Stories About our Friends Groups

Learn more about the friends groups that work together to expand the National Conservation Lands. Is there a place you love that should be protected? Join our grassroots network.

Our Friends Grassroots Network–made up of 63 community-based groups, mostly in the West–helps individual groups use their collective influence to advocate for new designations and advance strong conservation management policies and practices.

Conservation starts with community, and history has shown that places are best protected when there is a passionate group of local citizen advocates to lead the effort. But while local advocates have incredible knowledge, credibility and ambition, they often lack financial resources and the ability to influence decisions about the places they cherish.

The Conservation Lands Foundation builds and strengthens these groups and their tireless leaders, providing training in fundraising, media outreach, leadership development as well as grants and networking opportunities.

In 2015, thirty-seven Friends Groups reported on the work they did. They range from long-established groups like the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project, founded in New Mexico in 1967, to Nevada’s Friends of Basin and Range National Monument, which is just getting off the ground this year.

Positive On-the-Ground Impact:

  • The 37 groups located in 11 states conducted 335 restoration-stewardship events.
  • 2,821 staff and volunteers worked 53,131 hours on these events.
  • Their work impacted 122 miles of rivers and streams
  • They closed 44 miles of illegal roads, rebuilt or maintained 212 miles of trail, and removed invasive and/or planted native species on 17,331 acres of habitat.

In addition, Friends Grassroots Network groups conducted clean-ups and/or removed graffiti an astounding 838 times. Groups also conduct water quality monitoring and have volunteer “site steward” programs to monitor and protect cultural resources. More than 290 volunteers serve as board members for these organizations, accepting fiscal responsibility and providing leadership for countless programs.

“We know that protecting public lands and their historical, cultural and ecological resources is good for southern New Mexico’s economy and quality of life, but it’s a big job. Support from the Conservation Lands Foundation has helped us with everything from organizational development, leadership and fundraising to effective campaign strategy to get and keep the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument protected.  Today, we’re the leading local voice people look to for information about the Monument, and we wouldn’t be here without the support of the Conservation Lands Foundation.”
— Ben Gabriel, Executive Director, Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

Is your organization a member of the Friends Grassroots Network? Please show your support on your website!


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