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The Nature Conservancy 🍃 For People and Nature

The Nature Conservancy’s mission evolves and expands to include cities like Milwaukee

At The Nature Conservancy, we believe that a world where people and nature thrive is possible. And although that world may feel far away right now, we know that together, we can find a way there. By reaching beyond boundaries and borders to find common ground. By combining cutting-edge science and age-old wisdom. By developing innovative solutions and forging new funding. Step by step, side by side.

That’s why we’re delighted to once again celebrate Earth Day with Rock the Green and the many other people and organizations coming together to educate, engage, and empower more people to take action for the planet!

Cardinal flowers growing on the shore of the Wisconsin River – Credit: Steve S. Meyer

The Nature Conservancy has worked in Wisconsin for just over 60 years, protecting more than 240,000 acres of our most beautiful and diverse natural habitats. Over the last few years, we’ve also expanded into cities like Green Bay and Milwaukee to support great work already being done by local organizations and residents to restore, protect, and connect more people with nature. TNC hopes to leverage our world-class science and staff to accelerate and add capacity to that important work.

“Milwaukee is a city of neighborhoods,” notes Lamont Smith, TNC’s Milwaukee Program Manager. “And even within those neighborhoods, there's a hyper-local context, all the way down to the block level. TNC has a lot of experience, know-how, and expertise, to bring to Milwaukee. We need to make sure we take every opportunity to engage at even the most granular level, from local organizations to the individual resident, and find ways to really make sure the resources and technical knowledge we bring are accessible to everyone.”

“We also need to better understand what people's interests are and how they understand the natural environment where they live and in the broader community,” Smith says. “Not everyone wants to get in a canoe, but they likely value shade on hot days and dry basements when there is heavy rain. There are lots of ways that people use and benefit from nature, and we may not know all of them, so it’s important to ask, listen, and understand what people find important based on their perspectives and experiences.”

Ruby-throated hummingbird – Credit: Andy Raupp/TNC Photo Contest 2021

Nature creates shared values between people from different neighborhoods and cultures. Nature can also be an important crossroads, an opportunity to heighten awareness and understanding, even collaboration, between and among people who live in various communities, including between the rural and urban areas of the state.

“I am really excited about the opportunity for The Nature Conservancy to partner with Rock the Green to celebrate Earth Day this year,” says Chris Noyes. “I have the privilege of serving on the boards of both organizations and look forward to promoting TNC’s Healthy Cities initiative in Milwaukee. That initiative will include working with community-based partners to increase access for Milwaukee youth or adults to environmental conservation knowledge, skills, and experiences. We believe that our work in Milwaukee is critical to understanding and using nature-based solutions for a wide range of challenges and opportunities, especially in those communities that have been historically marginalized.”

Whether it’s restoring oak savannas in the Baraboo Hills, putting prescribed fire on the ground to help revitalize habitat in Spring Green, removing invasive species from parks and preserves across the state, replanting prairies at Chiwaukee and Mukwonago, or partnering with other conservation organizations, Tribal Nations, municipalities, and individual landowners, TNC is dedicated and privileged to work in and for Wisconsin.

This Earth Day and every day, we’re committed and excited to work together with everyone who’s dedicated to ensuring the health of our planet for current and future generations. Together, we’ll find a way.

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