This summer, Popcorn Palace is recognizing amazing charities and fundraising efforts that are making an impact in their communities. This week, we are looking at The Nature Conservancy, an organization that emphasizes pragmatic scientific solutions to answer urgent bio-diverse issues!
The Nature Conservancy started as a small group of scientist with an interest in finding a way to use their ecological research to create positive environmental impact. Forming the Ecologist Union in 1946, they resolved to use their research and work with politicians and businesses to preserve threatened natural areas. The group later changed its name to The Nature Conservancy and grew to become the leader in nature preservation around the world.
Nature conservancy would not be possible without the heroic help of kind donors and passionate volunteers. One such hero was 13-year-old Dylan Bimka-Wintrob from Upstate New York who used his bar mitzvah to raise money to save the rare and elusive spirit bear in British Columbia, Canada. For his bar mitzvah, Dylan organized a presentation to talk about the endangered spirit bear and raised $867 dollars. This donation, along with many others, helped secure 19 million acres to be placed under strict land-use agreements to protect more than five million acres of the Great Bear Rainforest from commercial logging or extractive uses.
The Nature Conservancy’s work ranges from protecting the grasslands of North Australia to the marine parks across the Caribbean. They also guide preservation efforts through the use of intensive scientific research, partnering with indigenous communities, and non-confrontational solutions. They understood the key to land conservation was in using pragmatic science to bring a balance between extracting resources for human use and avoiding disruption within the natural landscape. The overall goal is to ensure the long term survival of all biodiversity on Earth by seeking solutions that will meet the needs of people as well as wildlife and ecosystems.
Effective conservation is achieved through the help of the people who live on those lands. Through The Nature Conservancy, indigenous peoples are positioned as conservation leaders to target urgent threats through securing land tenure and access, supporting indigenous rights and improving governance. For example, in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest, four First Nation’s communities collaborated with The Nature Conservancy to create the Supporting Emerging Aboriginal Stewards (SEAS) Community Initiative, a program that empowers young leaders to be stewards of their land.
Not only does The Nature Conservancy connect with the indigenous peoples, but they also help businesses, governments, and local organizations meet their resource conservation goals. The Nature Conservancy’s Amazon Program helped partner the Brazilian Government with indigenous peoples of the Amazon to create the country’s first ever National Policy on Territorial and Environmental Management of Indigenous Lands (PNGATI).
The Nature Conservancy works with youth to explore learning and volunteer opportunities. Nature.org has an interactive map that allows families and youth groups around the United States plan trips to state natural areas and wildlife sanctuaries. The Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program was founded in 1995 as an initiative to offer urban youth both career development and a hands-on environmental stewardship experience. Students take part in ecological research, restoration projects, and natural resource management. Since then, the LEAF program has activities in 28 states as well as a legacy of over 1,000 interns.
Next week, we’ll recognize another organization whose work is an inspiration for people to do good for their community. If you have any questions on how to find or start a fundraiser for an organization in need near you, please contact us below!