20201207-RNR-bosak monarch2

Meadows are a critical habitat for many wildlife species, including the monarch butterfly, and are often protected by land-conservation groups.

It’s the season of giving, and this year nonprofit organizations need your support more than ever.

COVID-19 changed everything. Aside from the horrendous physical toll it has taken on so many, businesses have closed and many people are struggling to make ends meet. Nonprofit organizations are not immune to this downturn. Those that specialize in land conservation or nature are just as impacted as the rest of them.

Many of these organizations rely on programming, events, summer camps or other activities that require people to be in close proximity to each other to help pay the bills. COVID put a hard stop on that. As a result, these organizations are out the revenue that these events would have brought in. Many have turned to virtual events, but they don’t have the same financial impact.

In this time of giving, these organizations need help. Giving Tuesday is behind us, but there is still plenty of time to offer your support before the year ends.

There are many organizations from which to choose, obviously. There are local land trusts, state Audubon societies and national organizations that all need help. You can’t go wrong on any level.

I like to support local organizations, as I know where the money is going and I can directly benefit from my gift by taking a walk at a local preserve. State organizations, such as the New Hampshire Audubon Society, do great work as well, and the impact is felt close to home. National organizations, although maybe not as locally impactful on the surface, have critical missions to fulfill. Organizations such as the National Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, American Birding Association, American Bird Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy come to mind. You can even think globally by supporting organizations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature.

The Internet has made finding an organization that matches your own personal objectives easy.

If you are looking to make an impact locally, simply enter your town and a phrase such as “land trust” or “land conservation” into an Internet search. I’m sure a worthy land-conservation organization will come up high in the search.

I was a member of a local land trust for many years, and I can assure you that the vast majority of the money donated goes directly into preserving land. My particular land trust had only one employee who made a very modest salary. That is true of most conservation and nature nonprofit organizations. The employees are not getting rich but rather doing something they love and believe in strongly. Your donation dollars are not going toward bloated salaries or multi-million dollar marketing campaigns.

On the surface, it may not appear as if COVID would have had a large impact on these types of organizations. Birds are not dropping out of the sky, and trees are not toppling because of the virus. But these organizations have been impacted — big time — in ways that don’t immediately come to mind. This season of giving, consider giving a gift to nature.

For the Birds runs Mondays in The Sentinel. Chris Bosak may be reached at chrisbosak26@gmail.com or through his website www.birdsofnewengland.com