Air and water pollution, global warming, and wildfires are just a few of the environmental issues that we are facing right now as a globe.
The GOOD news is that there are nonprofits working every day not only to protect and improve our environment here locally, but to go the step further and educate our community about the importance of being environmentally conscious. Small changes at a local level can lead to a bigger impact for our globe if communities around the world all do their part. So, let’s do ours.
In October, we will be turning our #SpotlightOnCLT on our nonprofit partners who work to protect and conserve our environment as well as those that serve to educate our community about the environment and renewable, sustainable energy.
Learn more about how these organizations and how YOU can support their work, below.
100 Gardens creates engaging and exciting learning opportunities by implementing aquaponics gardening programs in schools, institutions, and communities of need. Their vision is to inspire a new way of thinking for young people in the greater Charlotte region and eventually beyond which they believe is a necessary step to ensure the sustainability of the human species and the planet we depend on.
Anne Springs Close Greenway
The Anne Springs Close Greenway is a 2,100 acre nature preserve that allows individuals in the Greater Charlotte region to engage in conservation through educational, recreational events and programs. Events and programs are powered by volunteers who then enjoy all the Greenway has to offer. The Greenway is home to over 130 horses. Visitors enjoy 36 miles of multi use trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The Greenway offers free access days, events and program scholarships to assure all, regardless of socio-economic circumstances, can enjoy it.
Carolina Farm Trust
Carolina Farm Trust is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting local farms with funds, land, and sustainable energy to compete with corporate farming. Their mission is to overcome the rapidly growing challenge of affordable food access throughout the Carolinas. As the demand for locally produced food continues to rise, our populations increase, and as our cities grow, Carolina Farm Trust believes we need to ensure that food will continue to be produced locally which is why they work tirelessly to make production simple and profitable so we can foster an ecosystem of sustainable farming.
Carolina Thread Trail
The Carolina Thread Trail is a developing regional network of connected greenways, natural surface trails and blueways that reaches 15 counties and 2.3 million people. There are over 300 miles of trail and greenway and over 170 miles of blueway open to the public with 1,600 miles planned for the purpose of recreation, transportation and conservation. The Thread Trail preserves our natural areas and is a place for exploration of nature, culture, science and history. This is a landmark project that provides public and community benefits for everyone, in every community. The Thread Trail is providing a community and conservation legacy that will give so much, to so many, for so long.
Catawba Lands Conservancy
Catawba Lands Conservancy (CLC) is a land trust – a nonprofit, community-based conservation organization that permanently conserves and manages land for public benefit in the Southern Piedmont of North Carolina. They are dedicated to saving land and connecting lives to nature. Their six-county land protection area includes Catawba, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg and Union counties. CLC currently permanently conserves over 170 properties including over 15,000 acres of land. That land includes farmland, ecologically rich lands to protect wildlife habitat and local drinking water, and land to provide the public with a direct connection to explore the natural world around them.
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation
The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation (CRF) educates and advocates to protect the lakes, rivers and streams of the Catawba-Wateree River basin. As part of its education focus, CRF educates youth about water issues through hands-on programming and a summer youth kayaking program. CRF also leads eco-tours, trains volunteers to investigate common problems, makes educational presentations to community groups and educates public officials about water issues. CRF's advocacy efforts include meeting with elected officials and industry leaders, submitting public comments on proposed regulations and projects, and litigating as a last resort to enforce the environmental laws.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden's Mission is to create an inspiring, unforgettable garden experience that instills a love of nature and its beauty. From the peaceful drive as you meander down the road to the Visitors Pavilion to immersing yourself in the beauty found throughout the Garden, you know you have entered a space created for all to take delight. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, a Garden for all seasons, provides guests a chance to reconnect with nature.
NC Sustainable Energy Association
NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is the leading nonproﬁt organization that drives public policy and market development for clean energy. Their work enables clean energy jobs, economic opportunities and aﬀordable energy options for North Carolinians.NCSEA works with its members and partners to transform our state and region’s energy system through market innovation and policy advocacy primarily in ten clean energy technology sectors: alternative fuel vehicles (primarily electric vehicles), biogas, energy eﬃciency, energy storage, fuel cells, geothermal, hydropower/marine, smart grid, solar, and wind.
North Carolina Wildlife Federation
The mission of North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF) is to protect, conserve and restore North Carolina wildlife and habitat. Since 1945, NCWF has worked for all wildlife and habitat bringing together citizens, outdoor enthusiasts, hunters and anglers, government and industry to protect North Carolina’s natural resources. From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, NCWF is made up of people who value wildlife and wild places and the many ways to enjoy them. Engaging in the natural world is a cornerstone of NCWF history and philosophy. Supporting access to wild places and opportunities to enjoy them is a defining feature of this organization. They work collectively for the places and species that have no voice through our policy and protection work, research and education and direct hands-on conservation.
Open Streets 704 (Partners for Parks)
Open Streets 704 is a series of Charlotte events that (literally) opens a length of city streets for an afternoon just for people to enjoy. Taking cues from similar events around the country and the world, Open Streets 704 aims to build a better, healthier, connected community by encouraging Charlotte and Mecklenburg area residents to walk, bicycle, and experience the city together in a way that’s just not possible in a car.
Sol Nation, Inc.
Sol Nation is dedicated to closing the green gap by exposing, along with reducing, the difference between the desire of BIPOC communities to build, as well as live in sustainable, regenerative communities; and their access to resources, power, education and infrastructure to achieve this desire. Through this lens, Sol Nation amplifies and provides direct pathways to a just transition, resiliency, and revitalization as we move to a greener, more sustainable economy. Their goal is to provide support that strengthens the communities they serve, provide leadership training, and demonstrate how to translate climate justice through the use of creative culture, and their strengths, making way for communities to own their own solutions. They equip Black and marginalized communities with education, and resources to address climate injustice as well as organize and partner with the communities they serve to develop innovative ways for resiliency, restoration, and liberation.
Surfrider Foundation - Charlotte Chapter
The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. The Charlotte Chapter promotes the mission and values of the Surfrider Foundation while providing educational awareness around the issues that are detrimental to our coasts and waterways and partnering with coastal chapters during campaigns. The Charlotte Chapter implements new campaigns that not only improves the lives of our residents and visitors, but ultimately improves the purity of the world’s oceans. This is our passion largely in part due to the connection between Charlotte’s local lakes & rivers to the ocean.
Sustain Charlotte is dedicated to educating, engaging and uniting citizens to solve Charlotte’s sustainability challenges. They inspire choices that lead to a healthy, equitable and vibrant community for generations to come. To achieve their mission, they focus on three key strategies:
- Educate – They educate the public about the value to our community of sustainability and how it is achieved, including the best ideas and practices from other cities around the country.
- Engage – They provide opportunities for increased public engagement in the discussions and decisions that determine our future’s sustainability.
- Unite – They unite citizens, businesses, nonprofits, public agencies and academic institutions to develop shared visions, goals, and strategies for a sustainable region.
TreesCharlotte is a public/private nonprofit collaboration to grow, diversify and steward the city’s iconic urban forest. Trained volunteers and science-based programs teach residents about the value of trees, how to plant and care for them. Charlotte’s tree canopy is one of the finest urban forests in America and is our most recognized and treasured natural resource. TreesCharlotte’s vision is 50% canopy coverage, city- wide acceptance of responsibility to plant and care for trees with sustained funding to continue the mission from generation to generation.
UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
The mission of UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens is to inspire a love for plants and nature through programming, classes, and botanical displays. They have collections of native plants, orchids, cacti, tropical plants, spice and fruit plants, and a diversity of early plants such as ferns and spike mosses. Admission to the Gardens and Greenhouses is free and open to the public. They also offer low-cost/free classes and tours for children and adults.
Located in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina, Wing Haven provides a natural oasis for reflection and study of its three public gardens. Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary is rich in Southern horticulture and a habitat for birds and wildlife. As a sanctuary for birds, Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary is an excellent example of the value of and need for conserving wildlife, its habitat and natural resources in an urban setting. The garden has recorded over 150 different species of birds in its nearly 100-year history. The Elizabeth Lawrence House & Garden is the site of a world-renowned garden writer’s living laboratory. The SEED Wildlife & Children’s Gardens offer an up-close opportunity for bird observation and includes a more hands-on approach to outdoor learning. All of Wing Haven's properties are excellent examples of different garden designs and showcase a variety of plant material. Together, these gardens welcome visitors of all ages to discover and learn. Wing Haven also offers more than 40 programs and special events each year.