5 Organizations Preserving & Restoring Vital Habitats

Around the world, natural environments such as forests, wetlands, and prairies serve as rich centers of biodiversity, with animals and plants that support our overall global ecosystem. This list, presented in no particular order, shares several groups working to protect and revitalize critical natural habitats.

The #1 entry is Buffalo Field Campaign, a group working both in the field and in the policy arenas to stop the harassment and slaughter of America’s last wild bison. Based in Montana, the nonprofit also works to protect the natural habitat of these animals and other native wildlife.

BFC volunteers conduct daily field patrols, which involve documenting the locations of buffalo and other wildlife and watching for signs of harassment, abuse, or slaughter of animals or their ecosystem. In addition, its teams work to alert passing motorists to the presence of buffalo on and near the highways to reduce accidents and increase public awareness of wildlife migration corridors.

Next up, at #2, we have Osa Conservation. This nonprofit is dedicated to protecting the biodiversity of Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula. Its sea turtle conservation program monitors the nesting activity, predation rates, and hatchling success of these species. Staff and volunteers gather population and reproductive data and deter poachers who collect turtle eggs for consumption or sale.

In 2013, UNA and Osa Conservation created the Camera Trap Network. This initiative, now the largest camera trap array in Costa Rica, is composed of NGOs, hotels, eco-lodges, and private landowners willing to contribute to the research and conservation of the wild cats and their prey in the Osa Peninsula.

Coming in at #3, we present the Watsonville Wetlands Watch, a group dedicated to the protection, restoration, and fostering of appreciation of the wetlands of the Pajaro Valley. The organization works with local schools to educate students about the value of this environment through a variety of hands-on outdoor and in-class environmental education programs and by providing unique place-based educational materials to be used in the classroom.

It conducts environmental restoration programs throughout the Watsonville Slough System and the greater Pajaro Valley with the goal of benefiting the wildlife, water quality, natural habitats, and organic resources of this area. WWW also offers tours, evening presentations, and other events for the community.

At #4, we have Conservation Northwest, a nonprofit that works to protect, connect, and restore wildlands and wildlife from the Washington Coast to the British Columbia Rockies. One of its flagship initiatives is the Forest Field Program, which seeks to advance the use of scientific research to promote national and regional policies that promote landscape-scale restoration of forests and watersheds.

Conservation Northwest also runs the Community Wildlife Monitoring Project, which organizes citizen-scientist volunteers to monitor and document fauna using remote cameras where state and federal agencies don't have the resources to go. The initiative's aim is to improve knowledge about wildlife presence and distribution that is vital to informing recovery planning and policy.

Last but not least, at #5, we have Save The Great South Bay. This nonprofit is dedicated to the revitalization of the Great South Bay off the coast of Long Island, New York. Its Habitat Restoration Program seeks to reintroduce bivalves strategically to the estuary so that the filter feeders can clean the water.

The Creek Defender Program calls upon people in the towns and communities adjacent to the Great South Bay, such as Massapequa, Bayport, and Sayville, to become local stewards helping to restore the bay. The teams lead cleanups, habitat restoration projects, and native planting initiatives.