8 Organizations Preserving Nature in the American Southwest

Protecting the biodiversity of America and restoring animal habitats is a big and complex job, and requires solutions both on a national or global level as well as a local level. These groups are all working in different ways to ensure that there is adequate focus on the Southwest region and that natural areas are preserved for future generations. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

8 Organizations In The American Southwest Dedicated To Nature

Organization Headquarters Mission
Rocky Mountain Wild Denver, CO Protect and restore wild lands in the Southern Rocky Mountain region
Great Outdoors Colorado Denver, CO Invests proceeds from the Colorado lottery to improve parks, wildlife, rivers, trails, and open spaces
Keep Tahoe Blue, the League to Save Lake Tahoe Lake Tahoe, CA Advocate for strong environmental protections to preserve Lake Tahoe
Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center Scottsdale, AZ Rescues and rehabilitates wild animals who are found injured, abandoned, and orphaned
Southwest Environmental Center Las Cruces, NM Protect wildlife and their habitats through grassroots advocacy, education, and restoration projects
Native Seeds SEARCH Tucson, AZ Promote crop diversity in the Southwest and support conservation through sustainable farming and food security
Sky Island Alliance Tucson, AZ Restore the biodiversity of the Madrean Sky Islands
Friends of Nevada Wilderness Reno, NV Protect Nevada public lands from ongoing threats and promote the need to preserve wild lands

Bear Cubs At The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Endangered Species Of The American Southwest

GOCO's Inspire Initiative

In Depth

Climate change is a constant threat to wildlife in the American Southwest. Infrastructure, oil and gas development, and pollution are endangering the livelihood of wild animals and the balance of ecosystems. Luckily, there are many nonprofit organizations standing up for nature in the American Southwest, each with their own unique approach. In no particular order, here are eight organizations discovering new ways to protect and preserve the wild.

Starting off our list at #1 is Rocky Mountain Wild. The organization works to protect, connect, and restore wildlife and wild lands in the Southern Rocky Mountain region. The ecosystem contains desert mesas, red rock canyons, mountains, and prairies, making it home to over 500 rare animal and plant species. Rocky Mountain Wild focuses on protecting ten species that are at risk of extinction and are key to the well being of the ecosystem as a whole.

To attain these goals, Rocky Mountain Wild has a multi-pronged approach. It protects wildlife from habitat fragmentation, the leading cause of animal extinction. Additionally, it closely monitors all oil and gas company sales in the region. Since its founding, Rocky Mountain Wild has prevented oil and gas companies from developing on 2 million acres of public land. Those who are interested in helping out can volunteer, sign petitions, attend events, and participate in scientific research.

It protects wildlife from habitat fragmentation, the leading cause of animal extinction.

Next on our list at #2 is Great Outdoors Colorado, also known as GOCO. The organization supports measures to preserve and improve Colorado's parks, wildlife, rivers, trails, and open spaces. GOCO focuses on protecting more land for people and wildlife, notably "once-in-a-life-time projects" that are time-sensitive. In addition, it seeks to improve the public's connection to the outdoors, by improving bike and pedestrian access and improving trail systems.

To do this, GOCO invests proceeds from the Colorado lottery into grants for local government and conservation organizations. Since its founding in 1992, GOCO has donated $1.2 billion in lottery proceeds to more than 5,200 projects. It has invested in efforts to protect 43 endangered species, improved over one thousand parks and outdoor spaces, improved Colorado's park system, conserved over one million acres, and restored 900 miles of trails.

Coming in as #3 on our list is Keep Tahoe Blue, a League dedicated to saving Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America. The League focuses around four main campaigns: combating pollution, promoting restoration, tackling invasive species, and protecting the shoreline. In order to do this, Keep Tahoe Blue monitors development plans and works with local, state, and federal lawmakers. Since its founding in 1957, the League has had an international influence in water conservation policy and has raised over $1 billion to preserve the lake.

The League focuses around four main campaigns: combating pollution, promoting restoration, tackling invasive species, and protecting the shoreline.

If you wish to take action, you can participate in volunteer days and events. Volunteers can help track invasive species, monitor water quality, clean up beaches, and learn about preventing forest fires, among other activities. People interested can also donate, become a member, or buy merchandise from the online store.

Our #4 choice takes a more hands-on approach. The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, rescues and rehabilitates wild animals who are found injured, abandoned, orphaned, or dislocated from their natural habitat. After the center rehabilitates the animals, it releases them into the wild. If an animal is unable to survive in the wild, they can live out the remainder of their life in the wildlife sanctuary at the center. Through their efforts, the Mexican gray wolf, a previously endangered species, has been recovered.

To succeed, the center has a team of volunteers, a sanctuary, an on-site medical facility, and wildlife consultation services. In addition, the organization educates and inspires people to learn about and respect conservation and wildlife. People who are interested can make an appointment to stop by the center and see the animals. The center also encourages people to volunteer, sponsor an animal, or donate to the cause.

People who are interested can make an appointment to stop by the center and see the animals.

Next up at #5 is the Southwest Environmental Center, which fights for the survival of wildlife, regardless of whether it is beneficial to human life. Today, animals face extinction at a rate 1000 times greater than if humans were not around, inspiring the center to take political action. The center has three main conservation efforts: the Desert Lands and Wildlife Program, the Desert Waters Program, and the Education for Sustainable Society Program.

Since its founding in 1992, the center has helped achieve many milestones in wildlife advocacy, including the 2019 SB76 bill that bans coyote killing contests in New Mexico. People who are interested in helping out are encouraged to donate, become a member, and join advocacy efforts.

#6 on the list is the Native Seeds SEARCH. Historically, colonization and globalization negatively impacted the cultures and economies that kept important seeds and crops in circulation in the southwest. Today, many historic seeds are at risk of extinction. The Native Seeds Search, since its founding, has been dedicated to the agrobiodiversity of the arid Southwest. The organization's seed bank is home to almost 2000 different crops, originating from central Colorado to Mexico, and representing the heritage of over 50 indigenous groups.

Historically, colonization and globalization negatively impacted the cultures and economies that kept important seeds and crops in circulation in the southwest.

The Native Seeds SEARCH website is stocked with in-depth information about the history of the project, the different seeds the organization protects, and creative ways to get involved. The public can adopt a crop, make a donation, become a member, or donate goods. Additionally, interested people can make a purchase with the online store, where the organization sells seeds, food, books, seed saving supplies, crafts, apparel, and beauty products.

Coming in at #7 is Sky Island Alliance. The organization protects and restores the biodiversity of the Madrean Sky Islands. Using advocacy, science, and education, Sky Island Alliance seeks to connect people, wildlife, and landscapes together in harmony. Some of the ways it achieves its goals is by creating wildlife passages, discovering new species, and establishing protected areas.

For people interested in learning more about the region, the organization's website is an incredible resource. Viewers can take a virtual tour of the U.S. Mexico border. They can also peruse the landscape gallery, the interactive map, and the species gallery, a collection of all discovered species in the region. Those interested in getting involved can also volunteer or donate on the website.

Viewers can take a virtual tour of the U.S. Mexico border.

Finishing the list off at #8 is Friends of Nevada Wilderness. Focusing specifically on Nevada, the organization seeks to protect established wilderness and identify lands with wilderness characteristics. Dedicated to connecting both people and wildlife to wildlands, the organization believes in educating the public on the values and needs for wilderness. In 2017, Friends of Nevada Wilderness won the prestigious Bureau of Land Management's "National Volunteer Group Excellence Award".

For those interested in exploring Nevada, which is almost 90% public land, check out the "Explore" section of the website. The organization has laid out designated wilderness areas and incredible spots for stargazing. The organization also runs events open to the public that can be found on their calendar. To take action, people can join political campaigns, write to politicians, donate, and sign up for the newsletter.