Conservationist Elizabeth Moore Named President of TREE Foundation

Todays News

BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY NOV 6, 2019

Sarasota conservationist and philanthropist Elizabeth Moore has been named president of the TREE Foundation, an international non-profit organization based in Sarasota dedicated to tree and forest research, exploration, education and conservation across the globe. Moore, a supporter of regional environmental activities in southwest Florida, will begin her three-year term as president on January 1, 2020. 

Moore is well-known in southwest Florida conservation and philanthropic circles as a woman fiercely devoted to not just championing but also personally funding initiatives that protect the planet and provide education about the environment.  In 2016, Moore gifted $2 million to Mote Marine Laboratory for its efforts to establish a coral reef research facility in the Florida Keys,; the Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration opened in 2017 on Summerland Key. As well, she donated over $1 million to the creation of the 6,000-square-foot Marine Science Center at St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Bradenton. Also in 2016, with help from the Conservation Foundation of Gulf Coast, Moore purchased Triangle Ranch, an 1,100-acre parcel of land near Myakka River State Park.  The land is now permanently preserved via a conservation easement that protects it from development. Moore serves on several boards as well, including the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, the Lemur Conservation Foundation, WUSF Public Media, as well as the Boys and Girls Club of Manatee County. 

In her new role, Moore will work closely with TREE Foundation Founder and Executive Director Margaret Lowman, Ph.D. As the organization ushers in its third decade in 2020, it will ramp up its mission to save local and global forests, as well as continuing to promote environmental education for youth. One of Moore's top priorities will be advancing the foundation's global canopy program which aims to build canopy walkways or "bridges" in the world's highest biodiversity forests where species of plants and animals are most at risk.  The canopy walkway in Myakka River State Park, the brainchild of Dr. Lowman, was North America’s first public canopy walkway, and continues to attract large numbers of visitors and economic revenue to the park and region.

Using the Myakka canopy walkway as a global model, and partnering with the National Geographic organization and the EO Wilson Foundation, the TREE Foundation is targeting 10 global hotspots for canopy walkways, an approximately $10 million-dollar undertaking that is currently half-funded. The canopy walkways not only preserve species, but particularly in economically challenged countries, canopy walkways enable locals to earn sustainable livings from ecotourism as opposed to environmentally destructive, short-sighted practices such as logging. Areas under consideration for walkways include forests in Mozambique, Madagascar, Malaysia, the California Redwoods, and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Learn more at the TREE Foundation's website, treefoundation.org.

Pictured: The TREE Foundation hosted National Geographic Explorer Carlton Ward Jr., as guest speaker at its 20th anniversary celebration of the Myakka River State Park treetop canopy walkway, held October 30, 2019 at the Finish Tower at Nathan Benderson P

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