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Celery Fields to Get Re-Wilded

Gulf Coast Community Foundation awards $75,000 to Sarasota Audubon for Re-Wilding the Quad Parcels

The Sarasota Audubon Society recently received a $75,000 grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation in support of their joint project with Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to re-wild the Quad Parcels at the Celery Fields.

“We are grateful to Gulf Coast Community Foundation for their on-going support for the re-wilding of the Quad Parcels,” said Jeanne Dubi, president of Sarasota Audubon Society. “Their investment in this project will transform the Quad Parcels into habitat that supports a greater diversity of birds and wildlife and becomes a special destination for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

“We are honored to provide this grant to Sarasota Audubon Society for the re-wilding of the Quad Parcels at the Celery Fields, including an improved and expanded water storage and filtration system for flood prevention and improved water quality,” said Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Senior Vice President for Community Leadership Jon Thaxton. “Sarasota Audubon and Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast are two gems in our region, working every day to improve and conserve our precious lands, birds, and wildlife.”

The two environmental not-for-profits have been working together since late 2020 when the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners gifted the 33-acre property adjacent to the Celery Fields to the community as a conservation easement, protecting it from development forever. Commissioners tasked Sarasota Audubon Society with managing the properties and Conservation Foundation with managing the conservation easement. The two organizations are fundraising to improve this community destination for people, birds, and other wildlife.

The Quad Parcels, located at the intersection of Palmer Blvd and Apex Road, buffer the western edge of the 440-acre Celery Fields from industrial areas. With more than 250 species recorded here, the Celery Fields is a nationally and internationally recognized birding hotspot and vital to water quality and flood protection in the region. The re-wilding will increase habitat for birds and other wildlife and, at the same time, expand water storage and filtration to help with flood prevention and improved water quality.Sarasota Audubon and Conservation Foundation are currently in the permitting phase of their project and look forward to starting the physical transformation of the three protected parcels in the near future. Envisioned improvements include extensive plantings, meadows, woodland areas, additional trails, high and low point of terrain along a meandering stream, shaded picnic areas, ADA-compliant walkways, a bird blind/observation platform, facilities, a discovery area for kids, and more.

To learn more about the re-wilding of the Quad Parcels or to make a donation, please visit: www.SarasotaAudubon.org/quad.
Photo Sarasota Audubon Society