2021 Fundraising Partners
Based in Chicago, Urban Rivers is dedicated to building a mile long eco park in the Chicago River. By focusing on adding habitat back to a formerly industrial canal, Urban Rivers helps reconnect city dwellers to nature, and strengthen often ignored ecosystems. By taking lessons learned in Chicago to cities across the world, this project can demonstrate the benefit of caring for the ecological health of urban greenspaces in a practical, wildlife friendly manner.
The backbone of their flagship project, called the 'Wild Mile', uses artificial floating wetlands that provide a platform for hydroponic growth of dozens of native plant species. These platforms are designed to work within the confines of the river, and they allow plant life where none can currently exist due to the extensive network of seawalls, and constant fluctuation of water levels. Other efforts support different habitat types beyond the floating wetlands. This includes the reuse of cut invasive trees as submerged habitat, platforms that can support trees or different types of substrates, and boxes designed to house lab reared native burrowing mussel species.
Urban Rivers' work also focuses on community engagement and public education, to help people traditionally disconnected from nature to understand the importance of protecting and supporting wild green spaces, even in heavily urbanized environments. They work with local schools to develop curriculum based around the challenges to urban ecosystems, and bring those students out to observe their work. Their volunteer 'River Rangers' go out weekly to remove trash, invasive species, and assist in collecting data to support research into what ecological changes are occurring due to their efforts.
Based in north-central Idaho and the Palouse ecoregion, the Palouse Land Trust has been assisting landowners to conserve native habitat through conservation easements since 1995. The Palouse Prairie is only found in this region, and it is among the most endangered ecosystems in the continental United States with less than 1% of original habitat remaining. With a team of 3, they maintain connectivity and relationships with landowners across 12 million acres of land. The Land Trust has been able to secure over 540 acres of this prairie type and has contributed to the protection of several threatened species such as the Spalding’s catchfly (Silene spaldingii) and giant Palouse earthworm (Driloleirus americanus). Their detailed conservation plan lists goals for the Land Trust and describes how they will utilize data to create stability and sustainability in a patchwork ecosystem.
Learn more about the Palouse Land Trust on their website, linked here!
Founded in 1993, Current Problems started as a small river cleanup group and has evolved into a nonprofit which conducts restoration and community outreach as well as large cleanups across a quarter of the state of Florida. Their outreach efforts communicate to locals how to be stewards of their land, and they seek to make themselves obsolete by reducing plastic pollution at its source. Every cleanup is zero-waste: bags are compostable, supplies are reused, and no plastic waste is generated from the cleanup effort. Current Problems has between 7 and 13 cleanups every month, and they have removed over 933,000 pounds of waste in their 28 years of work.