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Mr. Eric Obeck

Hancock Whitney Bank Legacy of Citizenship in the Gulf Region

From time to time, the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida sits down with its supporters to better understand what compels their interest in wildlife conservation. One such donor is Hancock Whitney Bank, a principal sponsor of the Foundation’s annual BlueGreen gala. Foundation President and CEO Andrew Walker spoke recently with Hancock Whitney Senior Regional President Eric Obeck in Tampa about the Bank’s history, values and motivations as a corporate citizen in Florida and elsewhere in the Gulf South.


Everglades City, post-Hurricane Irma
Everglades City, post-Hurricane Irma (credit: FWC)

Maverick Boat Group Assists Irma-Hit Recreational Fishing Industry

It’s been three months since Hurricane Irma funneled up the middle of Florida, coming ashore in the middle Keys and Gulf side of South Florida with a wall of water and mud.

Though more has been reported from the Keys, Everglades City and Chokoloskee, on the northwest side of Everglades National Park, were among the hardest-hit communities. The recreational fishing industry, on which much of the local economy depends, was devastated. Many boat captains lost their homes, boats and/or gear. Those able to start up again saw much of their fall business evaporate during post-Irma closure of the National Park and the lack of functioning hotels in town.

To help the South Florida recreational fishing industry get back on its feet, Maverick Boat Group and the nonprofit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida have announced recovery grants to 12 recreational fishing guides in Everglades City and Chokoloskee.


Eric Sutton

FWC appoints Eric Sutton as executive director

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to appoint Eric Sutton, assistant executive director, to the position of executive director, effective Dec. 8. Nick Wiley, current executive director, retires later this month. Commissioners touted Sutton’s extensive experience with challenging conservation issues and his positive relationships with fellow FWC staff.


Ignacio Borbolla & FWC

FWC Honors Ignacio Borbolla for Youth Conservation & Education Work

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has honored Coral Gables businessman Ignacio Borbolla for his conservation and outdoor education work with Miami-area high school students.

FWC’s Distinguished Service Award was presented in Miami before an audience of 60 FWC officers, staff and students from the Christopher Columbus High School Anglers Club.


FWC Rescue

Giving Thanks: Hurricane Irma Relief Fund passes $125,000 mark.

Thanks to an outpouring from our donors and the public, the Fish & Wildlife Foundation has raised and is distributing $113,000 to date to FWC staff and their families hardest hit by Hurricane Irma. The Foundation, in partnership with the Maverick Boat Group, is also distributing $20,000 from Maverick to aid South Florida’s recreational fishing industry.

“We’re very pleased by the outpouring of donations,” said Foundation CEO Andrew Walker. "There is still much to be done in South Florida, however, and we hope more people will take time this Thanksgiving Weekend to make a new or additional donation to our fund.”

To make a tax-deductible donation, visit this link.


FWC Rescue

Hurricane Irma: Please Give to the Emergency Assistance Fund to help FWC Families and the Fishing Community

During Hurricane Harvey, 150 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission [FWC] officers and specialists worked around the clock in Houston and surrounding cities and towns to rescue people trapped by the unprecedented flood waters. These FWC staff, and hundreds more like them, now face the challenges of Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest storms to hit the United States in recorded history.

The same is true for the Florida fishing community. Many of Florida’s fishing guides and family commercial fishermen and women have been badly affected by Hurricane Irma, with losses that insurance only partly covers.

The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is collecting donations to help with the widespread damage and destruction from Hurricane Irma and related recovery needs. Our hometown heroes that helped those in need in Texas now need our help. So do the guides and family commercial fishermen and women who make Florida’s fishing economy so vibrant and strong. --Please give today! No donation is too small. Thank you!!


Our Mission

The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida works closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other public and private partners to protect the full array of our state’s native animals and plants and the lands and waters they need to survive. We are also dedicated to ensuring public access to Florida’s outstanding natural areas, and we work closely with the Florida Youth Conservation Center Network to help provide 100,000 children and adolescents every year with formative outdoor experiences. Since 1994, the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida has raised and given away more than $25 million to support conservation. Recent grants include the following:

  • Given $325,000 to outfit the new Suncoast Youth Conservation Center in Apollo Beach with kayaks, fishing gear, binoculars, microscopes, aquariums, furniture and much more.
  • Purchased with Volusia County’s help a one-acre parcel in New Smyrna Beach as a public boat launch managed by the nonprofit Marine Discovery Center.
  • Made a $325,000 challenge grant, matched by a $500,000 State appropriation, to provide homeowners across Florida with bear-proof garbage cans to minimize bear-human conflicts.
  • Invested $36,000 in successful development of a smartphone app for reporting fish disease and mortality events.

Goliath Grouper

  • Made grants of $450,000 over the past three years to multiple organizations working to restore and conserve Florida’s famous freshwater springs.
  • Provided $70,000 for improving mobility-impaired access to state Wildlife Management Areas as well as funding for new deer-cleaning stations.
  • Provided $261,000 in research funds for the critically endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow.
  • Cooperated with the Florida Aquarium and Tampa Electric Company to grow native corals for restoring dead reefs in the Florida Keys.

Be a Force for Nature! Please donate today!