Give the Gift of Green

The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.

Blue jay, Oklahoma, USA. Photo © Harvey Payne.

One of my favorite conservation organizations is The Nature Conservancy.  It’s hard to argue with their success—more than 119 million acres of land, 5,000 miles of rivers, and 100 marine projects worldwide have received protection as a result of their efforts.  Even more important than the scale of their success is the manner in which it has been achieved using science and a decidedly non-confrontational focus on partnerships.  I have seen this approach in action in my own state of Missouri at Victoria Glade and at Four Canyon Preserve in Oklahoma, where prescribed burns, managed grazing, and removal of woody vegetation are restoring significant examples of our nation’s unique grasslands to their presettlement glory. 

Yangtze River, China. Photo © Dou Weiyang.

The intial focus of the Conservancy’s conservation efforts was simple: preserve wilderness by buying land. As environmental challenges have increased, the Conservancy has adopted a diversity of tactics to acheive sustainable conservation results.  The Conservancy relies heavily on membership to fund these conservation efforts, with 60% of revenues coming from individuals. A fun and creative way to support the work of the Conservancy during this Holiday Season is through their Green Gift Guide, which offers unique gifts that will go twice as far; pleasing the recipient while at the same time helping the Conservancy in their efforts to protect the world’s most precious habitats for future generations. Following are their Top 5 Green Holiday Gifts:     

  1. Adopt an Acre.  You can choose whether your gift protects unbroken swaths of Appalachians forest, mountain streams in the Rockies, meandering Southern bayous or miles of beautiful sandy beaches where US and Mexico border, or Adopt an Acre abroad in Africa, Australia or Costa Rica.
  2. Plant Trees in the Atlantic Forest. Part of the Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign, each tree purchased will be planted in the Atlantic Forest, one of the world’s biggest and most endangered tropical forests.
  3. Adopt a Coral Reef. This unique gift will help protect the coral reefs and beautiful seascapes found in Palau, the Dominican Republic or Papua New Guinea.
  4. Help Save the Northern Jaguar (NEW THIS YEAR). Help to protect the large landscapes that northern jaguars need to flourish. Jaguars roam from as far south as Patagonia all the way to Arizona and New Mexico and your gift will help to provide the dense jungle and scrubland they enjoy.
  5. Give the Gift of Clean Water. Freshwater ecosystems water our crops, light our homes and bring us joy. Help to protect the flow and supply of fresh water and ensuring the well-being of our own species.

For additional eco-friendly holiday gift ideas, visit the Conservancy’s Green Gift Guide.  

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2009

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About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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6 Responses to Give the Gift of Green

  1. Dave says:

    Hard to argue with their mission statement – setting aside ‘natural’ areas is the only method that is likely to preserve low human impact assemblages for any length of time or allow them to change in their own ways. I’m willing to ignore the few scandals I’ve read about NC and continue to support them. But – there isn’t a lot of choice given how politicized (or perhaps it is religionized) and anti-scientific most other environmental groups have become. I hope NC is doing a better job than the National Park system.

    PS – the Nature Conservancy link appears broken – 404 Error

    • Hi Dave, yes I agree. TNC’s longstanding focus on acquiring critical habitats and applying science-based management to them has always been what made them rise to the top in my mind as far as the types of conservation organizations that I want to support. They’ve been somewhat forced to expand their toolbox of strategies, but as long as land acquisition remains a primary focus I’ll be satisfied.

      Links fixed – sometimes I couldn’t even HTML my way out of a paper bag!

  2. Thanks for this post, Ted. We’re always looking for positive organizations to give to, but often it’s difficult to know who is going to use donation money most effectively. This taught us a lot about the Nature Conservancy, and has inspired us to do additional research. We’ve often dreamed ourselves of purchasing land to set aside for nature (it’s sad that it’s come to the point in history when we have to think like this!), so it’s good to see a large organization that was founded on this idea.

  3. jason says:

    I’m only just starting to realize the scope of their endeavors and holdings. Impressive thus far. And like every other organization I support, I can always find fault with one little thing here or there, but they’re definitely working toward just aims. Can’t fault them that.

    Now off to look for nearby preserves I can visit…

    • If it’s like here in Missouri, there are a huge number of little publicized preserves that I didn’t know about. They tend to be unique, highly threatened communities that are probably best served remaining under the radar.

      I know I’d much rather see my donations helping pay for land rather than lobbyist salaries (although I appreciate the latter is just as important to the conservation movement on the whole).

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