Who We Are
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast works with landowners, businesses, and government to protect and preserve the beauty and natural integrity of the bays, beaches, and barrier islands that make the Gulf Coast special. The Foundation purchases natural areas, holds land preservation agreements, and educates for responsible stewardship. The Foundation also serves as the land acquisition agent for Sarasota County’s acclaimed environmentally sensitive lands program, their neighborhood parks program, and is a partner in efforts to preserve Florida’s natural heritage.
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast works to protect the character, natural integrity and biodiversity of Florida's Gulf Coast bays, beaches and barrier islands by:
Holding conservation easements and owning nature preserves
Educating for responsible land stewardship
Collaborating with individuals, organizations and communities
Read our Annual Report 2010-2011 here
Albert G. Joerger launched the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast in 2003 as a result of his extensive expertise in intelligent conservation and his passion for the Gulf Coast. Dr. Joerger holds a BS in Economics, an MLA in Landscape Architecture and a PhD.in Environmental Information Science, all from Cornell University. His broad experience includes market research, coastal land use and development, planning for sustainable tourism, environmental consulting on water resources, as well as fundraising and land acquisition for The Nature Conservancy. Dr. Joerger served as a Governing Board Member of the Southwest Florida Water Management District where he chaired the Land Resource Committee. Dr. Joerger was a member of Governor Crist’s transition team for the environment and is past president of the Florida Alliance of Land Trusts.
Board of Trustees:
Daniel J. DeLeo, Esq.
Ann J. Charters
Fredric C. Jacobs, Esq.
Harold L. Johnson, MD
Peter B. Scanlan
Christopher R. Sforzo, MD
Board of Advisors:
Edward E. Cohen, Ph.D
Helen Jelks King, OD
Pauline W. Joerger
Robert A. Kimbrough, Esq.
Jackie B. Obendorf
Catherine A. Rustin
Jose N. Uranga, Esq.
Arthur M. Wood, Jr.
Christine P. Johnson, President
Gilly Francis, Site Rental Coordinator
Kathy Grass, Director of Finance
Lee Amos, Land Steward
Pam Brownell, Director of Operations
Sean Byrne, Director of Land Protection
Suzanne Gregory, Director of Programs & Marketing
In 2003, a group of citizens concerned about conservation on the Gulf Coast came together to begin a land trust. They united to form a community around conservation. In that collaborative spirit, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast was born as a membership organization with a board of trustees, some committed volunteers, and communications materials made possible by Ringling College Design Center. They received a matching grant for operations that launched the organization.
Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice made a grant which enabled the land trust to purchase its first property on Venice Island. An unsightly parking lot was transformed into a pocket park connecting people to the Venetian Waterway Park and beautifying the gateway to Venice Island. The City of Venice engineered and built the park and Michael Biehl Park was dedicated in April of 2007. Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast will own the park in perpetuity.
In 2005, the Foundation received a $6.6 million grant from the Florida Forever program to acquire 4.3 acres on Little Sarasota Bay. That property is now the headquarters of the Foundation and Bay Preserve at Osprey officially opened to the public with a week of free events beginning November 17 and culminating in a Fall Family Festival on November 21, 2009. Many members, major donors and foundations contributed to the renovation and improvements to the site. It is a shining example of Conservation Foundation’s commitment to community collaboration. Historic Spanish Point, Sarasota Crew, American Littoral Society, Sarasota County Extension Services, Osprey Revitalization Committee, The Founders Garden Club, Art Center Sarasota, and many other organizations are enhancing and benefitting from this preserve.
Additional preserves have been established on Manasota Key, Casey Key and Siesta Key and in April 2009, the land trust acquired 230 acres on Pine Island. The Foundation established six preserves in six years to protect critical habitat, and where appropriate, ensure public access to the water forever.
In 2007, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast was named acquisition agent for the Sarasota County Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program where they have helped to protect more than a dozen properties. They were awarded the acquisition contract for The Neighborhood Parkland Program in 2009.
Working with Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota County and Sarasota County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Conservation Foundation created an online resource www.srqecoseeker.com to promote eco-tourism.
Together with our partners, we were able to protect more than 8,000 acres of ranchlands during the summer of 2010. Protecting these lands enhances the ‘Myakka River Island’ which now encompasses more than 106,000 acres, making it larger than 22 National Parks in the United States.
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast led the negotiations culminating in both the Walton Ranch purchase and Longino Ranch conservation easement. A recreational trail easement on the Longino Ranch will provide connections for a regional trail. This future ‘River to River’ trail will provide public access to a 36-mile trail - from District lands at the Peace River to Myakka River State Park - for hiking, nature walks, horseback riding, bird watching and educational study.
Together with partners, the Foundation has protected 8,582 acres on 31 properties.
"protecting our bays, beaches and barrier islands"
News & Events
Join Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, May 7th at 10:00 to 11:30am and enter the fascinating world of bird rookeries.
Black & White Photography by Clyde Butcher