ODESSA — The Florida Wildlife Corridor consists of 18 million acres, yet only 10 million of them are actually protected. So this month, a new ad campaign was launched to educate Floridians on what they can do to help.
Five days a week, five miles a day, Siobhan Villarreal’s family is strolling and rolling down the Upper Tampa Bay Trail in Odessa.
“Our family truly enjoys getting out and interacting in a safe way with the wildlife,” said Villarreal. “We see the Osprey hunting all the time with their babies.”
However, what trail users don’t always understand is that most of these recreation hot spots throughout the state eventually connect with the Florida Wildlife Corridor, which stretches from Georgia to the Everglades.
“There are a lot of folks who recognize their favorite state park, their favorite beach, their favorite place to kayak, but they don’t understand how it’s connected to the big picture conservation here in Florida,” said Jason Lauritsen, Chief Conservation Officer with the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation.
Lauritsen is helping to educate the public through the new Live Wildly Campaign.
Currently, 8 million acres of the corridor is unprotected.
“We are going to lose some parts; it’s just going to happen, 8 million acres is such a big area, and some spots just aren’t on anyone’s radar right now,” said Lauritsen.
He's hoping Floridians see and hear these social media, TV and radio ads and become compelled to get involved. He said it’s up to each of us to protect our own backyard.
“We’re not creating something new. We’re protecting what’s already here,” said Lauritsen. “I’m thrilled to see moms with their kids coming out here and enjoying the trail because that gives me hope for future generations.”
For more information, click here.