Incept’s Spotlight on Nonprofits: World Wildlife Fund

At Incept, we believe in helping others, and not just by donating blood. Lately we’ve been

looking at nonprofit groups who go the extra mile to help others. One of my favorite nonprofits is the WWF or World Wildlife Fund.

The WWF is a group of conversationalists who work to protect the lives and habitats of wild animals. For the past 50 years, they have been educating people on the importance of protecting the environment and studying animals in their natural habitat. This year marks their 50th anniversary.

The WWF works all over the world, but there are certain areas with a higher density of endangered wildlife that make them high-priority areas. Some of the main places the WWF focuses on are the Amazon Rainforest in South America, Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico, the Congo Basin in Africa, and the Northern Great Plains here in the United States. These are just a few of the places that need protecting; there are others just as beautiful and exotic spread all over the world.

As you’d expect, covering that much area can be a lot of work. The WWF coordinates with 100 different countries and has about 1.2 million members here in the U.S. alone and about 5 million worldwide.

Like any nonprofit, though, they can’t do it alone. They rely on government funding, as well as the support of others (via fundraising and donations). Last year, it took $224,260,469 to help fund the conservation projects the WWF was working on. These funds helped to make great strides toward protecting the most endangered animals and environments.

I was surprised to see that the WWF even has conservation efforts going on close to home. I’ve lived in northeastern Ohio for most of my life and never had to go much farther than my own backyard to find wildlife.

The Southern Great Lakes Forests, which cover 94,400 square miles in Ohio, as well as parts of Michigan, Indiana, southwestern Ontario and western New York, are home to a lot of diverse wildlife. We have red foxes, white-tailed deer, grey and red squirrels, screech owls, green herons and mourning doves, just to name a few. The habitat itself is considered critical or endangered in many places. I was happy to find an article from 2001 mentioning the region and the animals I am familiar with.

There is also theAppalachian Mixed Mesophytic Forests nearby in southeastern Ohio and Pennsylvania. They extend into most of West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, east-central Tennessee, northwest Alabama and western North Carolina. Like the Southern Great Lakes Forests, this habitat is also considered a critical or endangered region.

You don’t have to be a biologist or ecologist to be a member of the World Wildlife Fund and help out. Simply by making a donation or adopting an animal, you can make a difference. Even something as small as cleaning up litter or making your backyard more suitable for wildlife can play a huge role in helping these creatures thrive.

So the next time you are outside for a walk, take a look around and pay attention to the creatures out there. You’ll be amazed how much wildlife is around us every day that we take for granted. Do your part and help keep their habitats healthy.