hogan well, celebrating the withdrawal of the Tocala project that proposed seismic testing across thousands of acres of sensitive lands, advocating for a statewide ban on fracking and related well stimulation methods, and the current halt of damaging seismic testing in the Big Cypress. We acknowledge our members’ support that has allows us to achieve this progress, and appreciate the efforts of our partners to continue to advocate against these threats into the future .
As we navigate these challenging times, we value your support now more than ever. You are the cornerstone that enables our science-based conservation efforts to have great impact, both today, and in the future. Your Conservancy will continue to deliver high-quality programs and realize a demonstrated impact in support of our mission thanks in no small part to your ongoing support along with the commitment of our volunteers, board, staff and interns.
Conservancy President and CEO
Chair of the Board
P.S. We always welcome your thoughts and comments, so please do reach out to us with any questions, concerns or suggestions.