Two Fund Staff Honored By U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service

May 13, 2010

Arlington, VA — Today, Matt Sexton and Lauren Day of The Conservation Fund received the Southeast Regional Director’s Conservation Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their work to protect the Key Tree-Cactus Preserve in Islamorada, Florida. The award is presented annually to partners who have made extraordinary contributions to the conservation of natural resources in the Southeast region.

Sexton and Day worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Village of Islamorada and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden to protect the 9-acre stretch of tropical hardwood hammock and mangrove forest by securing funding from the Florida Communities Trust and assisting with the sale of the land to the Village of Islamorada.

The preserve contains the rare Key Tree-Cactus, which is known to exist only in the Keys and possibly Cuba. Recent surveys documented an 80 percent decline in the largest Keys population, raising alarm about the species’ future.

The Village of Islamorada now owns and manages the property, which is open to the public for low-impact, nature-based recreation. The preserve is part of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, enjoyed by canoe and kayak enthusiasts from around the world, and is a destination along the Overseas Highway Heritage Trail, used by pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike. The preserve is also located within The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which encompasses 2,900 square miles and includes the most extensive living coral reef systems in North America—the third largest system in the world.

Special thanks to the Brunckhorst Foundation and The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation for their support of our Florida revolving fund, which was used in this acquisition.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.