The Nature Conservancy in Michigan Closes Most Successful Fundraising Campaign to Date
The Nature Conservancy in Michigan (TNC) has completed an enormously successful fundraising campaign for conservation: “Michigan—It’s in Our Nature.” In just six years, TNC raised more than $100 million, which was invested in four priority areas for Michigan conservation: healthy waters, thriving coasts, resilient forests and climate action.
“We couldn’t have accomplished this without our many generous, dedicated supporters,” notes Helen Taylor, TNC’s state director for Michigan. “The most important thing is what the money accomplished in conservation, not how much was raised -- and we couldn’t do this work without the partners we collaborate with to achieve so much for conservation. In a challenging year, I’ve seen just how much our connection to nature, and to each other, can inspire us.”
Key highlights of the six-year effort:
TNC made it a priority during the campaign to help protect and restore our Great Lakes fisheries. At the beginning of the campaign, scientists began a reef restoration project in Grand Traverse Bay, where native lake herring, lake whitefish and lake trout spawn. Now, nearly six years later, monitoring data shows increased reproduction, and these methods are being replicated elsewhere in the Great Lakes.
Throughout the campaign, TNC collaborated with farmers in the Saginaw Bay watershed to increase conservation practices—resulting in greater soil health, yield and water quality. This work resulted in 75,000 acres under new practices, 24,000 pounds of reduced phosphorus runoff and 5,500 tons of sediment reduced.
In 2019, TNC worked hand-in-hand with the community of Sacred Heart Church in Detroit to use nature to manage stormwater and bring green space to beautify the neighborhood. Redesigning their parking lot with green infrastructure is enabling the church to manage stormwater runoff from the rooftop and parking lot, managing up to 3.5 million gallons of stormwater a year and keeping an estimated 1.5 million gallons out of the combined sewer system. This project is especially important as TNC works with Detroit’s iconic Eastern Market to implement new large-scale green stormwater infrastructure efforts.
TNC has used this campaign period to expand and amplify its climate-related policy and conservation efforts, harnessing expertise and relationships to promote clean energy and generate bipartisan support for the reduction of carbon emissions in Michigan and beyond.
Over nearly 40 years, TNC has protected more than 389,000 acres across the state. During this campaign, two highlights were acquiring the Wilderness Lakes Reserve with its 6,000 acres of Upper Peninsula forests and the North Point project, which protected four miles of Lake Huron shoreline. These projects not only protect beautiful Michigan landscapes, they are helping TNC implement nature-based solutions to climate change. Wilderness Lakes Reserve is sequestering more than 200,000 metric tons of carbon and North Point is protecting important coastal habitat, according to TNC leaders.
“These highlights are only a few examples of what this campaign meant for conservation in Michigan,” said Jeremy Wittrock, TNC’s director of development for Michigan. “I’m both heartened and humbled by generosity and commitment of TNC’s supporters to conserving Michigan’s lands and waters.”
To learn more about these, and other, achievements, visit nature.org/ourmichigan. Follow TNC on social media (@TNCMichigan) this week to see celebration stories from the campaign.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.