Our Blog

Redefining Conservation

November 30, 2015|By Dave Phillips
Dave Phillips. Courtesy photo.

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November 29, 2015|By Monica Jain

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November 23, 2015|By Frances Kennedy and Larry Selzer
Frances Kennedy. Photo by Robin Murphy/The Conservation Fund.

A Conversation with Frances Kennedy


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November 16, 2015|By Jesalyn Keziah and Julius Tillery
Micro-market gardens support community health and local producers.

Increasing access to the great outdoors doesn’t refer only to large projects, such as setting aside parks and preserving working land and waterways. It can also be accomplished at a local level to ensure that people have access to the outdoors in their own communities. 

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November 9, 2015|By Michelle Sullivan
Michelle Sullivan, center.
At U-Haul, our team members live in the communities they serve. We hire locally because we want our employees to have a personal investment and share our corporate commitment to growth in their communities. Our team never forgets that our quality self-move, self-storage services and products are to improve human lives. U-Haul appreciates its obligation to the communities in which we do business, and for many years we have focused on the endorsement of social programs by partnering with organizations and events that directly serve the most basic of human needs.

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November 2, 2015|By Shannon Lee
Fund employees at the ribbon cutting, L to R: Andrew Schock, Shannon Lee, and Stacy Funderburke. Photo by Whitney Flanagan.
I grew up in Cabbagetown, a historic inner-city neighborhood situated 1.5 miles east of downtown Atlanta, Georgia. During the 1980s my neighborhood was poor, under-resourced, neglected and lacked green space, leaving its residents disconnected from the natural environment.

The only real natural areas we had were the overgrown, vacant lots where demolished homes were replaced by kudzu alleyways ripe for adventure. There was also an abandoned elementary school in the middle of the neighborhood, directly across from my house. For a while, it was used as a community center, but mostly it was just left empty. Out back, there was a dirt field, but it had so much broken glass you dare not ride your bike across the yard. Not exactly a great place to play.

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October 26, 2015|By Jena Thompson Meredith
Jena Thompson Meredith
My grandfather taught me that the customer is always right. Years later, I would put his good guidance into practice as I worked my way through college as a barista at Starbucks. I loved it. I had a reliable paycheck, great tips, a free pound of coffee a week and health insurance—all critical to my 19-year-old wellbeing. We were highly encouraged to put the customer first, and given significant leeway to ensure every customer left happy. There was no stress over trying to haggle over a return or a refund. “You aren’t satisfied? That’s okay. What can we do to fix it?” And it was done.

That commitment to service pays off. According to a 2014 survey of 10,000 US consumers asked to rate their customer service experience with 268 national and regional companies, Starbucks ranked #9. USAA and Amazon, two brands also renowned for walking the extra mile for customers, ranked #1 and #2, respectively.  According to this research, customer satisfaction involves more than just being told “yes.” Successful companies, they say, operate with a combination of purposeful leadership, engaged employees, compelling brand values, and customer connectedness.

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October 19, 2015|By Reggie Hall
Reggie Hall in Lassen Volcanic National Park, California, shortly before RALLY 2015.
RALLY (also known as the National Land Conservation Conference) is the largest land conservation conference in the country. This year’s RALLY was held in Sacramento, California, and attended by more than 1,800 land trust staff, volunteers, donors, agencies and others from all 50 states, Canada, Australia, South America and beyond. Quite an impressive gathering, considering there were only 255 attendees at the first RALLY in 1985. This annual conference is THE opportunity to gather with colleagues, learn new skills, make new friends and catch up with old ones and hopefully return to our operating regions with a renewed sense of vigor. We may also have had a little fun while we are all together.

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October 12, 2015|By Paul Trianosky
Paul Trianosky
Most people understand that the widespread use of fossil fuels contributes to the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. What a lot of people don’t realize is that we are also surrounded by millions of highly efficient, natural “machines” that work to counterbalance this effect… trees!

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October 9, 2015|By Hilary Ross
Hilary Ross

Popsicles, sizzling temperatures, and fresh fruits and vegetables: the signs of summer. Temperatures may be cooling off now, but here at The Conservation Fund, we’re wrapping up a summer project: an online archive of our best photography. Over the coming months, we’ll share some of our favorite images here on the blog.

The Fund believes that conservation must start with community. Supporting the growth and distribution of local, fresh food results in sustainable agricultural practices that are both best for the environment and serves the needs of the people. In this way, conservation results in livable communities with a healthy environment that meets human needs.

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October 5, 2015|By Tori Kaplan
A CSX freight train carrying mixed freight through West Virginia.
There are two things you should know about the freight rail industry:

First, as you may already be aware, rail is the most environmentally friendly way to move freight on land. Our commercials highlight our ability to move a ton of freight nearly 500 miles on only a gallon of fuel. The work of many dedicated employees at CSX is focused on researching and implementing ways we can increase our fuel efficiency and minimize our environmental footprint.

Second, it’s important to understand that agriculture and food-related products are a fundamental part of our business. For example, in 2014, CSX moved a total of 419,000 carloads of agricultural products.  

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September 28, 2015|By Mike Leonard
Mike Leonard on the Pinhoti Trail. Photo by Andrew Shock.

I am fond of the word “work.” I am one of those people who secretly prefers, “Thank God It’s Monday” to the popular “TGIF.” I am very fond of the concept of “making things work.” I have often said to my own staff, “Okay, we’ve put together a plan to tackle the issue. Now, let’s make it work.”

I have been gratified to be part of The Conservation Fund since I served on an Advisory Board and then was asked to join the Board in 2004. It did not take long for me to realize that the Fund was very direct and very effective. The Fund works purposefully towards results rather than going off into the weeds. This appeals to me since my passion for conservation goes back to my days as a teenager and my fascination and appreciation for trails and hiking.

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September 28, 2015|By Steve Orr
Steve Orr
As a nature/landscape photographer with a yearning to discover new and beautiful sights, I have been fortunate to travel the world with camera in tow. In July 2015, on two of the hottest days one could arrange, I was afforded the opportunity to apply my photography skills for the benefit of The Conservation Fund in the eastern and Sandhills regions of my home state of North Carolina.

What an experience this was! I was certainly surprised to see how The Conservation Fund has altered and expanded the definition of conservation. My eyes were opened to new and exciting possibilities! The Resourceful Communities division within the Fund approaches conservation from a different perspective. They hold that successful conservation must address economic, social, and environment factors together for a successful outcome. It is no wonder conservation often takes a back seat to survival in places where poverty is rampant, heath outcomes are poor, and jobs are scarce, but great conservation opportunities do exist in places like these.

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September 28, 2015|By Will Allen
Will Allen

When I started my career at The Conservation Fund about 20 years ago, cities and nature were usually seen as two separate things. Many strategic conservation planning efforts focused on finding the best places to protect nature from people. But as Dr. David Maddox, the founder of Nature in Cities accurately proclaims, “Cities are ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure.” Thankfully that reality is now being acknowledged and an exciting and expanding movement is emerging to connect people to nature and to invest in green infrastructure that helps make cities sustainable, resilient, and livable.

One strategy to link people and nature is through protection of nature next to cities—creating defined edges or transition zones between developed areas and their surrounding natural areas and working landscapes. Another strategy to link people and nature is through integration of nature into cities—purposefully protecting and restoring green infrastructure inside urban areas, including the reuse of vacant and underutilized lands. 

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April 24, 2015|By
At the southeastern tip of Texas the 97,000-acre Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is home to one of the two remaining ocelot populations in the nation, making it the center for conservation and recovery efforts for these endangered cats. A haven of biodiversity, the complex safeguards more than 17 federally threatened, endangered and migratory species including ocelot and aplomado falcon.  It is estimated that 95% of the native vegetation here has been impacted by agricultural and development.

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April 21, 2015|By
As we commemorate Earth Day, The Conservation Fund’s Jena Thompson Meredith blogs about our partnership with UPS and the critical role it plays in helping to protect the forests of California’s North Coast. Check out an excerpt below and click here for the full post.

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April 20, 2015|By
This excerpted Op-Ed by The Conservation Fund's President and CEO, Larry Selzer, and Apple's Vice President of Environmental Initiatives, Lisa Jackson, originally appeared on April 16, 2015. The Conservation Fund and Apple are partnering to help protect working forests in the United States through the Fund's Working Forest Fund. This is a precedent-setting initiative that will help protect more than 36,000 acres of these forests. For the U.S. in particular, this initiative comes at a critical time, as the loss of America’s working forests is one of our nation’s greatest environmental and economic challenges.  

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April 7, 2015|By
Imagine you are walking across a vast landscape, trying to make your way through some dense seemingly endless vegetation. Above you fly aplomado falcons, green jays and Altamira orioles.    Around you  a multitude of butterfly species painted in red, orange, and blue flutter through the bush. All of a sudden, from the top of a tree you see an ocelot with beautiful gold and black print run down the trunk and into the thick brush.  And you realized you just witnessed one of the most unique features about this animal – its ability to run straight down objects as a defense mechanism. Where are you?

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