Wal-Mart Teams With National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Wal-Mart announced a groundbreaking partnership program, “Acres for America,” which will conserve critical wildlife habitats for future generations.
Wal-Mart has committed $35 million for the next 10 years to conserve at least one acre of priority wildlife habitat for every acre developed for company use. This new program is one of the largest ever public-private partnerships and the first time a company has tied its footprint to land conservation.
Acres for America will permanently conserve at least one acre of priority wildlife habitat for every developed acre of Wal-Mart’s current footprint, as well as the company’s future development over the next 10 years. This puts the minimum total acres to be protected at 138,000. Lands conserved will benefit a wide variety of wildlife, including large and small mammals, freshwater and saltwater fish, migratory and neo-tropical birds and native plants.
“Wal-Mart is the first corporation to commit to offsetting its entire developed land use for conservation,” said Max Chapman, Jr., Foundation chairman. “We introduced the concept of the offset program to Wal-Mart last year,” he said. “They were quick to say yes, and Wal-Mart’s leadership is raising the bar in conservation.”
“As partners, we are conserving wildlife habitat on a large scale to safeguard migratory corridors, breeding grounds and natural areas essential to the long-term health of America’s wildlife,” said John Berry, Foundation executive director.
The Foundation will identify key habitats throughout the country working in partnership with the nation’s local, state and national conservation organizations and public land management agencies. As part of the announcement, five leadership grants resulting from Wal-Mart’s Acres for America were named.
These signature projects include:
* Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana
* Sherfield Cave and the Headwaters of the Buffalo National River, Arkansas
* North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona
* Back to Home Waters/Squaw Creek, Oregon
* Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership, Maine
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will be able to leverage Wal- Mart’s funding to find matching grants and other funding sources, which will often provide a two-for-one or even three-to-one acre match. The five signature projects announced today will result in the conservation of more than 321,000 acres.
“America loses nearly three million acres of open space each year,” said Larry Selzer, president of the Conservation Fund. “It’s critical that we act now to protect some of the most important landscapes that we have left, and these areas represent the best of wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreation. The Conservation Fund is proud to work with the Foundation and Wal-Mart to leave a lasting legacy for future generations.
“We are proud that Wal-Mart is making land conservation history, but quite simply, protecting our environment is simply the right thing to do,” said Mike Duke, executive vice president and president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores – USA. “By giving back something now, our kids, our grandkids and others will have a chance to enjoy these national treasures for years to come.”
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