Help us buy land to save the Florida Panther
As part of our wedding, Geddes and I set up a land fund through South Florida Wildlands Association to buy & protect threatened Florida Panther habitat.
100% of the money we collect will go to acquiring a parcel of undeveloped land around the Big Cypress National Preserve. The unprotected land around Big Cypress is some of the last remaining habitat of the Florida Panther, especially during the wet season when much of the protected land in South Florida floods. This is also where many animals will retreat as the Southern Everglades become inundated with saltwater.
We need to save this land now since it's coming under intense development pressure from housing projects, oil drilling, and a horribly conceived new highway, which will drive Florida Panthers to extinction.
Q & A
Q: How will the land be protected?
A: Whatever land we're able to buy will then either be donated to the Florida Forever Program (if they want it) or we'll work with the South Florida Wildlands Association to figure out a different way preserve it as wilderness.
Q: How much land will you buy?
A: As much as you give us money for!
Q: OK, will it be enough to make a difference?
A: Even if we end up with a small parcel, we'll try to make sure it's contiguous with other already protected land. Every bit of habitat can make a difference.
Ultimately, however, preventing the extinction of the Florida Panther requires restoring funding to the Florida Forever program: $300M per year which is supposed to be spent on conservation but instead gets misappropriated by the state legislature. Our land purchase will hopefully attract media attention and that may inspire (or pressure) politicians to resume large conservation purchases in the state of Florida.
Or, maybe we'll start a new Florida wedding tradition :-).
Q: When does this campaign end?
A: We were originally going to stop on Tu BiShvat, the Jewish new year for the trees, but we're going to try to raise a little more in the early Spring.
Q: Are my donations tax-deductible?
A: Yes, the South Florida Wildlands Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and GoFundMe Charity will send you a receipt.
Q: Can I donate by check or cash?
A: Yes, send it to South Florida Wildlands Association and write "Alex & Geddes Land Fund" on it. Also, if you're coming to our wedding, we'll be collecting money in a big alligator sculpture.
Q: How did you pick South Florida Wildlands?
A: They're a lean but effective organization with a lot of experience in the areas around Big Cypress. Their lawsuits have limited off-road vehicle usage in panther habitat, challenged oil drilling in the Everglades, mall construction in the endangered pine rocklands ecosystem, and their recent FOIA request revealed that Florida's highway construction plans will drive panthers to extinction. They know the ranchers who own a lot of the land around Big Cypress, the real estate developers who want to buy it, and state officials that are interested in conserving it. Also, Geddes and I went hiking in Big Cypress with their director Matt and he's a great guy.