From the Director: Building Equity and Justice in Our Work
Perfect vision is 20/20. 2020 proved the optical opposite, a year clouded with uncertainty. COVID-19 threw the world off balance. The unnecessary deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and others rocked societal foundations. Just up the coast, Christian Cooper, who was racially profiled while birding, reminds us that racism extends its toxic tendrils into the environmental movement that many of us, especially white people like me, have assumed to be morally pure and built on just intentions.
For example, take conservation easements, a trusted land protection tool. Land-use restrictions such as easements share a legal history with racial “redlining” and exclusionary zoning. (Redlining was the practice of shading the Black communities on maps with red to mark them as credit risks.) As we launch an urban conservation program in Baltimore, the birthplace of redlining, we are reminded that social and environmental justice must be woven throughout our conservation agenda, regardless of place. Understanding the history of the environmental movement and how it serves to support the established dominant groups will help us break down this unjust hierarchy.
Despite the tumultuous year, we have many accomplishments to share. I’m especially proud of our team members, all of whom who adapted gracefully to working from home and re-imagined peer and partner engagement. Thanks to our talented staff, trustees and supporters who sustain our mission in diffcult circumstances.
While we face major societal unrest, the climate crisis is not abating, and the lands and waters we cherish will not heal themselves. At TNC, we continue to sail forward, despite the significant headwinds, and I promise we will build more equity and justice in our work, knowing it’s the only way to ensure that people and nature thrive together. That, at least, is clear.
2020 Impact Report: What's Inside
Despite the fact that the human population in the capital region has more than doubled in the past 50 years, water quality in the Chesapeake Bay has actually improved. How have farmers contributed to this great success story? The answer is regenerative agriculture.
Western Maryland plays a particularly critical role in the connectivity of the nearly 2,000 mile Appalachian Mountain spine. We're working in Maryland to utilize science and build relationships with private and public landowners to keep this forest connected and resilient.
Over the past two year, the mid-Atlantic region has experienced record rain and heat. In Washington, D.C., we're working with community partners and landowners to implement natural solutions to address the challenges of stormwater runoff, flooding and deadly heat waves.
2020 At A Glance
Sideling Hill Creek Controlled Burn
TNC and partners conducted controlled burns on more than 500 acres of central Appalachian forests in western Maryland as the first step toward an ambitious goal to return the natural process of fire at a landscape scale. Learn More
Expanding Into Baltimore
TNC received a grant from the Baltimore based France-Merrick Foundation to launch a conservation program in the city of Baltimore that will focus primarily on deploying nature-based solutions to stormwater pollution and flooding in the city. Learn More
Supported the Great American Outdoors Act
This summer, the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law, fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and providing critical funding to restore our national parks. The LWCF is an important vehicle used by TNC and other conservation groups to safeguard our nation’s most important natural areas. Learn More
Accelerated District Stormwater Credit Sales
TNC’s wholly owned subsidiary, which builds green infrastructure projects and sells the resulting stormwater retention credits, completely sold out of credits in 2020, continuing to prove that market forces can drive conservation. Learn More
Retrofitted Smart Ponds to Improve Water Quality
TNC and technology partner Opti have converted three stormwater retention ponds in Maryland to “smart ponds.” Smart ponds use adaptive, cloud-based technologies to anticipate precipitation and control water levels to maximize pollution removal and reduce flooding. Learn More
Protected Wetland Adaptation Acres
TNC protected more than 660 acres of critical habitat across Maryland last year, with a focus on protecting lands that will support the adaptation of coastal habitats in the face of sea-level rise. Learn More
Restored Pocomoke River Floodplains
TNC and partners restored 245 acres of floodplains along the main stem of the Pocomoke River, contributing to the largest wetland restoration project in Maryland’s history. Learn More
Supported TNC Brazil
Last year, Maryland staff and trustees continued a learning and fundraising partnership with TNC’s Brazil Program. The Amazon rainforests are the lungs of the planet and the Maryland/DC chapter is committed to helping protect this important habitat and its indigenous inhabitants. Learn More
Make a Difference
Together we can find creative solutions to tackle our most complex conservation challenges and build a stronger future for people and nature. Will you help us continue this work?