One of the world’s most effective conservation organizations exemplifies the chief tenet of Boulder County living: the conservation of open spaces.
Boulder-based The WILD Foundation works with communities around the globe to protect and connect natural spaces and wildlife, from the Arctic to Africa to the Amazon. WILD focuses on helping ecosystems prosper practically – not just despite the presence of humans, but in many cases in collaboration with human – from modern, developed communities to traditional, tribal cultures.
Showing communities how to grow and thrive while simultaneously safeguarding natural habitats essentially embraces the human side of conservation – not what environmentalists traditionally like to hug. It’s this twist that makes WILD such a powerful force in international wildlife conservation.
“Wildlife interact with human communities much more than we realize,” says Vance Martin, WILD president. “We know this in rural or urban areas such as Boulder that are adjacent to wild and natural areas. But cities, too, have increasing population of foxes and coyotes, hawks and lots of other wildlife. Whether it is in wilderness or in ‘wild’ cities, wildlife and humans can live together, creating a much more rich, interesting, healthy and natural lifestyle with humans as a part of nature, not separate from it.”
Consider WILD’s global Nature Needs Half (NNH) initiative. The goal: to formally protect and interconnect 50 percent of the world’s land and water. Currently, only about 12.7 percent of land and 3.4 percent of the oceans are officially protected.
WILD carries out this vision through a variety of targeted projects, communications initiatives, its World Wilderness Congresses, and collaborative partnerships with long-established organizations such as the Zoological Society of London, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and many others. With projects focusing on reviving urban nature, protection of exotic species, collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and empowering a movement of rising leaders, WILD works around the clock to save the world’s last remaining wildlands and animals.
Boulder County is a fitting home for WILD’s headquarters. Since 1898, when Boulder residents purchased parts of Bachelder Ranch (now Chautauqua Park) for preservation, residents, government and nonprofits have worked vigilantly to maintain and grow local open spaces.
Today Boulder County holds more than 100,000 acres of open space lands through direct ownership or conservation easements – encompassing 68 percent of the county. Additional acquisitions are constantly in the works. And Boulder residents, for the most part, embrace coexistence with wildlife.
An abundance of open, natural space is perhaps the most important driver of life quality here in Boulder County. Boulderites know that being closer to nature, while carefully preserving its unspoiled splendor, is something that makes life better – much better.
For a global look at Nature Needs Half:
Boulder is a superb case study for a Nature Needs Half world:
Get involved – be WILD!
To connect or find out more, contact Melanie Hill, director of communications, at Melanie@wild.org.