Our Blog

Redefining Conservation

August 3, 2020|By Chris Hanson

Middle school science teacher and coach, Chris Hanson, spends way more time outside than your average educator. Over his 22 years of teaching in Brainerd, Minnesota, Mr. Hanson has made outdoor learning and nature-based activities a key part of his curriculum. And thanks to a recent conservation effort, his school’s outdoor learning space just got a whole lot bigger.

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July 20, 2020|By Chiara D'Amore, Executive Director of the Community Ecology Institute

Freetown Farm in Maryland is a small farm with a big vision. Seeing the farm’s potential and a unique opportunity for community education, food production, and sustainable environmental practices, The Conservation Fund provided Community Ecology Institute with a bridge loan to help them purchase the farm in the Summer of 2019 and secure their future. Now, CEI’s executive director Chiara D’Amore shares their progress over the past year, and what amazing things they’ve accomplished for their community.

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July 10, 2020|By Eric Wuestewald

Over hundreds of years, logging, farming and heavy industrial development released significant pollution and agricultural run-off into the Saginaw Bay, Michigan watershed. That contamination, combined with overfishing, destroyed much of the native fish population and their breeding reefs throughout the bay. The Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network has been working for years to rebuild these historic fish spawning habitats. The culmination of this work can be seen in the 15-minute long documentary.

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June 29, 2020|By Will Allen, Vice President, Conservation Services
The Atlanta Beltline. Photo by Stacy Funderburke.

While there are many ways to improve cities and urban living in a post-Covid-19 world, The Conservation Fund's Will Allen offers four steps we can take now to promote nature in cities, to reduce crowding, and to improve urban density’s natural advantages to foster economic resilience and efficiency.

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June 11, 2020|By Kelly Reed, Senior Vice President of Government Relations
As Americans seek economic relief, recovery and a path forward that addresses the many challenges we face, we have a tremendous opportunity to protect and enhance access to our public lands.

We are currently advocating enactment of the Great American Outdoors Act, which includes full and permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). If enacted, America will have the greatest conservation legislative victory in over 50 years, with benefits for local communities and the special places we love to visit. 

But what exactly is LWCF and why should you know about it?

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May 26, 2020|By The Conservation Fund
Farmers—the folks who spend their days in the dirt and bring fresh food to our tables—have always been some of the most resilient and critical members of American society. This was true long before the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of access to fresh food. 

Nicolas Donck is one of those people. He’s a farmer, and one of the many unsung American heroes helping meet our needs during these uncertain times. Nicolas owns and operates Crystal Organic Farm, one of the very first USDA certified organic farms in the state of Georgia, conveniently located an hour east of downtown Atlanta. He has always been forward-thinking about the evolving needs for farms and farmers—setting a precedent for how other small and mid-size farms can run profitable businesses, create new markets, and grow the local food needed to sustain communities. 

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April 23, 2020|By The Conservation Fund

The COVID-19 Pandemic is dramatically changing the American landscape with immediate and long-term impacts. For gateway and rural communities, economic drivers are at a virtual standstill. Cities and towns all over the country are left asking, “What should our community do now?” 

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April 20, 2020|By The Conservation Fund
Photo by Stacy Funderburke.
This week, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and as we face unique and challenging circumstances across the planet, we realize now more than ever how the Earth supports us, and what we can do to support it.

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March 21, 2020|By The Conservation Fund
Photo by Jerry Monkman.

In the midst of a tree planting craze to fight climate change, we must remember that protecting existing, mature trees is a crucial part of our planet’s long-term health.

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February 25, 2020|By Robin Murphy

Yale University has convened prominent voices across party and ideological lines to re-energize solutions for environmental sustainability across the full spectrum of issues. What started as a conversation and then consensus among Yale faculty has evolved into the book A Better Planet: 40 Big Ideas for a Sustainable Future. Recently published by Yale University Press, this lively set of essays—collected from a wide variety of perspectives, disciplines and political starting points—offers significant ways to move sustainability solutions forward.

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February 17, 2020|By Autumn Rivera
Sixth grade science students observing the Colorado River. Photo by Autumn Rivera.

Now in her fifteenth year of teaching middle school science, Autumn Rivera is continuously impressed with her student’s creativity and willingness to try new things. But even she was blown away by their dedication to help save Sweetwater Lake—a beautiful landscape about an hour’s drive from Glenwood Springs Middle School where she teaches. Find out how these young conservationists chose to support a cause near and dear to their teacher’s heart.

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January 27, 2020|By Eric Wuestewald

Female entrepreneurs are vital to society, and yet, they receive significantly less start-up capital than male-owned businesses. In the last two years, 50 percent of the Natural Capital Investment Fund’s loans have gone to women borrowers starting natural resource-based businesses and providing vital community services. EcoGroup is one such business, and is the second to be featured in our series on female entrepreneurs.

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January 13, 2020|By Olivia Percoco
Photo by Yesenia Cuello.
Social change is taking root in the soils of North Carolina via a growing youth food justice network. In support of this movement, The Conservation Fund’s Resourceful Communities Program recently hosted a Peer Learning Visit specifically for entrepreneurial youth of color interested in farming. We gathered 19 young participants to learn about how minority-led agricultural enterprises can flourish in North Carolina, and also change the way we think about and grow food.

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December 23, 2019|By Val Keefer
Photo courtesy of Jerry Monkman.
We live in a fragile environment, and conversations around how it’s changing—and what we’re doing to help—have never been more prevalent. There is a lot to be done, but it’s important to reflect on and learn from the milestones already achieved alongside our partners and supporters as we gear up for 2020. From protecting some of our nation’s cleanest drinking water to conserving habitat for the East Coast’s highest concentration of bald eagles, conservation across America is scaling up and making momentous impacts. Check out our top five highlights from 2019.

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December 16, 2019|By Eric Wuestewald
Female entrepreneurs are vital to society. And yet, they receive significantly less start-up capital than male-owned businesses. In the last two years, 50% of the Natural Capital Investment Fund’s loans have gone to women borrowers starting natural resource-based businesses and providing vital community services. STARworks is one such business. 

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December 9, 2019|By Da-Mosi M. Brown-Gorham

The Conservation Fund’s 2019 Charles Jordan Intern sought to tackle a highly important yet unfortunately overlooked aspect of America’s history: the documentation and preservation of African American and Indigenous burial sites. The Fund is proud of all Da-Mosi M. Brown-Gorham has accomplished to date, and we look forward to following his work as a historic cemetery preservationist.

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December 2, 2019|By The Conservation Fund
Photo credit: Adam Mowery

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November 29, 2019|By Eric Wuestewald

Years ago, the vitality of Hayesville—a small, rural town in the southwest corner of North Carolina and the county seat of Clay County—was fading. Then a small group of volunteers known as the Clay County Communities Revitalization Association (CCCRA) came together and used the community’s unique culture, history and heritage to bring their hometown back to life. 

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