There's a competition going on! The Greater Outdoors Project is rewarding nonprofit organizations that work towards preserving, protecting and providing access to America's great outdoors. In conjunction with Planet Green, the project's creator, Redwood Creek is giving away a $50,000 grant to the best project. And, our very own Graham Hill is one of the judges. The finalists have already been chosen. Check them out!
Top Five Projects
WildEarth Guardians, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe River Restoration Project: WildEarth Guardians' "Stream Team" will restore a 3-mile portion of the city of Santa Fe's namesake river as part of the celebration for Santa Fe's 400th anniversary as the oldest city in the United States. The particular area restoration area is in a beautiful, scenic canyon found just south of Santa Fe. It also proposes building a trail for pedestrian and equestrian traffic that will reconnect the community with the river. This stretch of river is well suited to volunteer days because of its visibility in the community and the resources it contains. Trail restoration could include educational kiosks about what a community-based restoration vision can accomplish.
Timing: June 2009 to May 2010
$50K funding: site preparation/equipment, outreach materials, E-communication, volunteer day costs, outreach coordinator salary
Arizona Trail Association, Tucson, Arizona
Creation of Trailhead and five miles of trail: The Arizona Trail is a 800-plus mile scenic trail across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. Building the trailhead and five-mile trail will complete the first-ever Arizona statewide trail, a valuable addition to its national roster of long-distance trails. Because of Arizona's exploding population and Tucson's suburban development toward the edges of Saguaro National Park, access into this wilderness is urgently needed. The trail will route people away from the sensitive Rincon Creek, an ephemeral desert water source bordered with high quality riparian habitat. With this trail alignment, users will traverse past the creek into the foothills quickly, and not disturb the area. Because the planned section is in a wilderness area, it must all be built by hand.
Timing: Six-month timeframe
$50K funding: paid trail crews, volunteers, kiosks, signage
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, Cape May, New Jersey
Ponderlodge Golf Course Wildlife Habitat Restoration: Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey will partner with the Department of Environmental Protection to carry out the habitat restoration needed at the Ponderlodge site, a property that functioned as a golf course prior to being purchased for open space in 2006. Its location on the Cape May Peninsula makes this site part of the world renowned Cape May Stopover. The design of this project maximizes the site for use by wildlife and people for outdoor recreation, wildlife viewing and environmental education and could result in a showcase project that receives high visitation.
Timing: June 2009 to November 2009
$50K funding: salary benefits, admin costs, habitat treatments and educational material
National Forest Foundation, Cascade Mountains, Central Oregon
Providing Access to newly restored River Whychus: National Forest Foundation (NFF) will create trails to the 20-mile Whychus Creek, featuring a remote riverside, waterfalls, and deep channels in basalt rock. Recreation activity is growing, so NFF will establish trails to the river that follow the most appropriate path, maximizing the visitor experience while protecting natural resources. These new trails will cover at least 10 miles, intersecting with existing trails and mountain bike routes. Twenty miles of inappropriate, user-created trails will be obliterated and restored. Ten acres of native species will be replanted to enhance streamside habitat. NFF will engage volunteers in the implementation of this project through its Friends of the Forest Days events.
Timing: June 2009 to May 2010
$50K funding: trail construction, planting of native vegetation, cleaning/protecting of cultural resource sites, two "Friends of the Forest" volunteer days
Friends of City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana
Couturie Forest & Arboretum Restoration Project: Friends of City Park will fund over 19 acres of ecosystem in Couturie Forest. Before Hurricane Katrina destroyed it, the forest featured a mile of trail where visitors could view a variety of fauna, including species of songbirds, ducks, owls and pelicans. The Forest is located in New Orleans City Park, a 33-acre natural refuge where urbanites go to fish and bird watch in the solitude of the woodland. The grant would enable Friends of City Park provide visitors with easy access to these unique and important ecosystems. Reestablishment would include 12 acres of Bottomland Hardwood Forest, three acres of Riparian Forest, two acres of Upland Hardwood Forest and 2.2 acres of Coastal Prairie.
Timing: November 2009 through December 2010
$50K funding: four ecosystems in over 19 acres of land
From now until May 31, 2009, you can vote for your favorite nonprofit via text message or online. The winner will be announced during the summer.
More on Great Conservation Projects
Catch the Green Living Project—On Tour 2009
Earthwatch Institute Sends Volunteers on Conservation Missions
New Map Shows Wilderness Disappearing
Wilderness Has Deep Value In Hard Economic Times