Nomination statement for Audubon Florida, recipient of a Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society 2015 NGO Special Recognition Award:
As Florida's oldest environmental conservation organization, Audubon Florida has an over 100 year history of advocating for the conservation of Florida's natural resources. In its earliest beginning, a small group of citizens fought the plume trade to stop the decimation of Florida's beautiful wading birds, which then grew to a well-organized group who funded the preservation of Corkscrew Swamp and advocated for Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, the first in the nation! Many other accomplishments were achieved over the last eighty years, paving the way to successful programs such as state-wide coastal stewardship of seabirds, a network of educational centers and preservation sanctuaries, successful lobbying for restoring habitats in the Gulf region after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, guiding and advocating the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and supporting a network of thousands of volunteers, stewards, advocates and citizen scientists in Florida. However, a significant recent accomplishment is Audubon Florida's role in advocating for the passage of Florida's Water and Land Conservation Amendment Act (Amendment 1). Audubon Florida staff, local chapters and volunteers played a key role in gathering the petitions and raising funds for the Amendment 1 campaign in order to secure the amendments' place on the November 2014 ballot. Audubon Florida and the local chapters spent the summer of 2014 rallying for the amendment and spreading the word to "Vote Yes on 1" at festivals, stewarding events, meetings and conferences throughout the state. The media was engaged in newspaper articles, press releases and radio spotlights. Audubon Florida contributed a tremendous effort to maintain energy and enthusiasm for the amendment and to keep the amendments' importance in the minds of Florida's citizens. Staff and volunteers even spent election day at the polling sites with their Vote Yes on 1 signs encouraging voters to support the conservation of Florida's natural resources. These efforts were greatly rewarded when 75% of Florida's citizens did indeed vote YES on Amendment 1! Audubon Florida's efforts to educate and inform voters and support this important piece of legislation and their continued contribution to lobby and advocate for the proper distribution of funds should be recognized and rewarded.
Nomination statement for Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Coalition, recipient of a Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society 2015 NGO Special Recognition Award:
A recipient of an NGO Special Recognition Award this year is Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Coalition for its efforts in support of Florida's Water and Land Conservation Amendment Act (Amendment 1). A managerial team headed by Chairman Will Abberger from the Trust for Public Lands, Deputy of Field Activities Aliki Moncrief, and Deputy of Education Outreach Pegeen Harrahan successfully united the largest and most influential group of non-profit organizations and individuals concerned about our environment in Florida’s history. The coalition drafted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment, organized thousands of volunteers, collected nearly 1 million signatures to place Amendment 1 on the November 2014 ballot, and ran the successful voter education campaign that resulted in an overwhelming 75 percent approval. And the story does not end there. Since the opening of the legislature this season, Florida’s Water and Land Legacy coalition members have been embroiled in a battle to ensure that Amendment 1 monies are used in the manner that was intended and expected by the voters. The Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society recognizes and greatly appreciates the Florida’s Water and Land Legacy coalition, and particularly its leadership, for the outstanding effort and success that supports our goals of wildlife and natural resources conservation.