Florida Natural Areas Inventory earns Conservation Impact Award as best in the Americas

Kyle Copas

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Published date: 
Wed, 04/25/2012

The NatureServe network recognizes achievements of its member program in Florida with Conservation Impact Award

Portland, Ore. (April 25, 2012)—Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) earned the recognition of its peers in the NatureServe network during a ceremony honoring its outstanding achievements at NatureServe’s annual Biodiversity Without Boundaries conference.

The 2012 Conservation Impact Award recognizes the Florida State University-based organization’s recent accomplishments including the publication of the Atlas of Florida’s Natural Heritage, a lead role in development of the state’s Critical Lands and Waters Identification Project (CLIP), and participation in the Yale Science Panel for Integrating Climate Adaptation and Landscape Conservation Planning.

FNAI director Gary Knight received the NatureServe network’s award from Sabra Tonn, supervisor of the Arizona Heritage Data Management System and member of the NatureServe board of directors, and Mary Klein, president and CEO of NatureServe.

Gary Knight (left), director of the Florida Natural Areas Inventory, receives the 2012 Conservation Impact Award from Sabra Tonn, supervisor of the Arizona Heritage Data Management System, and Mary Klein, NatureServe president and CEO.
Gary Knight (left), director of the Florida Natural Areas Inventory, receives the 2012 Conservation Impact Award from Sabra Tonn, supervisor of the Arizona Heritage Data Management System, and Mary Klein, NatureServe president and CEO.

“We are excited to receive this special recognition,” said Gary Knight, director of FNAI. “We believe the conservation of Florida’s biodiversity and significant natural areas is a critical and urgent need. We are proud to be part of the NatureServe network of natural heritage programs and conservation data centres, so it is especially gratifying to have our efforts earn the recognition of our peers.”

“FNAI stands out as an influential leader, both in the state of Florida and within our international network,” said Mary Klein of NatureServe. “The sustained contributions they have made to biodiversity conservation set a high bar of achievement and have inspired the work of others across the Americas.”

FNAI shared the 2012 Conservation Impact Award with SalvaNATURA.

The Atlas of Florida’s Natural Heritage

With the November 2011 publication of the Atlas of Florida’s Natural Heritage, FNAI hopes to increase interest in and enthusiasm for Florida’s biodiversity while advancing science-based conservation planning and decision-making. Along with accolades from state partners like Audubon of Florida, The Nature Conservancy’s Florida Chapter, and the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Atlas was a double winner in the Cartography and Geographic Information Society’s international map-design competition, earning both Best Atlas and the overall Best in Show. State legislators’ interest in the Atlas also earned FNAI an invitation to address the Florida Senate's Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation.

CLIP 2.0: A Shared Framework for Conservation Priorities

August 2011 saw the release of version 2.0 of Florida’s Critical Lands and Waters Identification Project (CLIP), a natural resource inventory derived in large part from FNAI’s Florida Forever Conservation Needs Assessment. Developed with partners at the University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, CLIP provides practitioners and decision-makers with a common framework for identifying statewide priorities and coordinating conservation planning for biodiversity, landscape, surface water, groundwater, and marine conservation.

Guiding the Integration of Climate Adaptation and Conservation Planning

In addition to participating on the Yale Science Panel for Integrating Climate Adaptation and Landscape Conservation Planning convened by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, FNAI is testing the panel’s initial recommendations through a project entitled “Re-evaluating Florida Ecological Conservation Priorities in the Face of Sea-level Rise.” Working with a select group of conservation biologists and policy-makers that include representatives from both NatureServe and the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, FNAI is charged with helping to develop clear guidance about strategies for integrating climate change adaptation and conservation planning.  

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NatureServe is a non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to provide the scientific basis for effective conservation action. The NatureServe network includes member programs operating across the United States, Canada, and Central and South America. By providing scientific knowledge, tools and expertise about the plants, animals, and ecosystems of the Americas, NatureServe and its members enable decision-makers, policy-makers, and others across the public and private sectors to make informed decisions about managing our natural resources.

The Florida Natural Areas Inventory is a trusted and comprehensive source for information and expertise on Florida’s ecological resources. Over the past 31 years, FNAI has established a record of providing independent, objective, scientific information to government agencies, private firms, conservation groups, researchers, and the general public. FNAI is a part of Florida Resources and Environmental Analysis Center at Florida State University. Learn more at www.fnai.org.