Six Ways You Can Help the Planet by Protecting and Conserving Natural Resources
There are more than 7 million different species of plants and animals on earth. In addition to these living things are all the natural resources that keep the planet alive and functioning. Protecting these natural resources has become an important job for humans because our species is the one doing the most damage and destruction to the planet.
Luckily, there are so many different groups and organizations that do the hard work of protecting and conserving nature. If you find yourself in love with one specific endangered animal, you’ll be able to find an organization that works to protect it. If you love a specific national park or area of the planet and want to do more to keep it clean, you’ll be able to find an organization that does just that.
Today, we wanted to highlight a few of the top-rated nonprofit organizations working to protect something that they care about deeply. By supporting these nonprofits, you are helping take care of our home
Friends of Saguaro National Park
This organization partners with the National Park Service to project and enhance the fragile environment of Saguaro National Park in Arizona. They are a major fundraising organization for the park and offer all kinds of different sponsorship options on their website. The plants and animals that live in Saguaro National Park are becoming less and less common and this organization works hard to raise money to protect them.
Where should I start? The park has it ALL! Since 1990 I have trained for marathons in Saguaro East, hiked every trail with friends and my children, photographed jackrabbits, gila monsters, and night-blooming cactus. I have narrowly avoided biking into tortoises and even a mountain lion. I hike and bicycle in the park at least three times a week, year round. I love the continual updating of the education areas, water dispensers, picnic areas, sail shade cloths, and public art. Do other parks display the whimsy that our park does? I’m referring to the SLOW signs with a tortoise painted on the paved roadway and the caution road sign with a bicycle tumbling down a cliff. When we had a government shutdown the volunteers kept the bathrooms stocked with hand sanitizer and toilet paper . . . even the remote trailside bathrooms. We guests feel loved! Last year I finally learned about the extensive youth programs. Hurrah! Now the next generation will become stewards of this beautiful gem and begin their lifelong romance with nature. Thank you Friends of Saguaro National Park for your visionary, caring support!
International Snow Leopard Trust
Snow Leopards live in the mountains of Central Asia. They are endangered and scientists estimate there are just a few thousand remaining. The threats to the species include lack of awareness, poaching, and loss of habitats and prey. The International Snow Leopard Trust is committed to helping protect the snow leopard and its mountain environment. With their concentrated focus on one animal species, they will indirectly be helping all the plants and animals that call that ecosystem home.
The International Snow Leopard Trust approaches the work of saving snow leopards from extinction in an efficient, creative, and holistic manner. They are great communicators who are sensitive to the needs of the people living in snow leopard habitat, as well as those who work with and support them. They are a truly outstanding partner and conservation organization.
California ReLeaf‘s mission is to empower grassroots efforts and build strategic partnerships that preserve, protect, and enhance California’s urban and community forests. So far, they have helped plant more than 1 million trees all over the state.
The staff at California ReLeaf helped us develop and implement our tree planting project in the city of Avenal. After years of wanting to beautify and add shade to our public spaces, we were pleased to discover a supportive partner in California ReLeaf. With their advice, we were able to do everything from effectively select the best species for our environment to engage different key community leaders. Their responsiveness helped us adapt the project as new opportunities arose; in fact, most recently, we were able to expand our project and plant even more trees than we originally anticipated within the same time frame. Even as we continue to complete the project, we already see a community that is reinvigorated and encouraged by what their teamwork could accomplish.
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)
Key Largo, FL
REEF’s mission is to conserve marine water ecosystems for their recreational, commercial, and intrinsic value by educating, enlisting, and enabling divers and other marine water enthusiasts to become active stewards and citizen scientists. REEF links the diving and snorkeling community with scientists, resource managers, and conservationists through in-water marine life data collection and related activities. Its Volunteer Fish Survey Project and the Invasive Species Project both use the contributions from divers and other citizen scientists to collect and report information on marine fish populations and the threats to their environment. The Grouper Moon Project helps to protect the grouper populations by raising awareness and continuing to study the species. Its other main program is the Ocean Explorers Education program, which engages students in hands-on and immersive learning and exploration.
REEF has a clearly defined mission that I fully support: educating people about marine conservation, and collecting data to support research. Participating in REEF’s Volunteer Fish Survey program and learning from their “fishinars” has given me great enjoyment and enhanced my expertise in knowing the fishes where I dive, which makes my diving “count” for something. Their response to the lionfish invasion in the Tropical Western Atlantic is a model of taking on an environmental disaster. They accomplish so much, on such a shoestring budget. . .
Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)
Working closely within the Berkshires community to clean the rivers, protect the wildlife, and make sure that the land is safe for future generations, BEAT makes protecting the environment its No. 1 mission. It has wildlife monitoring programs (similar to REEF) and publishes a free weekly newsletter that encourages people to volunteer and stay informed about what’s happening. By focusing on their corner of the planet, BEAT is able to show people how their work impacts daily life for everyone in the community and helps get more people involved.
The Berkshire Environmental Action Team is a prime example of how the local and the global can mesh. They’re doing great work in the mountains of Massachusetts, where they’ve helped block pipelines, but they also connect it up to the rest of the world. This is precisely the mix we need!
Big Life Foundation
The Big Life Foundation works to protect 1.6 million acres of wilderness in East Africa. They partner with local communities and employ hundreds of Maasai rangers to help with anti-poaching operations. Their model is built around the philosophy that conservation supports the people and people support conservation. By engaging the local communities, they are able to have more people working to protect the elephant population and the land they call home from dangers.
They are doing amazing work in anti-poaching. They are doing such great work working with the local communities mitigating wildlife conflict. Under their watch poaching dropped significantly. You know that when donating to them that every cent is going directly to where it is needed.
These incredibly passionate organizations all do so much work to protect and conserve our natural resources, and donating to them or volunteering your time can help tremendously in their missions. The planet needs allies and these organizations are a great place to start learning and giving back!