We are excited to announce the inspiring completion of the Nature Now campaign, which raised $39 million for land and water conservation in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and around the world.
The campaign has already accomplished tremendous things, and we want to thank everyone who made a gift or pledge, volunteered their time or otherwise contributed to this historic moment for conservation.
As you will see below, the funds we raised together are hard at work allowing us to seize conservation opportunities and meet real challenges that threaten the health of the lands and waters on which we all depend.
Campaign donors helped conserve almost 340,000 acres of working forestland through the Minnesota Forest Legacy Partnership, which The Nature Conservancy formed with Blandin Foundation. That’s an area the size of the City of St. Paul that remains forested. The jewel in the crown was the Upper Mississippi Forest—187,000 acres of forests, wetlands, lakes and rivers protected for wildlife, outdoor recreation and forest products and jobs.
You helped accelerate grassland conservation across the Dakotas and Minnesota, where we worked independently and with partners to protect almost 35,000 acres—55 square miles!—in priority areas, including some of the nation’s most critical habitat for ducks and other waterfowl. Conservancy scientists also helped develop the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan, a bold effort to protect Minnesota’s remaining native prairie, which your gifts are helping implement. And our science team and land stewards’ research and management efforts on 1,000 square miles of public and private prairie land improved the health of those prairies and provided multiple benefits to people, water and livestock.
Campaign donors helped launch one of Minnesota’s most ambitious efforts to protect the health and resilience of lakes, rivers and groundwater. As part of that initiative, we’re working with partners to protect the forests, grasslands and wetlands that help keep our surface and groundwater clean. One of our early wins was in the Root River watershed where you helped add 454 acres and two miles of blue-ribbon trout streams and striking limestone cliffs to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park.
The campaign reached beyond our borders to influence conservation around the world, including efforts in the Brazilian rainforest. In partnership with Cargill, the Conservancy is helping farmers grow soy beans more sustainably to meet a tough Brazilian environmental law that helps guard against deforestation. As the world’s population approaches nine billion, sustainably-grown food will only become more essential.
Conservation in Action
An incredible amount of work has happened on the ground because of donors to the Nature Now campaign. For example, you helped rejuvenate our prairies by eradicating invasive species through prescribed burns on approximately half a million acres to foster their health, plant 750,000 trees to restore our northern forests and help them adapt to climate change, and complete a science-based conservation plan to guide conservation of Minnesota lands and water in the St. Croix River basin.