Building a Resilient Future: Our Campaign Impact
Over the past five years, you've helped create a thriving world in New York and beyond.
From Executive Director, Bill Ulfelder
Our Impact Together
Thanks to your generous leadership, The Nature Conservancy completed our historic Our World Campaign—an unprecedented 5-year investment to tackle climate change and conserve healthy lands, waters and oceans, in New York and across the globe. The campaign enabled science-driven, collaborative pathways to promote renewable energy, secure clean water and conserve healthy landscapes, so that all of nature—humanity included—can thrive, now and into the future.
Looking back, we invested in nature to improve flood resilience in shoreline communities and restore natural water flows in Lake Ontario and in streams across the state. Working with leaders and communities, we secured breakthrough legislation to fast-track New York’s goal to reach 100% renewable-energy electricity by 2040 and to combat nitrogen pollution in Long Island’s coastal waters. And we restored decimated fish populations, attracting record numbers of whales and dolphins back to New York waters. Even in this extremely challenging final year of the campaign, we seized opportunities to create a better future, safeguarding the unparalleled 14,600-acre Follensby landscape in the Adirondacks and launching a tree stewardship initiative in New York City.
Thanks to New Yorkers like you, these solutions are scaling to the Caribbean, India and around the world. With your help, we are building a resilient, equitable and vibrant future, at home and throughout the globe.
Looking ahead, we are working to secure state funds for the environment to make New York safer, healthier and more prosperous. Our community-based partnerships are improving equitable access to nature, in New York City and beyond. And our science-based approach is advancing clean energy and climate resilience as part of New York’s economic recovery.
Together, we can make a difference for generations to come.
With profound appreciation,
Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in New York
Member, Global Executive Council
From Board Chair 2018-2020, Jim Attwood
New York Leading
As Chair of the New York Board from 2018-2020, I was inspired to witness the profound impacts The Nature Conservancy has achieved in and beyond New York, and I thank you for your remarkable leadership and generosity.
In New York, the Conservancy is setting a global example of how science and nature are our most powerful allies in the fight against climate change. We are innovating ways to build out wind and solar facilities without harming lands, oceans, wildlife and communities to accelerate the much-needed growth of renewable energy, in the Empire State and beyond. We advanced nature’s vast capacity to absorb carbon emissions, and ramped up efforts with landowners, partner organizations and agencies to protect forests across New York, North America and around the world. And working with communities and leaders, we supported climate progress in dozens of states and are building common ground at the national level.
The success of the Our World Campaign sets a formidable benchmark for what we can achieve, in New York and as New York. Your partnership is critical. Thank you for all you do to help create a thriving and resilient world.
Chair, New York Board of Trustees, 2018-2020
The Nature Conservancy works to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. If we act now, nature can thrive and so can we. With partners around the world, we are tackling climate change and securing healthy lands, waters and oceans. With nature, we can build a healthier, more equitable and resilient world for future generations. The world we depend on depends on us. Thank you for being a part of it.
Our World, New York
Tackling the Challenges to Our World
Thanks to generous New York supporters, our unprecedented campaign for conservation and climate action closed in 2020. From Montauk to the Adirondacks, we conserved lands and waters we all need, and advanced climate and clean energy progress. We also scaled solutions for healthy lands, waters, oceans and communities to more than 74 countries around the world. Nature unites us, and together, we are making sure future generations can thrive.
A Stable Climate
Leading Groundbreaking Legislation and Science
We are forging solutions to address climate change. We ensured that New York’s climate law is the nation’s strongest, with a goal of 100% clean energy by 2040. Now our siting science helps guide where new wind and solar energy can expand with minimal impact to lands, communities and our Atlantic waters—a global model for smart energy growth. And our findings on the carbon-absorbing power of nature launched partnerships that, in the coming years, will conserve 100,000 acres of forest across New York and 2 million acres from Virginia to Vermont.
Making Way for More Water
To withstand flooding, we need unprecedented investments in healthy coasts, lakeshores and streams. With communities and agencies, we are jumpstarting the recovery of nature’s buffers. On Long Island and Staten Island, we are restoring protective coastal marshes, and across New York, we are revitalizing natural stream flows. In the Seychelles Islands, our groundbreaking debt-for-conservation model protects 400,000 km2 of ocean, reefs and mangroves to shield coastal communities—a resilience solution we are scaling to the Caribbean and worldwide.
Conserving Nature’s Strongholds
Across New York, we safeguard lands and waters so that wildlife, like bear and moose, can adapt to a changing climate. From the Zoar Valley near Buffalo to Follensby’s forests in the Adirondacks, our conservation efforts anchor a connected landscape across the Northeast. Our more than 100 New York nature preserves provide vital respite, especially during the pandemic. Leveraging science, finance and community partnerships, we are reconnecting key habitats in and around New York and beyond, from Mongolia to British Columbia to the Caribbean.
Tackling New York’s Nutrient Pollution Crisis
From Long Island to the Great Lakes, our water bodies are under pressure. We helped secure unprecedented state and county funds to protect water sources and combat wastewater pollution—the cause of toxic algal blooms in our lakes and bays. In a dozen communities, we galvanized diverse leaders to manage for the whole water cycle, from source to sink, and worldwide, Conservancy financial innovations now safeguard wetlands and drinking water sources from Cape Town, South Africa to the Murray-Darling basin in Australia.
Restoring Fish and Ocean Life
The Conservancy promotes science-based solutions for abundant oceans. We sparked the recovery of the critical fish Atlantic menhaden by mobilizing a diverse coalition to advocate for new fisheries management. Working from Long Island to Virginia, we pushed for sustainable menhaden catches—benefiting whales, dolphins and striped bass. Worldwide, the Conservancy tackles overexploitation of fisheries and helps island nations, from the Caribbean to the South Pacific, protect marine areas and restoring resilient corals.
Advancing Greener and More Equitable Cities
Urban nature is vital for our health, well-being and resilience to the impacts of climate change. In New York City, we planted 25,000 trees to restore Jamaica Bay, engaged community groups to care for street trees and helped replant oysters to New York Harbor. We launched a bold initiative and broad coalition to sustain New York City’s urban forest so that it can thrive and benefit all neighborhoods. And in more than 20 cities worldwide, we work with local leaders on environmental solutions for resilient, more equitable urban communities.
Our Unprecedented Investment in the Future
Thanks to you, the Conservancy has completed an historic campaign for conservation and climate action, raising more than $8 billion in public and private funding for urgent work around the world. In New York, we surpassed our goal of $300 million, secured $385 million in outright gifts and planned giving, and raised $3 million in impact investing—an innovative way to leverage revenue for transformative projects. This outstanding support propelled bold work to tackle climate change and conserve healthy lands, waters, and oceans. In New York, we secured nation-leading clean energy legislation, conserved prime forests and marshes from Long Island to the Adirondacks, and unlocked unprecedented funding for clean water. Globally, New Yorkers helped conserve coral reefs and oceans from the Caribbean to the Seychelles, safeguard vast landscapes from Mongolia to Belize, and launch freshwater solutions in Africa and Australia. And in New York City and cities elsewhere, we worked to create greener, more equitable places where future generations can thrive. With science, policy, and the dedication of our supporters, we are addressing the world’s toughest challenges. But much work lies ahead, and building a resilient future depends on all of us.
- Daniel C. Chung, Chair, Our World Campaign New York
Why Us, Why Now
With more than 4,000 conservationists and hundreds of partner organizations worldwide, The Nature Conservancy is forging lasting solutions for the planet. With science as our cornerstone, we are unlocking the power of nature to tackle climate change and sustain healthy lands, waters and communities. The Conservancy in New York leads on financial innovations and bold policies to: expand renewable energy and regrow forests; restore lakes and coastal habitats; and empower greener, more equitable and resilient cities. Together, we have impact at a global scale and can build a thriving world for future generations.
- Susannah Smetana Kagan, Chair, New York Board of Trustees, 2021-2023