The Rafael Crespo Conservation Endowment

UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center

The Rafael Crespo Conservation Endowment is a testament to the power of collaborative efforts.

Established August 2016, the endowment honors Rafael Crespo Jr., who was the lead biologist for the University’s American Crocodile Monitoring Program. He dedicated his life to protecting the environment and wildlife of South Florida. Many of Rafael’s family, friends and coworkers came together to create the endowment honoring Rafael and ensuring his legacy will live on to benefit the wildlife and wild places he loved.

Endowments at the University of Florida are invested funds, whose generated interest perpetually supports an area of the donor’s choosing. The Crespo endowment supports crocodilian research, specifically in South Florida and the Caribbean.

The first award will be presented to Dr. Natalia Rossi, a talented researcher working on a collaborative project focused on the endangered Cuban crocodile. Natalia and Rafael conducted crocodile research together during her dissertation work, and it was one of Raf’s many dreams to study Cuban crocs. With Cuba’s wildlife and wild places at a critical crossroads, Natalia leads the development of Wildlife Conservation Society’s Cuba program to strengthen Cuba’s protected areas management, conserve critical species and promote sustainable fisheries. This endowment will ensure Raf’s dream is made possible and help sustain the important crocodilian research that was so meaningful to him.

Natalia will be presented with the first Rafael Crespo Conservation Award at the Summer CrocFest, held at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter, FL on June 24, 2017.

You can support The Rafael Crespo Conservation Endowment here, or by mailing a check to UF/IFAS Advancement, PO Box 110170, Gainesville, FL 32611 (payable to UF Foundation; memo: Crespo Fund).

More information about the endowment can be read here.