WASHINGTON, D.C. – A $30,000 private donation to the National Wildlife Refuge Association will be used to initiate a fundraising challenge to help secure land for the newly established Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area, according to Evan Hirsche, NWRA president. The new refuge will help protect many endangered and threatened wildlife species, including the Florida panther, will safeguard fresh water supplies for millions of South Floridians, and will provide new opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and sportsmen.
“NWRA, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), ranchers and sportsmen’s groups, refuge Friends groups, and other national conservation groups worked tirelessly to create this refuge,” Hirsche said. “The new wildlife refuge was officially established with a 10-acre donation by the Nature Conservancy, and is a great first step in a larger plan that includes protecting up to 150,000-acres. But we have a lot of work cut out for us if we are going to help protect the other 149,990 acres.”
The private donation will be used to match dollar-for-dollar funds raised during the next 60 days up to the $30,000 amount, equaling a total of $60,000, according to Emily Keller, NWRA’s director of marketing and communications. “This will allow us to kick off the fundraising campaign for the new refuge in a big way,” she said.
“The campaign will help NWRA work with the FWS, partners and willing sellers to acquire land and conservation easements to protect wildlife habitat from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes to Avon Air Force Park as part of the new refuge,” Hirsche said. This effort would complement and leverage a long-term investment in conserving ranchlands and restoring important wetlands in the Greater Everglades made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Department of Defense, the State of Florida, Florida landowners, and non-governmental organizations, he said.
Donations supporting NWRA’s Everglades conservation program can be made through the NWRA’s website – http://refugeassociation.org/everglades/join-the-everglades-challenge/, according to Keller.
Contact: Evan Hirsche, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-417-3803 ex. 11