by Carol Moncrieff Rose, NMCN Contributing Editor
The “holiday season” is officially upon us. We’ve gathered around the Thanksgiving table and given thanks for health, family and friends and the bounties of this beautiful state. The last of the turkey is in a soup pot and our thoughts have now turned to the gift-giving part of the season. For many, coming up with new gift ideas for those on our list who already seem to have everything is daunting. This year, why not consider the gift of conservation?
There are many organizations here in northern Michigan which specialize in Land Protection. An investment in one of northern Michigan’s land conservancies will help to sustain their efforts to protect and preserve the area’s natural, scenic and significant land in perpetuity. These organizations also provide a wide range of educational programs, field trips and unique outreach activities to encourage people to reconnect with the natural world. Such names as Little Traverse Conservancy, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, HeadWaters Land Conservancy, The Leelanau Conservancy, Walloon Lake Trust and Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy and others are all worthy of your consideration and support.
Other groups to think about are those which specialize in Conservation and Restoration of our natural resources. Huron Pines and Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA) are two of the more regional non-profit organizations dedicated to community development, conservation, water quality, habitat and river restoration. Road/stream crossings, dam removals, invasive species eradication and an extraordinary assortment of special outreach and educational opportunities keep their dedicated staffs very busy. Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council is dedicated to protecting northern Michigan’s lakes, streams, wetlands and groundwater and focuses their efforts on the counties in between those covered by their counterparts at Huron Pines and CRA.
If you or your intended gift recipient has a favorite river you like to visit, there are numerous watershed-focused non-profits grateful for your gift of conservation. These are all smaller, volunteer-driven entities such as the Upper Black River Council, Au Sable River Watershed Restoration Council, Pere Marquette Watershed Council, Friends of the Jordan River Watershed, Little Manistee River Watershed Conservation Council, Upper Manistee River Association, just to name a few. All of these groups work very hard to improve, restore and enhance their respective watersheds and river systems for the benefit of the aquatic wildlife species that dwell within them as well as recreational users like you and me who seek these places out for the enjoyment they provide us.
If you are more interested in supporting organizations and efforts which promote Conservation Values and Advocacy, there are myriads to choose from. These are the organizations that work 365 days a year to keep the conservation message at the forefront with our elected officials. Although there are likely too many to mention, several of our favorites have been linked at the top of our website masthead. Depending on your area of interest and personal priorities there are many local chapters of state and national organizations such as Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), Michigan Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, NWF and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worthy of your conservation gifts, as are your local conservation clubs.
In closing, whether it’s a donation in your own name or on behalf of a friend or family member, the gift of conservation is an investment that pays limitless dividends on which you’ll never have to pay capital gains taxes.