Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM
One of my favorite quotes is by American anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
We can each play an active role in changing the world for the better by preserving areas we care about. The Nature Conservancy has just made it easier with their Adopt-an-Acre program. They’ve updated their mapping tool today as the result of a Google Earth Outreach Developer Grant, which offers funding to organizations that create clever, cutting-edge applications using Google mapping technologies.
One of the solutions for widespread habitat loss is to acquire large plots of land for conservation. Since 1991, the Adopt-an-Acre program has protected more than 600,000 acres spanning from North America to Africa and Australia, even protecting offshore areas critical for delicate coral reefs and humpback breeding grounds.
There are two featured areas that allow you to adopt a specific acre, the Nash Prairie Preserve in Texas and the Warm Springs Mountain Preserve in Virginia. Simply fly to ground level on the embedded Google Map and choose your acre. You can also select your plot through Google Earth by clicking on the “View in Google Earth” link. This map enables any interested individual to make a pledge and help restore an acre of land to its pristine state.
The Nash Prairie Preserve in Texas is a beautiful and vital tall prairie grassland. These prairies used to cover wide expanses in the Bottomlands region of coastal Texas, but these areas have been reduced due to metropolitan encroachment. More than 120 bird species and 300 plant species thrive in this disappearing ecosystem, which you can help protect.
The Warm Springs Mountain Preserve in Virginia is the other area within a 77,000 acre wildlife corridor where you can adopt a specific acre. If you have a connection to the Allegheny Mountains in Virginia, or if you are passionate about preserving species like the interior dwelling songbird, you can choose from a variety of landscapes, pristine rivers and mountain forests to conserve.
Best of all, you can adopt an acre in the name of a loved one or as a gift to someone else. Their name will appear on the map alongside others who have entered their names in support of preserving our wild America.
Learn more about what nonprofits have done with mapping technologies on the Google Earth Outreach website.