People and wildlife are part of the same ecosystem.
We cannot solve wildlife or ecological crises without also addressing societal crises and challenges, including gender and racial injustice. We cannot develop sustainable solutions to these complex, intersectional challenges without including an uplifting diverse voices who have not traditionally been at the table. The value of this intersectional approach is that through this process we can identify common solutions that more effectively address many of these challenges.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center is working through an equity and justice lens to support healthy habitats and communities, and inspire the next generation of conservation leaders and stewards. We are creating a continuum of engagement with individuals of all ages that strengthens bonds with their communities, the natural world, and each other. In addition to large-scale and broader outreach, our programming has embraced the transformative change that comes from developing deeper relationships and engagement rooted in storytelling, localized relationships, placed based solutions that uplift and support local communities for the long haul. We work collaboratively with community partners with a focus on anchor institutions, including K-12 schools, early childhood centers, and houses of worship. Through these efforts, working alongside our community partners, we create and bolster networks of both people and habitats, promoting our shared vision of access to nature for all.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Sacred Grounds program engages diverse communities in building healthier habitats and neighborhoods through the process of installing wildlife habitats at these institutions and engaging the broader community in the process. The Sacred Grounds program is designed to be flexible and easily adapted to meet participants’ key needs and interests, providing tools to help them achieve their visions for healthier communities and ecosystems.
The mission of the Sacred Grounds program is to promote the installation of a native plant gardens that connect people to nature and provide access to nature for all. Particularly in urban communities, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) have less access to nature and safe green spaces than white folks in the same cities. Native plants are not only a foundation for healthy ecosystems and wildlife, but also play an important role in mental, physical, and social health by providing opportunities for people to connect to nature in their neighborhoods and communities. Native plants can also help to manage stormwater and reduce flooding, support local food cultivation, improve water quality, and enhance community resilience. Through the Sacred Grounds program, participants both learn to plant and install their own native plant garden, while educating and engaging the community and contributing to a network of accessible natural spaces and habitats
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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.