April 6, 2021 |Bobbi Reierson | Support our Efforts

Donors Make Our Work Possible on Earth Day and Every Day (you can too!)

While good conservation work is done every day of the year, Earth Day continues to be strong indicator of how invested the public is in protecting the natural world. It’s amazing to think that the very first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 by about 20 million Americans—and now, 51 years later, Earth Day is a global event celebrated by hundreds of millions of people.

It truly is Earth Day every day for the nearly 200 of us working at The Conservation Fund. Since our founding in 1985, we have protected over 8.5 million acres of land, supported green industries, and helped build more climate-resilient communities. We couldn’t continue to build on this important conservation work without our supporters, partners, and donors. In 2020 alone, over 5,000 donors supported our projects across the United States, and with their help, we protected more than 187,000 acres of diverse properties, including snowcapped mountains, sandy shorelines, fertile farmland and community parks.

In the spirit of Earth Day, we asked a few members of our donor community some questions. Why do they care so much about nature? Why do they choose to support our work? What conservation projects are they most passionate about? Here are their unique thoughts and perspectives:

Kevin Zentmeyer, Colorado

4 8 21 Zentmeyers Rocky Mountain National ParkThe Zentmeyer Family at Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo courtesy of Kevin Zentmeyer.

Do you have a specific memory that helped shape your love of nature?

I remember the first time that I visited Colorado as an 11-year-old with my family and being blown away by the gigantic and beautiful mountains. It looked pretty different than where I was from in Dallas, Texas. Now I live in Colorado and spend as much time as I can hiking or skiing with my family in those same mountains.

What compels you to give to The Conservation Fund?

Land conservation feels like it has a more permanent impact than other means to support nature. The environmental impact is tangible. I can see it on a map. I can visit it. And I know that I’m helping make a difference. I give monthly to The Conservation Fund because it’s a priority to me. Like saving for retirement, it’s something that I want to make sure I do consistently.

Do you have a favorite project?

I have two little boys, aged two and four, who love Dinosaur Ridge just outside Denver. I personally appreciate that the Red Rocks project helped preserve lands adjacent to the ridge. It’s amazing to see dinosaur fossils in their natural surroundings with much of the nature around the fossils preserved; you can easily imagine the dinosaurs walking the earth in that setting largely just as it looks today. 

4 8 21 Red Rocks c John PozadzidesAcquisition of two properties adjacent to Red Rocks Park not only preserved scenic views from Dinosaur Ridge and provided a trail connection to surrounding open space areas, they also added to the formation of a buffer around the existing park. Photo by John Pozadzides.

What’s your greatest hope for the future of America’s lands?

I want America to be seen as a leader in preserving and restoring natural lands. I want my country to be a shining example again in my lifetime, particularly since conservation has taken on a new dimension due to climate change.


Patti Lutz, Maryland

4 8 21 Patti Lutz Photo Prime Hook National Refuge in Delaware
Patti Lutz and her partner at 
Prime Hook National Refuge in Delaware. Photo courtesy Patti Lutz.


Do you have a specific memory that helped shape your love of nature?

I grew up wanting to join the Boy Scouts to go camping; however, the closest experience to that in Girl Scouts was sleeping in a screened-in porch during a rainstorm, which I loved. While in college, my dearest friend introduced me to hiking the Appalachian Mountains. Years later, I moved to San Francisco, and my experiences of nature in and surrounding the Bay Area made my heart grow. I experienced a quiet sense of joy and awe, as being in nature would take all my worries away.

What compels you to give to The Conservation Fund?

I am committed to donating monthly to The Conservation Fund because of their unique way of protecting our earth and making it available to all in so many different ways. The Conservation Fund also maintains a high level of responsibility in how they utilize donations.

Do you have a favorite project?

My partner and I live in Maryland, and our passion is photography. One of the many places we enjoy is Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. There is much beauty, but also sadness, with regard to sea level rise and its gradual loss. I take comfort in and support The Conservation Fund’s mission to protect and restore nature.

4 8 21 Blackwater NWR MD c EcoPhotography201904052 1Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is located in the Chesapeake Bay region on Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore. Photo by EcoPhotography.

What’s your greatest hope for the future of America’s lands?

My greatest hope is for The Conservation Fund and other organizations to continue to find ways to protect nature and slow climate change with greater speed and support. I want my stepchildren, nieces and nephews, and their children to feel the amazement and peace I have felt through my experiences in nature.

Nathan Button, Utah

Do you have a specific memory that helped shape your love of nature?

Growing up I would ride horses through the forest around Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and later I moved to the mouth of Zion Canyon. Nearly every family trip was camping in the forest or out on the Escalante Desert (part of the Grand Staircase National Monument). I can’t remember a time when the outdoors was not important to me.

What compels you to give to The Conservation Fund?

There are two main reasons that I donate monthly to The Conservation Fund. First, The Conservation Fund has a good “report card” and receives top marks for their financials and transparency. Second, I like the way that it operates its working forest projects—The Conservation Fund isn’t just locking up land from development, it is actively managing the land to both protect it and utilize it.

Do you have a favorite project?

My Dad was a subcontractor on the Kern River, Utah, project for the Gas pipeline. I remember not being happy that we were helping build a pipeline, but also surprised to see steps being taken to protect tortoises’ habitat. It wasn’t until later that I found out that this was a project of The Conservation Fund.  

4 8 21 Mojave Desert Tortoise by USFWS Pacific Southwest Region copyMojave desert tortoise. Photo by USFWS Pacific Southwest Region.

What’s your greatest hope for the future of America’s lands?

I loved having a forest nearby that I could run through as a kid, and I want that same experience for my son, and my grandchildren. I consider climate change and habitat destruction to be the greatest threats to this country, and the first step is to conserve and protect what we already have. But protecting it is not enough; we need to work with industries to change practices on resource extraction to be more sustainable and less destructive. I believe this is what The Conservation Fund is doing.

Written by

Bobbi Reierson

Bobbi Reierson is The Conservation Fund’s Annual Giving Manager. She has worked to share our conservation successes with donors across the country and to help ensure smooth donation experiences. She oversees our annual giving and digital donor engagement initiatives, including the management and execution of our annual fundraising campaigns. Bobbi loves hiking in the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountains in her home state of Oregon.