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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Plum Creek Foundation to help rebuild a learning center destroyed by fire in 2011.
The facility, located on Lake Mize in the Austin Cary Memorial Forest just north of Gainesville, will give forestry faculty and students, as well as the public, a venue for enjoying and researching the forest while attending meetings, classes or special events.
“We are committed to building an even better learning center,” said Tim White, director of the school, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “Our goal will be to promote the awareness of the many roles that forests play in the economy, environment and society.”
The gift was made official in late February during a ceremony at the Austin Cary forest. UF officials hope to raise $1.5 million in private donations to build a new center that will meet today’s size and technology needs, White said.
Administrators have set a target of drawing 25,000 visitors each year, including UF students, faculty, professionals, K-12 students, municipal and county government officials and the public.
Plum Creek, a company that produces materials that supply businesses with wood, pulp and paper products, is the nation’s largest private landowner, with some 6.6 million acres of timberlands. The Plum Creek Foundation awards grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the company’s operating areas.
“Appreciation for natural resources and support of conservation require first-hand experiences,” said Rose Fagler, community relations manager for Plum Creek in Florida. “We are excited to help provide students and other visitors a hands-on opportunity to learn about North Florida forests.”
Source: Tim White, firstname.lastname@example.org, (352) 846-0850
Caption: UF/IFAS and Plum Creek Foundation officials pose with an oversized check to commemorate a $75,000 gift from the company to help rebuild a learning center at the Austin Cary memorial forest site. The previous building was destroyed by fire in 2011.