5 Groups Protecting & Restoring Natural Resources

Safeguarding environmental assets is a vital task. Our parks and other natural areas allow flora and fauna to thrive and provide humans much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. In no particular order, here are several groups committed to conserving valuable natural resources and spaces.

For #1, we have Save the Redwoods League. Since 1918, this organization has been working to restore woodlands in California. It purchases forests and the surrounding lands in order to protect the areas by turning them into preserves.

Some of the properties that the group acquired include Mailliard Ranch, Andersonia West, and Red Hill. The League cares for coastal redwood and giant sequoia forests by conducting biological surveys, removing structures that affect the trees' growth, and helping the land recover from past damages. It also has a genome project, which aims to develop modern forest inventory tools using genetic sequences.

Our #2 entry is the Ossabaw Island Foundation. Through its partnership with the state of Georgia, this organization manages educational, scientific, and promotional programs designed to study and safeguard the island's features. The family of Eleanor Torrey West purchased Ossabaw in 1924.

T.O.I.F.'s various projects are focused on learning more about the region's wildlife and history as well as preserving its environment. Members of the public can participate in educational and cultural trips to the island, including overnight stays every September to watch baby turtles hatch from their eggs.

At #3, we have the Manchaug Pond Foundation. The group is composed of volunteers dedicated to taking care of the pond and its watershed, situated in the towns of Oxford, Sutton, and Douglas in Massachusetts. It was formed in 1967 by the families that own properties near the lake.

Through the efforts of its volunteers and members, the organization helps maintain the lake's cleanliness and water quality. It also has conservation programs focused on studying and protecting the area's wildlife and native vegetation populations. In addition, it coordinates with local authorities to ensure the safety of the pond's visitors.

Coming in at #4 is the National Park Foundation. The United States Congress chartered it in 1967 through the lobbying efforts of First Lady Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Johnson and philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller. The group serves as the official charitable partner of the National Park Service.

The organization's mission is to safeguard the federally-protected parks of the country. It works towards its goal by generating private support and investing in critical projects that will provide measurable benefits to national parks, including ones that focus on caring for historical sites and native wildlife.

Lastly, for #5, we have the Peconic Estuary Partnership. This organization collaborates with private individuals, scientists, businesses, and government agencies to address issues related to the eponymous watershed in Long Island, New York. It is dedicated to formulating conservation plans based on science.

Science has solutions. Many are best practices commonly available and economically viable. Members of our community have worked to secure legislation leading to cleaner, safer, healthier water. Collaborative groups like the Peconic Estuary Partnership have made progress on sewage treatment plant upgrades, homeowner sustainable-landscaping rewards programs, a fertilizer reduction law, and a county-wide remediation effort — growing millions of oysters, clams and scallops, which are seeded into the estuary. This program has proven to be an excellent tool both to enhance water quality and to bring back our traditional local shellfish industry.

Through the support of its partners, the P.E.P. conducts scientific studies and monitoring programs to assess the health of the estuary and its ecosystem. The group then uses the findings from these activities to develop initiatives designed to improve the area's conditions.