The flurry of Thanksgiving and e-commerce bonanzas like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, but let’s not lose sight of what this season is really about. It’s a time to be thankful, even amid the chaos. It’s a time to offer help if we can, especially to worthy causes and organizations, especially today, on Giving Tuesday, a “global generosity movement” that encourages people to donate their time or resources to a cause they’re passionate about. We want to you to think about something that’s easy to overlook and arguably more valuable than ever: The outdoors.
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We are fortunate to live in a country with tremendous natural areas; untouched wildernesses that feed the soul and remind that we’re part of a massive larger ecosystem. Amid growing populations and commercial interests, these special places are increasingly under threat. And, tough as Mother Nature is, these places often can’t defend themselves from human destruction.
It’s always advisable to start local, so seek out your own area organizations first and foremost. Then, consider the following national organizations working to preserve the treasured lands you love to explore.
Natural Resources Defense Council
The NRDC had long championed natural environments and equal access to them for all. It’s a busy organization, carrying out research, litigation, advocacy, and more in the name of our lands and oceans.
This environmental organization has chapters in all 50 states, launched back in 1892 by John Muir. Its especially active these days in dealing with pressing threats like climate change and the use of fossil fuels.
The National Audubon Society
Billions of birds call our nation home, often in stunning locales we too like to recreate in. Help protect our feathered friends and their endangered habitats by considering the good work of the National Audubon Society.
National Parks Conversation Association
Anybody who’s set foot in Yellowstone or the Everglades knows the magic of our National Park system. Help keep it alive and well by donating to and following the ongoing efforts of the National Parks Conversation Association. Your kids will thank you.
Center for Biological Diversity
This organization kickstarted in 1989 and has since become one of the best resources for looking after the well-being of endangered critters. The non-prof is based in Arizona but covers the entire country, logging long days on behalf of more than 400 enchanting and threatened animals, from spotted owls to Atlantic salmon.
This outfit is basically a legal representative of planet Earth, with more than 150 lawyers fighting on its behalf. It got its start in 1971 and has since secured important victories for lands and waterways all over.
Indigenous Environmental Network
Let’s not forget that this land belonged to other communities well before it belonged to its more recent interlopers. IEN works to represent the interests of indigenous peoples, especially where land use and protection is concerned.
Hike it Baby
Like outdoor school for the littlest ones, Hike it Baby nudges young families outside to play on trails all over the country. Not only does the organization push to expose young kids to the outdoors, it also priorities diversity, equity, and inclusion within these places.
Environmental Defense Fund
The EDF as been at it since 1967, using a dynamic mix of economics, science, and health to gauge and conserve important elements of the outdoors. One of its many merits is its focus on data and research and a general perspective that sees how just about everything is connected in some way to nature.
Responsible for the fantastic Wild Scenic Rivers campaign, American Rivers champions our favorite and most appealing waterways. Not only does the outfit defend healthy watersheds (the lifeblood of any good ecosystem), it looks to repair damaged ones.
Alliance for the Wild Rockies
One of few regional organizations on the list, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies looks after the largest intact ecosystem in the lower 48. As such, it’s an important mission that preserves not only some of the nation’s most dramatic peaks and valleys, but vital inhabitants like the grizzly bear, gray wolf, and bison.
National Park Foundation
The National Parks are too important for just one protector. This foundation is the official charitable partner of the NPS and strives to safeguard the nation’s many wonderful, federally recognized treasures.
Public Land Water Access Association
The other more-focused organization on the list, PLWA is devoted to one of the largest and most beautiful states in the country in Montana. It works to maintain and restore public access to the many lands you love to play in, whether it’s fly-fishing a creek or camping on a bluff.
Oceanic Preservation Society
Let’s not forget about the vast seas which cover the majority of the planet. This California-based team combats international threats to our oceans through alliances with groups from all over and powerful educational films.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
This national troop keeps a watchful eye over natural areas two parties — hunters and anglers — cherish and know particularly well. The group focuses particularly on improved and lasting access to these beloved spots as well as stewardship.
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