This is a watershed moment for conservation in the United States. The Biden administration’s America the Beautiful initiative—along with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Law—is driving unprecedented levels of funding into the restoration, stewardship, and conservation of our lands and waters. But this influx of federal project delivery funding reveals a gap that needs to be filled: the on-the-ground capacity to get the work done. The Catalyst Fund, with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, aims to build capacity and help local and regional partnerships contribute toward achieving national conservation goals.
Biosphere regions are special places recognized internationally for their unique beauty, cultures, and economic value to society. They also contain landscapes and seascapes important to the well-being of humans and wildlife alike. Recently, these regions gained a new champion in their stewardship: the Center for Large Landscape Conservation announced today that they will support the United States Biosphere Network (USBN), a voluntary network representing the 28 biosphere regions located in the U.S., as a fiscally sponsored project.
The Center for Large Landscape Conservation recognizes and celebrates Native American Heritage Month. We value the relationships we have built with Tribal Nations and their many strengths as conservation partners, including their unique cultures, perspectives, knowledge systems, and governing structures. The modern conservation movement has much to learn from Native American Tribes, and we are pleased to share a few interesting and inspiring stories from 2021 of Indigenous-led conservation efforts.
The Network for Landscape Conservation has announced its 2021 Catalyst Fund grant awards, with 15 Landscape Conservation Partnerships from throughout the United States receiving support. Funds will be used to advance Partnerships’ efforts to protect the ecological, cultural, and community values of the landscapes they call home. Grants are made to Partnerships demonstrating a genuinely collaborative approach to conservation, involving a variety of stakeholders and often including historically marginalized communities who have been excluded from previous land-management decisions. In particular, a portion of the Fund is specifically dedicated to supporting Indigenous leadership in landscape conservation.
The Little Rocky Mountains in Montana form an island range in a sea of prairie. As a result of their isolation, they are home to plant and wildlife species that are not found anywhere nearby, leaving them especially vulnerable to climate change impacts. In the shadow of the Little Rockies, the Aaniiih and Nakoda peoples of the Fort Belknap Indian Community are taking a bold stand to protect this mountain ecosystem to help preserve their traditional ways of life. The Center is supporting this effort by assisting them in restoring forest health and planning for a rapidly changing climate.
Gerald Wagner is the Director of the Blackfeet Environmental Program and Director of Blackfeet Nation’s Drinking Water, Wastewater, and Solid Waste Program. We sat down with Gerald to discuss the insights he’s gained from his extensive work in conservation and his advice for conservation groups who want to partner with Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples.
Evidence of a changing climate can be seen in every community and every landscape. Across the globe, communities are experiencing more frequent and extreme weather events that include drought, intense wildfire seasons, air pollution, and flooding. Alarmingly, it has been estimated that even if worldwide human emissions were to halt overnight, the earth would still be feeling the effects of climate change for years to come. For this reason, communities from rural towns to major cities are proactively preparing for the challenges ahead.
We are pleased to announce the publication of our 2020 Annual Report, in which we share some of our exciting work that took place over the past year. While it was a year full of challenges for all of us, we forged ahead with our efforts to reverse fragmentation, restore nature’s resilience to climate change, and support community-led action. You’ll read stories illustrating the impact we have made, both locally and globally, with the help of our valued supporters and partners.
Terry Tatsey never sought a life of public service–he had long planned to work on his family’s ranch, but life had other plans. Terry was instrumental in building Blackfeet Community College’s environmental science program, before serving on the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council where he worked to integrate Amskapi Piikani values and knowledge into management decisions.
Mike Durglo has worked for the tribe for 38 years, mostly in the natural resources department. Mike started his career in public service in 1979, when he enrolled in the Tribal Police Academy in Brigham City, Utah, just two weeks after graduating high school. Mike was a police officer for about a year when he decided he would pursue other avenues to serve people and nature. He became a game warden and worked in that role for 13 years.