Our Blog

Redefining Conservation

November 23, 2020|By The Conservation Fund
Photo by Stacy Funderburke.

Over the last few decades, America’s local farms have been disappearing at an alarming rate. High costs, low margins, increasing consolidation, and aging farmers have put our food supply in a precarious position. In mid-November, The Conservation Fund gathered a panel of partners from its Working Farms Fund to discuss the plight of the American farm and propose solutions for a healthier, more equitable and resilient food system. Here are the major takeaways.

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November 11, 2020|By Eric Wuestewald
Steve Prince, a former U.S. Army medical evacuation (medevac) pilot.

SAVE Farm was founded to give military service members meaningful skills and job opportunities in agribusiness (farming and farming-related commercial activities) upon returning to civilian life. To date, SAVE Farm has trained more than 500 veterans, and more than 90% of these students have gone on to hold jobs related to farming. Find out how SAVE Farm provided one former Army helicopter pilot the opportunity and skills to turn his passion for helping people into a new career… goat farming!

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November 2, 2020|By Stacia Turner
Stacia Turner. Photo by Robin McKinney.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to adapt to entirely new limitations and possibilities. This post is the third in a series on how our staff members are navigating unprecedented conditions and still managing to accomplish good conservation outcomes. We feature Stacia Turner, our Parks with Purpose Urban Conservation Associate, who shares how she has maintained connections with partners and found new ways to build community. Stay tuned for more of these personal stories in coming weeks and months.

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October 29, 2020|By Julie Shackelford
Julie Shackelford at Sabine Ranch. Photo by Shannon Tompkins.

Audubon's Texas Women in Conservation Program honors the role that women play in the conservation field in the Lone Star State, and seeks to inspire the next generation of female conservationists. This year, we are thrilled that Audubon Texas has chosen The Conservation Fund’s own Julie Shackelford as a 2020 Terry Hershey Award recipient. Julie exemplifies the very best in conservation leadership, and we are proud to recognize her achievements. Way to go, Julie!

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October 20, 2020|By Emy Royce

The creation of Skalkaho Bend Park couldn’t have come to fruition at a better time, when residents of Hamilton, Montana were seeking nature more than ever. But a community park doesn’t just grow overnight—it takes local dedication and the help of many partners. Emy Royce at Bitter Root Land Trust shares how her community shaped its future with conservation.

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October 8, 2020|By Ann Simonelli

Salmon is the second most popular seafood in the U.S., and its popularity continues to grow each year. Americans’ hunger for this tasty and healthy fish has merited its own special day, with October 8 named National Salmon Day. In honor of this top fish, we are spotlighting a few of our conservation efforts that focus on protecting and improving natural salmon habitat and developing more sustainable techniques for raising fish on land. Just keep swimming…or reading to learn more.

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September 28, 2020|By Ryan Klausch
Photo by Ryan Klausch.

As another wildfire season scorches the western United States, it’s natural to be shocked by the startling images of dark red skies full of smoke and ash. But while seemingly unprecedented and insurmountable, the now yearly devastation fits into a clear trend. Ryan Klausch, a forester out of our North Coast California Office, explains the history of forest fires in the region, how climate change is making fires worse, and why proper forest management techniques are so important to alleviating fire’s destructive spread.

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September 16, 2020|By Tom Duffus
Photo by Steven Tatko.

Healthy and connected watersheds are key to the resilience of fish populations. Blocked streams and rivers prevent completion of the essential cycle for healthy fish populations, and place their future in peril. The Conservation Fund’s acquisition of the 27,000-acre Pleasant River Headwaters Forest in Maine created the opportunity to restore connectivity for fish passage in the Penobscot River Watershed. That's good news for Atlantic salmon and brook trout, which depend on this watershed for their survival.

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September 9, 2020|By Clint Miller
Clint Miller, Midwest Project Director, with his dog Zeke

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives all over the world, and people everywhere are adapting to entirely new limitations and possibilities. This post is the second in a series on how our various staff members are moving forward with their conservation efforts during this time. We will feature a day (or week) in their lives, how they are navigating conditions and still managing to accomplish good conservation outcomes. Stay tuned for more of these personal stories in coming weeks and months.

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August 17, 2020|By Olivia Fiori
Photo by Ivan LaBianca.

As I watched a truckload of 40-foot-long redwood logs being loaded in the forest, I felt incredibly grateful that nature not only offers a feeling of consistency and renewal during these times, but so does my line of work. I feel comforted knowing that as our work proceeds, we are continuing to transform the landscape into a healthier ecosystem, while stimulating and keeping the local economy engaged during a global pandemic. 

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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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