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North Dakota and South Dakota

Why I Give: One Donor’s Story

Each contributor to The Nature Conservancy has a story about why they give back to nature—to leave a legacy, to support our mission, to help protect our world.

For Michael Melius, it’s about protecting grasslands, one of the most threatened, least protected habitat types on Earth.

“I’m really worried about prairie. The pressure on the grasslands here in the Northern plains from farming and conversion is kind of an emergency situation,” Melius said.

 Read Michael Melius' story below and then share your own story to inspire others as you have inspired us!


nature.org: Why do you give to The Nature Conservancy?

Michael Melius: “It’s the best way to give directly for conservation. The money goes largely to acquisition and management of land.

nature.org: What is your favorite place in nature?

Michael Melius: It’s hard to choose. I love prairie. I need prairie. If I had to choose one spot it would be the Cheyenne River. It’s close to where I live. It’s beautiful and it’s fairly pristine. Millions of people go to the Black Hills but there’s this wonderful river nearby and you have it to yourself.

nature.org: Tell us about your favorite memory or experience in nature?

Michael Melius: This summer I was a volunteer on a breeding bird survey in the Canadian province of Manitoba. We were on the Churchill River in canoes. We were crossing between two islands and a mother river otter came swimming by with a young one in her mouth and another following her. The one following her was calling and barking. It looked like it was getting tired. It was swimming in circles and at one point came towards us. We were worried but we didn’t want to interfere. The mother deposited the one it had on the shore and then came back and got the other one. So, that was a happy ending. And it happened right in front of us.

nature.org: What is your holiday wish for nature?

Michael Melius: For the holidays, I wish people would buy gift memberships to The Nature Conservancy for their friends and family. That’s a good way to introduce them to the Conservancy while contributing.



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