The Phoenix Conservancy was founded in late 2016, receiving official 501(c)(3) status from the IRS in early January 2017. The mission of the Phoenix Conservancy is to restore endangered ecosystems globally for the communities that depend on them and the conservation of biodiversity. The focus on local communities is one of the most important components of what we do and informs our restoration decisions and project focus. We believe that solving community problems with conservation solutions will ensure the long-term sustainability of our programs. Additionally, we feel that through collaboration with other NGO’s, government agencies, research institutions, and local stakeholders we can leverage the strengths of each to grow funding opportunities and program capacity.
In the two years since our founding, we have undertaken projects in four US states and two countries. Through these projects we have worked with the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game, the Palouse Conservation District, the National Forest Service, the Rainforest Trust, the City of Pullman, Palouse Prairie Charter School, Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, among others. Our work falls into the broad categories of direct environmental restoration, education/outreach, and research.
The direct restoration programs that we develop begin by gaining an understanding of the local ecosystem, what native biodiversity is present, which pressures are most significant, and any potential avenues for restoration. Outreach is equally important because it allows for us to connect directly with local communities to begin having the conversations that will ultimately inform us about the problems that face the region.
Once we have an understanding of the problems facing local communities and the native biodiversity of the region, we can begin to research different restoration techniques and plans that can solve these problems.
And finally, when we are confident in a science-based solution to community problems that can also increase native biodiversity in a sustainable way, we begin to collaborate with local stakeholders that will be partnering with us for restoration, and will eventually take ownership of this restoration as a community endeavor.
Since our founding, we have sought to refine this process by working on three different scales; local, national, and international. On each of these scales we evaluate endangered ecosystems based on the amount of remaining habitat, the severity of threats to that ecosystem, and the opportunities for ecosystem solutions to regional problems. Using these measures, we have founded projects in the Palouse, in the short-grass prairies of the Great Plains, and in the forests of Madagascar. We are not currently seeking new project sites and instead are focusing on improving our organization and our processes to make sure that we truly understand how to have the greatest impact on the world.