Since 1982 the Fund for Wild Nature has granted over $2.3 million to nearly 1,000 grassroots environmental projects. On average, over 85% of our annual expenditures goes directly to our grantees. Our grant funds are raised almost exclusively by individual donations.
Helping to Grow an Activist Movement
In 1989 the Fund for Wild Nature gave a small grant to the Greater Gila Biodiversity Project focused on protecting endangered species and critical habitat in the southwest - the organization's first. This group grew and later became the Center for Biological Diversity, now one of the leading endangered species protection organizations in the world. Several subsequent grants in the mid-90's helped focus attention on the Gila River in New Mexico. As a result, all of the major waterways of the Gila River's headwaters have been cleared of cattle. The Fund is proud to have been part of this early work.
Documenting Biodiversity from the Air
Environmental Flying Services is a one-woman and one-airplane organization working with biologists in Mexico to protect wildlife. In 1995, its director wrote to us after receiving a grant, “The encouragement that comes with your grant is an arm around my shoulder. Right now, that matters almost as much as the money.” We were among the very few foundations to see value in her work. Through timely small grants, EFS persisted and is now credited for its part in the discovery of the calving waters of the endangered Pacific blue whale, the establishment of the protected National Wetlands of Mexico, and later the declaration by the President of Mexico of all coastal waters in Mexico as a marine mammal sanctuary. In 2001, its director, Sandy Lanham, was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.
Lynx Conservation and Recovery
The Fund for Wild Nature has supported several of the groups involved with lynx restoration in N. America: the Center for Native Ecosystems, Predator Conservation Alliance, the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, Sinapu, and the Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project. Through a combination of scientific analysis, public education, policy advocacy, community coalition building, administrative appeals and litigation, these groups have been able to stem the tide of habitat destruction by development, motorized recreation, mining and logging. Their work continues, but the success of the lynx in Colorado is a milestone in ecosystem restoration.
Monitoring our Public Lands
From the world-famous Big Sur coastline in the north to the beloved Sespe Wilderness in the south, the Los Padres National Forest provides habitat for more at-risk species than any other national forest in California. The Los Padres is essential to the survival of the magnificent California condor — one of the most endangered birds in the world — by hosting the vast majority of remaining condors and their designated critical habitat.
In early 2004, a small group of forest activists in Santa Barbara, California mobilized to defend the Los Padres National Forest from damaging activities such as poorly planned logging projects and domestic livestock grazing. The Fund for Wild Nature was there to help, providing seed funding and strategic support for focused projects. Los Padres ForestWatch now works tirelessly to protect and restore the outstanding natural heritage of the Los Padres National Forest and nearby public lands using environmental law, science, education, and community involvement.
The Fund recognized the ecological importance of the wildlands of California's Central Coast, and understood that the strategies proposed by the Los Padres ForestWatch would be effective. With our help, Los Padres ForestWatch is now one of the premier organizations ensuring that management activities on the Los Padres are based on the principles of conservation biology and comply with environmental laws. The organization has already had a number of successes, including stopping logging of old-growth trees on Figueroa Mountain, a popular recreation area and important wildlife habitat.
Photo of Black-backed Woodpecker by Monica Bond, wildlife biologist and Fund for Wild Nature Board member