Help protect and conserve wildlife and nature during the holidays by giving gifts of nature. These gifts are not only fun to receive, they are educational too, and make both the giver and recipient feel good about making a positive impact on the planet. Check out nature gifts in four categories:
- Tree and plant sponsorships
- Wild animal adoptions
- Forest and reef sponsorships
- Carbon offsets
Tree and plant sponsorships
Plant a tree and tree sponsorship programs help reforestation efforts across the globe. Why buy a tree? Because trees produce clean water, naturally filter pollutants out of the air, help the regulate global climate and support people and nature.
The Nature Conservancy – TNC’s Plant a Billion campaign offers trees sponsorships for planting and reforesting around the world. You can choose which region you’d like to support with your tree sponsorship.
National Wildlife Federation – This group offers gift sponsorships of trees, gardens, groves, small forests or large forests, starting at just $10. Or choose from a number of their Trees for Life gifts, including cards, ornaments and jewelry to help purchase trees for sponsorship.
National Arbor Day Foundation – This organization allows you to purchase specific kinds of trees and plants to plant yourself.
National Forest Foundation – A partner of the U.S. Forest Service, this group works along side USFS to restore ecosystems to their natural resiliency and functions through on-the-ground conservation. They sell tree sponsorships for their reforestation efforts for $2.50-$3.50 each. A gift of $25+ will give your recipient a subscription to Your National Forests Magazine, which is published twice a year.
American Forests – This conservation organization offers trees for just $1 each, so every dollar you donate will plant a tree in honor of a special person for the holidays. In addition to an electronic certificate, your gift recipient will receive a one-year gift membership to American Forests, a subscription to their award-winning magazine, American Forests, and invitations to special events.
One Planted Tree – This non-profit plants trees around the world with the mission of reforesting the planet and providing education, awareness and engagement on the importance of trees. Their simple model of $1 = 1 tree makes it easy for individuals, businesses and schools to plant trees.
Wild animal adoptions
Animal adoptions are symbolic (you won’t get to adopt an actual snow leopard), but they are a great way to fund organizations that protect wildlife and habitats. Some adoptions come with gift rewards, adoption certificates and photos to remind your loved one of the cool green gift they received from you for years to come.
World Wildlife Fund – Offering 134 animal species for adoption, WWF is the premier animal adoption resource for the holidays and any day throughout the year. Buy a $55 adoption kit and receive a plush animal, species card, adoption certificate, photo and gift bag. Or go to their Gift Center to “Build Your Own Bucket” of animal species plush animals in thanks for your donation.
National Resources Defense Council – Their online shop sells sponsorships of everything from monarch butterflies to bobcats to marine life to bees, all in the name of protecting these vital species and their habitats.
Sierra Club – Adopt a wild animal with Sierra Club to help protect wild animals and the wild places they call home. Donate now and receive a plush animal in thanks.
Defenders of Wildlife – Adopt wildlife species, shop for apparel and gear, buy a wolf-saving gift, or even purchase an “Animal of the Month Club” membership for your special loved ones from this premier wildlife charity.
National Wildlife Federation – NWF offers adoptions of 19 species of baby animals, including the Ultimate Wild Baby Animal Adoption Kit featuring 10 plush animals of the adopted species as a gift of thanks.
National Audubon Society – With its focus on conservation for bird species, NAS offers a bird adoption program with dozens of bird species to choose from. Bird adoptions come with a plush bird, certificate of adoption and photograph.
League of Conservation Voters – LCV added a new online store this year to sell apparel and gifts for proceeds to save the bees.
Wildlife Alliance – This group rescues animals from the illegal wildlife trade that are often injured, traumatized or orphaned and care for them in their Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. You can sponsor a specific animal to ensure its happy and healthy future.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society – This group offers orca and humpback whale adoptions, plus an online shop to help support their work protecting marine mammals in the wild.
Forest and reef sponsorships
Saving an acre of rainforest, forest or even marine ecosystem is easy to do by sponsoring land through environmental charities. As with animal adoptions, acreage sponsorships don’t buy you an actual acre of forest, and may not even fund the purchase of land by these organizations (buying land isn’t always the best way to preserve it), but they do fund the forest protection initiatives of these great organizations.
Rainforest Foundation – This organization preserves rainforests and the indigenous people who live in them. Help save the rainforest by making a donation. Just $5 saves an acre of rainforest. My entire family is getting an acre of rainforest in their stockings for Christmas this year.
Rainforest Alliance – This group’s Adopt-a-Rainforest program supports the purchase or sustainable management of tropical forest lands. Gift adoptions come with a certificate to acknowledge the contribution made on behalf of your recipient to protect one of the world’s most precious resources
Rainforest Action Network – Their Protect An Acre program supports grassroots leadership in local organizations and indigenous communities on the front lines of forest regions to protect threatened forest lands. RAN operates differently than other conservation groups by challenging corporate power and working to change institutional systems of injustice and the global marketplace.
Rainforest Trust – This group purchases and protects rainforest acres for about $10 an acre to save endangered and threatened species and protect biodiversity. 100% of your donation goes towards their conservation efforts.
Amazon Aid Foundation – Adopt a tree to help reforestation efforts in an abandoned gold mine near the Manuani River in Madre de Dios, Peru. Protect an acre of Peruvian Amazon through Acre Care to help fight climate change, protect wildlife and create sustainable livelihoods.
The Nature Conservancy – Check out their Adopt A Coral Reef program to help fund conservation efforts at four reefs around the world.
Save Nature – This conservation and education organization focuses on inspiring participation and awareness in the preservation of fragile ecosystems. They offer Adopt an Acre and Adopt a Reef programs to help fund eight programs around the world working to preserve entire ecosystems.
Calculating your carbon footprint is an excellent way to figure out what impact you are having on the environment and how to reduce it. One step you can take to mitigate your effect on climate change is to purchase carbon offsets for yourself or for a friend or family as a holiday gift. Check out carbon offsetting purchases through CarbonFund.org. For more information on carbon emissions and carbon offsetting, visit our posts:
- “Offsetting Your Carbon Emissions: What You Need To Know”
- “What’s Your Carbon Footprint: Why Measuring it Matters“
- “3 Steps to Reducing Your Carbon Footprint“
What can you do today?
Make a commitment to give greener gifts this holiday season. Check out more Green Giving posts from Everyday Earthiness, like “Green Giving: How To Give Experiences That Help The Planet” and “Green Giving: 5 Easy Ways To Shop For Great Green Gifts”. Learn about greener options for wrapping, ribbons and cards in our article, “How To Green Up Your Gift Giving”. Follow us here at www.EverydayEarthiness.com for weekly Green Giving tips, or on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter for daily tips. As always, spread these ideas to others.
Featured film of the day: Find out why symbolically adopting a polar bear is a great idea for the holidays by watching this documentary on the species and how polar bears are facing the biggest threat of their life. Watch Ice Bear in full from YouTube here:
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