The Nature Conservancy accomplished over 600 goals this year in the form of projects and transactions. With support from partners, volunteers, and supporters they restored oyster reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and helped China to form a national conservation plan, and that’s just a sample of the range of success stories. Environmental losses and climate change continue to challenge the life-sustaining capacity of our planet. Weather got weirder in 2011. We saw tragic and terrifying impacts of the climate crisis—floods, wildfires, droughts, and on and on. It’s not all bad news. Let’s review a few successes brought to you by the Nature Conservancy.
Over the course of two chilly days in January 2011, In Alabama ‘s Helen Wood Park, 545 volunteers heaved 16,000 bags of oyster shells (most of them weighing well over 15 pounds) through mud that often swallowed them up to their knees. Just 10 months later, Conservancy scientists are already seeing the ecological benefits of the first quarter mile of artificial oyster reef. The oyster reefs are protecting the shoreline by breaking the waves, the marsh grass is coming back and birds and fish can be seen using the reef.
The purchase of Australia’sFish River Station–450,000 acres of savannah woodlands, rainforest and important flood plains for the Daly River — was funded by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Australian Government, the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) and Pew Environment Group at a cost of $13 million. A former cattle ranch in Northern Australia was handed back to aboriginal ownership and managed for conservation. For first time, conservation non-government organizations in Australia have been involved in purchasing land that will be handed back to its indigenous owners, taking The Nature Conservancy to a new and exciting phase of its work in northern Australia. Fish River Station boasts a huge mix of natural systems that shelter a number of threatened species, including northern quolls and Gouldian finches.
The Nature Conservancy has worked to protect forest watersheds including important projects in the Upper Mississippi River Valley and Santa Fe. These watersheds are essential to biotic and human health. John Wesley Powell, geologist, explorer, defined a watershed as:
“That area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community.”
Nearly one in every four plant species on Earth can be found in Brazil. That is part of the reason the Nature Conservancy’s efforts to train indigenous peoples and farmers to protect their forests and rivers represent essential work. Amazon Indigenous Training Center, known locally as CAFI, a groundbreaking initiative for indigenous people in the Amazon. The Nature Conservancy.aims to empower a new generation of leaders for the conservation of Amazon indigenous lands—an area the size of California, Arizona, Florida, New York and Texas combined—which are largely intact compared to surrounding landscapes. Chosen by their indigenous organizations to participate, these young men and women live in Manaus for up to nine months and attend classes at the center each day. Their training includes coursework in basic project management; Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other technologies; environmental planning and management, and environmental and indigenous policy.
These are just three of the world –wide success stories.The Nature Conservancy raises money from people who care about the planet. They accept donations and suggest promotions such as Green Gift Monday and Earth Day celebrations. Watch the video to see more.