Strengthening Communities Through Authentic Partnerships

Baker Mural showing orange butterflies and flowers on a green background.
Photo Credit: Kate Unger

Big Impacts Through Community-Driven Steps

The Federation could not succeed without strategic relationships with other committed organizations, governments, and communities. These partnerships are built on the common goal of conservation, with an eye toward promoting environmental justice. We have established authentic and strategic connections with different partners to make changes where they live in the collaborative pursuit of protecting wildlife, people, and the planet.

Community-driven conservation is proven to produce tremendous results for people and wildlife. Locally driven Community Habitat Teams across the country have united around wildlife conservation, inclusive community engagement, and environmental stewardship. We continue to support and celebrate local leaders that are doing the small things that leave a big impact. This includes local stream cleanups, tree plantings, invasive species removal, native plant sales, family friendly nature events, and other restoration events that benefit the local community.

Samantha Miller, Communications and Partnerships Manager

17K+lease acres converted
to buffalo habitat
Photo Credit: Alexis Bonogofsky
Two young girls stand in front of a native habitat garden in an urban school.
Photo Credit: Shyra Chapman

Converting Cattle Leasing to Buffalo Habitat      

For generations, buffalo were driven to near extinction as a way to subjugate Tribes. The Federation’s ongoing partnership with the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes works to restore buffalo as wildlife and reconnect people with their cultural and ecological ties. In 2023, we succeeded in getting over 17,000 acres of cattle grazing leases shifted to free-ranging buffalo habitat. By working with Tribes and Indigenous partners, we are helping to restore cultural bonds to buffalo and advocate for increased capacity and resources for Tribal buffalo management and conservation.

Photo Credit: Jacob Byk

Bison drum circle

Arkansas Wildlife Federation Relaunch

When the Arkansas Wildlife Federation relaunched its organization, it did so with the goal of building strategic partnerships with communities that have been largely left out of conservation work in the state. The new executive director reached out to connect specifically with Black and LatinX communities. The Arkansas Wildlife Federation’s relaunch and its growing partnerships come at a critical time for federal policy, because the Arkansas congressional delegation plays a pivotal role in moving forward important national conservation policy.

Photo Credit: William Dark

Sunrise over H.E. Flanagan Prairie Natural Area

Collaborative, Community-Driven Conservation

Partnerships with governments and residents continue to create vibrant habitats that help endangered species find safe havens, especially along migration paths. 

The Mayors’ Monarch Pledge works with heads of local governments to educate residents and create native habitats for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators. Last year, 365 heads of government signed the Pledge, including mayors from six out of the ten largest U.S. cities. On the local level, our Community Wildlife Habitat program partners with cities, counties, and neighborhoods to restore wildlife habitats in urban and suburban areas. In 2023, 18 communities joined the program and six communities reached full certification; during the year, a total of 327 communities participate in the program. 

The Trees for Wildlife program supports efforts to distribute and plant native tree seedlings that fortify urban and rural ecosystems and benefit humans and wildlife. One example of our many partnerships was our work with the Texas Conservation Alliance who convened local partners to plant and giveaway native trees in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. 

Photo Credit: Tina Culp

Clean Earth Challenge Surpasses Three Million Mark 

Across the United States, volunteers have participated in the Clean Earth Challenge, a partnership between the Federation and Johnson Outdoors, a global innovator of outdoor recreation equipment and technology. The challenge is simple: pick up trash or debris while on a walk or at a favorite beach or local park. The original goal was to collect one million pieces of trash. But thanks to our dedicated volunteers, the challenge exceeded the three million mark and counting. From small towns to big cities, collective conservation action leads to big results.

Photo Credit: Diego Ramirez

Members of NWF participate in the Clean Earth Challenge, lining up for a photo in front of the bags of trash collected from a local park.