Central Florida Skink Research

Blue Tailed SkinkWith funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlands is conducting surveys to establish the presence, distribution, and populations size of Florida sand skinks and bluetail mole skinks on conservation lands of the Lake Wales Ridge, Winter Haven Ridge, and Mt. Dora Ridge in central Florida.

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Conservation Banking

Wildlands partners with private landowners and regulatory agencies to identify lands that are appropriate for conservation banks. Our staff are experts at preparing bank permit applications and work to provide creative and innovative conservation strategies for each property that benefit both the landowner and protected species. Through restoration, land management, conservation easements, and research, Wildlands preserves Florida’s habitats and wildlife.

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Gopher Tortoise License Plate

Wildlands Conservation is working to help create a specialty gopher tortoise license plate in the state of Florida. In order to bring awareness to the plight of the gopher tortoise, we are hoping to create this specialty license plate and propose that the funds generated by the plate be used for gopher tortoise habitat conservation, habitat management, and research. With your help, we can help protect gopher tortoises and their upland habitat.

Specialty license plates have been an essential part of the conservation strategy for other Florida species including the manatee, Florida panther, and sea turtles, and we wish to add the gopher tortoise to this list. The gopher tortoise is a threatened species in the state of Florida, primarily due to loss of upland habitat. A keystone species, gopher tortoises dig burrows that are used by more than 360 other animal species, including some that live nowhere else. 

Inspired by wildlife rehabber Chelsey Vowles, the idea for the plate formed after she witnessed countless gopher tortoises being killed and injured while trying to cross the road. Chelsey’s passion for healing and helping tortoises was the spark necessary to get the license plate started.

Gopher Tortoise License Plate

Wildlands is working with talented conservation illustrator Laurelin Sitterly to create a gopher tortoise license plate design. The Gopher Tortoise Council and Conservation Florida have also provided letters of support for this plate.

For more updates, follow Wildlands Conservation on Facebook.

Springs Coast Research Station

In collaboration with the University of South Florida and the Florida Aquarium, Wildlands Conservation has been working for several years to establish a research station along the Chassahowitzka River on the Nature Coast in Citrus County.

The time is now to act on the behalf of springs and natural Florida. That’s why we are creating The Springs Coast Research Station—a place to gather all levels of Florida’s conservation science students and researchers to better understand, inform, and protect the Springs Coast and the amazing ecosystems that flow from it. We have found the ideal home—a strategically-located property along the Chassahowitzka River and must complete the sale soon. We are happy to report that we have been approved for partial funding by the Florida Forever Program, but we still have a ways to go.

We hope you will help us reach our funding goal before it’s too late. Help us today, to steward natural Florida —for all of us and for generations to come.

For more information view the Springs Coast Research Station Brochure or contact David Sumpter at dsumpter@wildlandsconservation.org.