The Nantucket Conservation Foundation is a group of dedicated individuals working to preserve the wild parts of the island. The main focus of the foundation is land acquisition, which is achieved primarily through donation. The foundation also purchases some parcels of land using income from NCF owned and operated farms in the Windswept and Milestone Cranberry Bogs.
The NCF is currently responsible for 213 properties comprising almost 9,000 acres, roughly 1/3 of Nantucket. Naturally, such a large quantity of land demands a substantial workforce. While the foundation employs rangers, stewards, and scientists, the volunteer program geared toward college undergrads is vital to the foundation’s success. Volunteers participate in various conservation programs, conducting research and monitoring both local and invasive species.
One current project is a study on sheep grazing in Squam Farm. When European settlers first arrived on Nantucket, they introduced sheep that would inhabit the island for the next several hundred years. The subsequent grazing was what shaped the current Nantucket vegetation. Now, the NCF hopes to learn how sheep grazing can help revive ailing plant species.
To learn more about the foundation and its very worthwhile projects please visit the website: https://www.nantucketconservation.org
When sea turtles hatch, they should be guided into the ocean by the moon, or light on the horizon. Nowadays, light pollution is driving sea turtles from their natural path, often into residential or commercial areas.
In Sarasota, Florida, one police officer was lucky enough to stumble upon several dozen hatchlings in the parking lot of the Lido Beach Resort while patrolling. The officer, Derek Conley, stopped traffic to put all of the baby turtles in a box. He then transported the turtles to the Gulf of Mexico for a safe release.
Although 3 hatchlings died before Officer Conley came to the rescue, he did manage to save 90-100 babies from almost certain doom.
Snow leopards have been prowling the mountains from Kazakhstan to Bhutan for ages, but these days their numbers are dropping dramatically due to a rather unexpected factor: an increased demand in cashmere.
To compensate for the higher sales, nomadic goat herders are expanding their stock at the expense of the snow leopard. The exponential growth of goat herds is resulting in a sharp decrease in local vegetation, which feeds the herbivores that the snow leopards prey on. The big cats are then forced to find food elsewhere and are often driven to preying on livestock.
This predatory behavior, of course, angers the livestock herders. Retaliatory killing is one of the main threats snow leopards face. Poaching and mining are also significant threats, poaching for obvious reasons and mining because of the toxic chemicals used.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to kickstart a snow leopard recovery without damaging the livelihood of the herders. Economic diversification could mean less dependence on livestock and reducing the size of the herds will allow for a gradual reversal of habitat loss.