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Earth Day Every Day Heroes: The Nature Conservancy

Cypress trees thrive along the Perdido River. Photo credit: Carrie Stevenson, UF IFAS Extension

Founded in the United States in 1951, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is one of the oldest and longest-running environmental nonprofit organizations in existence. Their grassroots efforts have led to 119 million acres of land conserved in 79 countries around the world. They employ scientists, policy experts, land managers, and educational staff to work with local citizens and governments to make wise decisions about land preservation.

While most are familiar with TNC’s efforts to buy and protect sensitive landscapes, the organization is expanding its scope, moving towards more sustainability work with the people who inhabit the lands around their conservation areas. TNC has four priority areas—besides protecting land and waterways, they are committed to action on climate change, meeting the demands of sustainable food and water provision for a growing world population, and building healthy cities.

Newly built camping shelters along the Perdido River allow paddlers to take longer trips. Photo Credit: Alabama DCNR

Locally, The Nature Conservancy has been very active along the Perdido River. The Perdido is the natural border between Alabama and Florida. Its headwaters begin in Alabama, and TNC has worked with federal and multiple state agencies to preserve the land buffering the riverside. Thanks to their help in project facilitation, a canoe trail down the Perdido River and out to Perdido Bay has been mapped, and features new access points and camping shelters. TNC also manages longleaf restoration along the river at the Perdido River Nature Preserve, a memorial to the Rainwater family who donated the land in Florida. Splinter Hill bog, near the river headwaters in Alabama, features hiking trails amid breathtaking pitcher plant bogs.

Just about anywhere you may travel throughout the United States or the world, you’re likely to come across conservation efforts from The Nature Conservancy. Check out their website to see more beautiful places where they are working on six continments.