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Welcome to the Paper Bear

We are excited to launch a new charity that will bring awareness and educate others about the incredible biodiversity in the Florida Panhandle.

Florida Biodiversity Heat Map
Florida Biodiversity Heat Map

Biodiversity is a phrase used to describe the tremendous variety of life on Earth. It is also used more specifically to refer to all species in one region. The Florida Panhandle is a national treasure and one of North America's five richest biodiverse hotspots.

Each year millions of people visit the area for gorgeous beaches with soft white sand and emerald-colored waters. Most are unaware of the countless other natural wonders beyond the scenic beaches. Residents and visitors must understand the full scope of the natural wonders that make up this biological hotspot and how they can live in better harmony.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, The Nature Conservancy, and other conservation groups have highlighted private and public areas crucial to protecting the biodiversity of the Panhandle. Many of these lands are dwindling as countless developers transform them to meet an ever-growing demand for homes, hotels, shopping centers, and other amenities needed to accommodate the rapidly increasing population.

Action and education are needed to prevent the loss of endangered and threatened species who depend on these lands for survival. We must bring awareness and education to the general public to help accommodate the growing population and spark more environmentally conscious ways to develop the land.

More than 100 "species of special concern," threatened species, and endangered species are found in Walton and Santa Rose Counties alone. This area gets millions of visitors each year. One of the best ways to help protect these species is to focus on a few known umbrella species. An umbrella species is selected for conservation protection because its protection indirectly affects other species within its ecosystem. The black bear is a migratory animal that depends on numerous critical ecosystems for survival. It is the perfect "umbrella species" to help protect countless others in the Panhandle.

Florida Black Bear
Florida Black Bear

Suppose more awareness and admiration for the Florida Black Bear is achieved. In that case, it will help conservationists and policymakers move to identify additional reserve locations and "land bridges" needed to connect already existing conservation lands in the Panhandle. The idea of isolated pockets of conservation land is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Scientists have learned that conservation lands need to be connected, allowing biodiversity to move freely between them. The concept of the umbrella species has been successfully utilized before to quickly and inexpensively create wildlife corridors and implement laws and regulations that protect the larger ecosystems the umbrella species depend on to survive.

Florida Timber Boom
Florida Timber Boom

Our first film will begin a movement that will show the level of biodiversity in the Panhandle as seen through the eyes of the Florida black bear. The story will help build a love and admiration for the animal, establishing its role as an umbrella species in the region. The film's title nods to the region's history and how its biodiversity was almost lost during the great timber boom of the late 1800s.

We look forward to sharing more details about our new charity and our first film that has been developing over the last couple of years. Please sign up for more updates and share our site with others to help us build more momentum towards our goal.


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