Finalists Named for Central Florida's 2016 Cox Conserves Heroes Program, Public Asked to Vote


Program to donate $20,000 to environmental nonprofits in Central Florida

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- WFTV 9 Family Connection and The Trust for Public Land are recognizing volunteers who are creating, preserving or enhancing community outdoor spaces. Jeri Baldwin, Shanta Barton-Stubbs and Eric Gardze have been selected as finalists for Central Florida's 2016 Cox Conserves Heroes program, and the public is being asked to vote now through September 28.  To vote, visit

A total of $20,000 will be donated to local environmental nonprofits on behalf of the three finalists. Each finalist has secured a $5,000 donation for his or her environmental nonprofit of choice. The finalists are now competing for an additional $5,000 – bringing the total award to $10,000 for the winner's nonprofit of choice. The winner will be chosen through an online public vote.

Central Florida's 2016 Cox Conserves Heroes Finalists
Jeri Baldwin, a Marion County resident, has helped place thousands of acres into a farmland preservation area through the Marion County Citizens Coalition. She tirelessly advocates for water and soil, access to healthy food and the preservation of indigenous wildlife. Baldwin holds educational programs and awareness seminars with local schools vet programs and more. Her nonprofit of choice is Crones Cradle Conserve Foundation.

Shanta Barton-Stubbs, an Orange County resident, is connecting students with gardening and healthy living. Through the New Image Youth Center, students created a community garden where they grow and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables. The program also includes cooking and exercise classes to encourage healthy, active lifestyles. Her nonprofit of choice is New Image Youth Center.

Eric Gardze, a Brevard County resident, wears many hats as a volunteer with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. His work includes shoreline cleanups, trail maintenance, facility repairs, invasive plant removal and school group education. He also volunteers with the Florida Wildlife Hospital and the Florida Trail Association to connect people with land and animals. His nonprofit of choice is Merritt Island Wildlife Association.

Central Florida's Cox Conserves Hero will be announced in Oct.

The national Cox Conserves Heroes program was created in 2008 through a partnership between The Trust for Public Land and Cox Enterprises, the parent company of WFTV Channel 9. The partnership stems from Cox Enterprises' national Cox Conserves sustainability program that focuses on reducing waste and energy consumption, conserving water and inspiring eco-friendly behavior.

Cox Conserves Heroes also takes place in Arizona, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Washington and Virginia.

For more information, visit or Facebook.

Social Media: #CoxConservesHeroes and #CoxConservesHero

About WFTV Channel 9:
Part of Cox Media Group, WFTV Channel 9 is an ABC affiliate serving Central Florida. Cox Media Group is an integrated broadcasting, publishing, direct marketing and digital media company that includes the national advertising rep firms of CoxReps. Additionally, CMG owns Cox Target Media, which operates Valpak, one of North America's leading direct marketing companies, and, a leading online source for savings. The company's operations currently include 14 broadcast television stations and one local cable channel, 60 radio stations, six daily newspapers and more than a dozen non-daily publications, and more than 100 digital services. CMG currently operates in more than 20 media markets and reaches approximately 52 million Americans weekly, including more than 31 million TV viewers, more than 3.5 million newspaper readers, and more than 14 million radio listeners. For more information about Cox Media Group, please check us out online at

About The Trust for Public Land:
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come.  Millions of people live within a one-half mile walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.  To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit

About Cox Conserves:
Launched in 2007 by Chairman Jim Kennedy, Cox Conserves is Cox Enterprises' national sustainability program. Cox Conserves focuses on reducing waste and energy consumption, as well as conserving water. The program engages each of the company's major subsidiaries (Cox Communications, Cox Automotive and Cox Media Group) and encourages Cox Enterprises' 60,000 employees and their families to engage in eco-friendly practices.

SOURCE Cox Enterprises

For further information: Michelle Stevens, WFTV, 407-822-5632,; Kristen Anderson, The Trust for Public Land, 415-800-5178,; Elizabeth Olmstead, Cox Enterprises, 678-645-0762,


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