The Florida State Parks Foundation today announced a $50,000 grant from the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund for its 2022-23 Plant a Pine initiative, a campaign to restore native longleaf pines in Florida’s state parks. Marking six months until Earth Day 2023 and the conclusion of the Foundation’s campaign year, this grant represents a significant boost to the goal of raising $100,000 to plant 100,000 longleaf pines.
“We are grateful for the continued support of the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund on state park projects. As a two-time donor to our Plant a Pine initiative, they are a much-appreciated champion for the protection and restoration of our beautiful Florida State Parks and their important biodiversity,” said Tammy Gustafson, President of the Florida State Parks Foundation.
Launched on Earth Day, April 22, 2020, Plant a Pine began in response to Hurricane Michael, which destroyed 500 million trees across the Florida Panhandle in 2018. Over the past several years, corporate and individual donors have helped to fund the success of this initiative, which provides direct and positive impacts to Florida’s ecosystem by planting endangered longleaf pines in Florida State Parks. Since the start of the program, nearly $250,000 has been raised for tree planting.
“We are proud to continue our support of the Florida State Parks Foundation in their passionate pursuit to create and sustain a thriving Florida ecosystem through the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund,” said Bob Ziehmer, Bass Pro Shops Sr. Director of Conservation. “Together with our industry partners and more than 200 million passionate customers, we are honored to be partnering with leading conservation groups like Florida State Parks Foundation to collectively shape the future of the outdoors and all who love it for generations to come.”
Mature longleaf ecosystems support more than 30 endangered and threatened species, including red-cockaded woodpeckers, gopher tortoises and indigo snakes. Native to the Southeast, longleaf pines now only cover an estimated 3% of their original habitat.
To address this critical need, the Foundation, in partnership with the Florida Park Service, plants trees in Florida State Parks identified for restoration efforts. Each $1 donation supports the planting of one seedling, and a tree can be donated in memory of a loved one — a gift that continues growing and thriving in Florida. Members of the public who wish to support this initiative may contribute at the Florida State Parks Foundation website.
The Florida State Parks Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award-winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.
It does this through programs that preserve and protect state parks, educate visitors about the value of state parks, encourage community engagement and active use of state parks, and advocacy. The volunteer Board of Directors represents private and public sectors as well as local and statewide interests. This project is completed by the Florida State Parks Foundation Services LLC, which is a limited liability company affiliate of the Foundation.