Karen DiBari – National Forest Foundation
Meet Karen DiBari – Director, Conservation Connect at the National Forest Foundation
Karen DiBari works with the National Forest Foundation as the Director of Conservation Connect. She oversees two of the 14 treasured landscape sites. She also works with collaborative groups to try and work together on ways to steward our national forests and grasslands.
Conservation Connect serves community-based groups and Forest Service employees involved in collaborative stewardship on National Forest System lands. Conservation Connect complements the National Forest foundations grants programs.
One of the treasured landscapes she works with is the Ocala National Forest, located north of Orlando Florida. this forest stands at 383,000 acres as the largest national forest east of the Mississippi River. Ocala National Forest is home to the largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest and is protected by organizations like the National Forest Foundation.
With more than 600 lakes, springs, and rivers Ocala National Forest is also a very important source of fresh water for both wildlife and surrounding communities. It also has some of the most pristine aquifer springs in the country.
The Ocala National Forest’s ecosystems provide habitat for many endangered species. This includes bald eagles, Florida panthers and Florida’s declining bear population. Each year a wide variety of birds flock to the Ocala for winter nesting. Occurring only in Florida and rich in endemic and rare species like the endangered Florida scrub-jay, the big scrub ecosystem is considered globally jeopardized.
Through the efforts of people like Karen, organizations like the National Forest Foundation, and conservative efforts behind responsible forestry and sustainable harvesting, we can ensure that national forests in both the US and around the world stay healthy and dense for generations to come.