Winter Naturalist: Letter from Executive Director Julie Wraithmell

For me, 2023 was defined by big things. A big hurricane, a big flamingo invasion, and big budget investments into conservation and Everglades restoration. Big things are important. We need big wildlife corridors for species like the Florida panther and Florida black bear to survive and thrive. We need big Everglades restoration projects to bring more water into the River of Grass, creating a healthier future for both birds and people. We need a big environmental movement, with people from all backgrounds, regions, and experiences advocating for wildlife and the places they need.

But we need the “little” things too—the individual actions that we do day in and day out to build a more resilient future for Florida’s special places. We need birders to call in their flamingo sightings so we can track their movements (pg. 5); we need city staff to use greenhouse gas inventories to jumpstart initiatives to move to renewable energy (pg. 4); we need college students excited and inspired to enter the conservation field after graduation (pg. 11). To be honest, these things aren’t “little” at all. By making these efforts part of our daily lives, we build upon each other’s successes. We quite literally flock together!

Thank you for all you do. I wish you and yours a bright year of birding ahead. 

Click here to read the full Winter edition of the Naturalist magazine.

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