Timucuan Parks Foundation Awarded Grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation

2020 Restoration and Resilience grant supports the nonprofit’s work on public lands impacted by a natural disaster

Timucuan Parks Foundation has been chosen to receive a 2020 Restoration and Resilience Grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF). The $25,000 grant, which has major funding support from Toyota Motor North America, will help expand programming and educational efforts by the nonprofit support organization for Jacksonville’s national, state, and city preservation parks. TPF and its park partners will be leading projects and programs designed to increase community awareness of the value of the parks and preserves, especially when it comes to their salt marsh and coastal ecosystems.

“This money will be going directly to volunteer restoration projects and educational programming in our local preservation parks to showcase the importance of these natural spaces in protecting us from disasters like hurricanes and flooding,” said Mark Middlebrook, executive director of TPF. “We will be working with people of all ages to show how they can affect, protect and strengthen our parks. We will also give them the tools and information on what they can do at home and in their own neighborhoods to help protect our vulnerable environment.”

The project, Restoration and Resilience: Service-Learning Lessons from the Timucuan Preserve, Year 2 will be a continuation of the NEEF grant received in 2018 but will expand to include a wider and diverse audience. The service-learning will include both educational programs and volunteer projects that will focus on pollution prevention, invasive plant removal and the planting of native species that will make not only our parks and preserves but also our communities healthier and more resilient to natural disasters. The grant will also support citizen science projects that focus on living shorelines, salt marsh habitats and coastal ecosystems. TPF continues to monitor the COVID-19 recommendations and restrictions as it relates to its park partners and will announce when programming can begin again.

Jacksonville’s park systems include about 86,000 acres in the city, state and national park systems with more than 19,300 acres of salt marsh habitat. The parks and preserves provide a buffer to control urban sprawl and provide ecosystem services that save the need for building infrastructure and help protect developed areas of the city from disasters, like flooding.

The Restoration and Resilience Grants were developed to support non-profit organizations conducting response efforts on public lands recently impacted by natural disasters. This is one of ten grants, totaling $200,000, that were awarded.

“These grants are part of a sustained effort, which kicked off on National Public Lands Day this year, to restore and fortify public lands affected by natural disasters and extreme weather,” said Meri-Margaret Deoudes, CEO and president of NEEF.

NEEF awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. For more than 20 years, NEEF has partnered with Toyota to provide a variety of grants and awards to support national and regional environmental preservation projects.

For more information on the NEEF/Toyota Restoration & Resilience grant requirements, visit https://www.neefusa.org/nature/land/neef-restoration-and-resilience-grant-announcement.