International League of Conservation Writers

Writing to inspire the love of nature and a passion for its protection
The International League of Conservation Writers is a forum to bring writers together from around the world who are writing to promote wilderness, nature, conservation, or using other means to protect and restore the natural areas, habitats, animals, and plants of our planet. ILCW will present periodic writing awards to authors who excel in this field.
To apply for ILCW membership click here.

Featured Video

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A Forest Tale

Flying through an underwater kelp forest filled with life, light, color, and motion is something every diver should experience at least once in life. But in California, kelp is disappearing. What's happening?




“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we aredoing to ourselves and to one another.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi


Evolution of the Clean Water Act

By Isabelle Bienen, NWNL Research Intern
(Edited by Alison M.  Jones, NWNL Director)

Clean Water Act (1972)
A 1960’s growing concern over the need to control water pollution led to the 1972 Clean Water Act [CWA], as noted in the first NWNL blog of this series. The 1972 CWA (originally, Federal Water Pollution Control Act) established a structure for Federal regulation of pollutants discharge into US surface waters. [It does not apply to well water or aquifers].  The CWA prohibits any individual, unless permitted, to discharge pollutants from point sources (versus broader nonpoint sources) into Waters of the United States [WOTUS].

Point pollution sources are specific, identifiable entry points of pollution, i.e., ditches or pipes that dump pollutants from one specific spot directly into a navigable waterway. Notably, the 1972 Act did not address or allow for control of nonpoint pollution sources, i.e. runoff from rural farmland, urban storm/sewage, construction sites or forests .1 (Nonpoint pollution would be addressed in 1977, and again in 1987.)

Changes and Amendments to the Clean Water Act of 1972

  • WOTUS Rule-1977 (nonpoint pollution regulations & WOTUS definition)
  • Municipal Wastewater Treatment Construction Grants-1981
  • CWA Amendment-1987 (transfer of control to states and tribes)
  • Clean Water Rule-2015 (definition of  1972 CWA & WOTUS-1977 coverage)
  • Steps One & Two-2017 (repeal & revision of Clean Water Rule-2015)
  • Applicability Date Ruling-2017 (setting pre-2015 rules until new 2020 rule)

Both the WOTUS-1977 and -2015 rulings were outlined to clarify the original CWA. Basically, they addressed existing confusion over the term “navigable waters.”9
The CWA defines ‘navigable waters” as “waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.” But “waters of the United States” is not specifically defined in the CWA. Court decisions, regulations and agency policies have established that “waters of the United States” applies only to surface waters, not groundwater, including rivers, lakes, estuaries, coastal waters, and some wetlands. In inland areas, those waters include:

  • All interstate waters;
  • Intrastate waters used in interstate and/or foreign commerce;
  • Tributaries of the above; and
  • Wetlands adjacent to all the above.

The law is less clear in regard to smaller streams, ephemeral water bodies, and wetlands not adjacent to other waters of the United States. While groundwater is not included as a navigable water, discharges to groundwater, directly connected to a surface water, are sometimes included in NPDES permits. [NPDES: EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.]

Waters of the US Rule [WOTUS]-1977
The term WOTUS and its regulatory scope were first developed in 1977, five years after the Clean Water Act addressed the need for protection and inclusion of all “navigable water.” WOTUS-1977 attempted to define “navigable waters” so as to establish the Act’s jurisdictional scope. It addressed tribal and state certification programs, polluting permits, and waste-spill prevention.6

Water Quality Act-1987 gave control to the States
In 1987, CWA changed responsibility for water-quality regulation, implementation and monitoring from federal to individual state control. This switch was built on the EPA’s established state partnerships and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.1 CWA regulations were set up state-by-state; yet the EPA kept the authority to step in if water-quality standards were not being met. Read more.

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The Other Anti-Public-Lands Constituency:
Left-Wing Extremists

By Andy Kerr

(Trigger warning: Politically incorrect thoughts are expressed below. Please do what you have to do to keep yourself safe.)
The public lands conservation community has long been wary of the existential threat to the nation’s public lands posed by a fringe group of right-wing crazies who seek to privatize public lands (perhaps via a brief period of state or county ownership). The conservation community must now also contend with an emerging existential threat to the nation’s public lands posed by fringe groups of left-wing crazies who seek to tribalize public lands. Neither privatization nor tribalization of the nation’s public lands would be in the interests of this and future generations of Americans.

Right-Wing Crazies Get Their Day in Court (Again)
The playbook of the right-wing crazies is well known and is currently best epitomized by the ravings and actions of Cliven Bundy, his sons, and their followers. I deeply examined the bunk of Bundyism in four Public Lands Blog posts (#1#2#3, and #4) in early 2018. Even more illuminating and entertaining than my analysis is Oregon Public Broadcasting’s and Longread’s excellent seven-part series entitled “Bundyville,” available from your favorite podcast purveyor or you can have a long read.

Recently a state court in Nevada, upon the motion of defendant-intervenor Center for Biological Diversity, dismissed Bundy’s latest (alas, it probably won’t be his last) legal gambit. Bundy has tried and lost the same claims in federal court three times. The Clark County, Nevada, judge said, “It is simply delusional to maintain that all public land within the boundaries of Nevada belongs to the State of Nevada.” But enough on that; back to the other end of the spectrum.

Left-Wing Crazies Rising
Let us now examine some of those on the other end of the political spectrum who favor the disposal of federal public lands for far different reasons but with comparably disastrous results for the multiple values of the public’s land. This extreme left-wing idea is to return all public lands (but not private lands) to Native Americans.

I do not include in my categorization of left-wing extremists either Native Americans or Native American tribes. While most tribes and tribal members may well want the nation’s public lands (not to mention private lands) returned to them, such a desire arises from the pain, suffering, and loss of being on the losing side of a tragic and sordid history that resulted in the death of most of their ancestors by bullet, rope, disease, or starvation—and that continues to oppress them today. According to the “settler” (the preferred term to describe the European invaders) concept of land ownership, Native Americans had their lands stolen from them, and it is understandable that they should want them back.

I do include in my categorization of left wing-extremists those whose desire arises from guilt at being on the winning side of the European conquest of a continent and its indigenous peoples and who seek to assuage that guilt by advocating giving public lands back to Native Americans while remaining silent on private lands. Read more.

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European Wilderness Society – Academy Days


The only Wilderness Conference focusing on Europe’s last Wilderness will be held May 27-29, 2019 in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Salzburg Lungau. In 2019 we honour 5 years of European Wilderness Society, 10 years of Wilderness in Europe and 55 years of the US Wilderness Act. Join us!
For more information click here.



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Force to Make Ecocide a Crime Dies

Polly Higgins, international lawyer, expert and advisor on ecocide law lost her battle with cancer April 21, 2019. The founder of Earth Protectors (formerly Mission LifeForce) fought to make it a crime to destroy the Earth. She believed that ecocide should be recognized as an atrocity crime at the International Criminal Court. Ecocide is defined as a serious loss, damage or destruction of ecosystems and includes climate and cultural damage. Her organization will continue the work to stop ecocide,

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Norwegian Hospitals Heal with Nature

A recent article at tells of Norway’s two largest hospitals, along with the help of the Friluftssykehuset Foundation charity, have created Outdoor Care Retreats known as friluftssykehuset that incorporate the wonders of medicine with the healing powers of nature to treat children. These retreats are built on the hospital grounds a short distance from the hospital entrance, designed to suggest a fort or a tree house, and are accessible to wheelchairs and even hospital beds. Young patients are brought outside of the hospital to be in nature helping the children to relax and gain the resolve to continue their treatment. Read more.

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New Anthology

What is lost in the chatter today is a deeper understanding of the philosophy and science behind the push for a much larger, biodiverse network of protected wildlands and waters. In the last year, Rewilding Earth has greatly ramped up our output from thought leaders who tackle the issues with deeper, more thoughtful writing than what gets bandied about on this day in headlines and tweets.Our aim is to deepen the discussion around large-scale conservation efforts to restore and rewild our planet.

Introducing "Rewilding Earth Unplugged: Best of Rewilding Earth 2018"
An anthology of thirty key articles and associated graphics, fundamental goals of rewilding, including restoring top carnivores, protecting landscape-scale wildways, addressing the human overpopulation crisis, and encouraging coexistence with wildlife species, particularly the big toothy ones.  It will connect readers with many of the leading wilderness and wildlife groups across North America and beyond.
Click here to hear a message about Rewilding Earth Unplugged from our Director, John Davis, about how you can grab your copy while helping to put it in front of many other readers who have yet to gain that deeper understanding.

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Next WILDArt to be in Italy

WILDArt will take place in Majella National Park, Italy, between 1-7 September 2019. Artist applications close 1st May 2019. For more information visit the European Wilderness Society here.

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Stomach of Dead Whale Contained 'Nothing But Nonstop Plastic'

By Dalia Mortada, NPR (National Public Radio)

Darrell Blatchley received a call from the Philippines' Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources early Friday morning reporting that it had a young Cuvier's beaked whale that was weak and vomiting blood. Within a few hours it was dead. Blatchley, a marine biologist and environmentalist based in the Philippine city of Davao, gathered his team to drive two hours to where the whale had washed up. When the necropsy was performed, Blatchley told NPR, he was not prepared for the amount of plastic they found in the whale's stomach. "It was full of plastic — nothing but nonstop plastic," he said. "It was compact to the point that its stomach was literally as hard as a baseball." "That means that this animal has been suffering not for days or weeks but for months or even a year or more," Blatchley added. He noted that among the 88 pounds of plastic were 16 rice sacks — similar to potato sacks — and plastic bags from local Philippine grocery chains, Gaisano Capital and Gaisano grocery outlet.

Blatchley is the founder and owner of the D' Bone Collector Museum, a natural history museum in Davao. In the coming days, the museum will post a list of all the items found in the whale's system, the museum said in a post on its Facebook page. Blatchley and his team work with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and other organizations to assist in rescue and recovery of marine animals.

"Within the last 10 years, we have recovered 61 whales and dolphins just within the Davao Gulf," he said. "Of them, 57 have died due to man — whether they ingested plastic or fishing nets or other waste, or gotten caught in pollution — and four were pregnant."  Read more.

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4Ocean Pulls 4.1+ Million Lbs. of Trash from Ocean

4Ocean is an organization started by two surfers who were surprised at all the floating trash they encountered while surfing near Bali. Their organization has removed 4.1+ million pounds of trash from the ocean in less than two years. They currently employ 150 people in 27 countries and they’re growing.

Nearly 90% of ocean plastic pollution starts on land and enters the ocean through river mouths. Plastic accumulates on the ground where rain and floods wash it into rivers and canals that carry it to the ocean. Nearly 16 billion pounds of plastic enter the oceans annually. And 70% will sink to the bottom of the ocean if it’s not collected.

By giving ocean plastic a value they are creating a new economy for the removal of trash and one that will prevent plastic pollution. The Ocean Plastic Recovery campaign will create jobs for local fishermen and improve the quality of life in their communities. They host cleanups all over the world, both above and below the water, to raise awareness and change behavior. Then the reclaimed ocean plastic will be given new life by manufacturers and eliminate the need for virgin plastics.

How are they funded? 4Ocean sells bracelets made from recycled plastics and glass. For each bracelet sold they claim they will clean one pound of plastic from the ocean.

Click here learn more.

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Donating to National Parks:
How to Give Back and Save on Your Next Trip

By Meghan of Million Mile Secrets

It’s exciting to travel to faraway places to see new sights and different cultures. But don’t forget, the US has some of the most amazing and popular parks in the world.

The issue is, they need your help.  Many of these parks were severely impacted by the recent government shutdown. The shutdown left our public lands unsupervised because National Park Service employees were furloughed during that time. As a result, there were incidences of damaged property and stolen artifacts, and reports of overflows of human waste and garbage.

The parks suffered without anyone there to maintain these precious spaces. But by visiting a National Park, you can give back and support these beautiful areas of the US.
Our guide explains how you can save on your next National Parks vacation, along with additional information on other ways to support the parks.

Donating to National Parks

Financial Donations

Giving directly to the National Park Foundation is the most straightforward way to donate to our National Parks. According to the National Park Foundation is accredited by Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, meeting all 20 standards for charity accountability. This indicates the organization’s commitment to fair and honest solicitation practices, adequate oversight, transparency and financial effectiveness.

Just remember, it’s wise to use a credit card that earns travel rewards or cash back to make such a donation.  Not only will the National Park Foundation benefit from the gift, but you’ll earn something for making the donation as well.  It’s a win-win! Below are a number of other ways (outside of a direct cash donation) to make a gift to the National Park Foundation.

Memorial or Special Occasion Gifts

Making a donation to the National Parks is a great way to honor the memory of someone or to celebrate a special occasion. Have a family member who loves to hike? Donate to the National Park Foundation in their name!  Have a friend whose passion is conservation and keeping public lands accessible? Give a gift to the National Park Foundation to celebrate their birthday!

Estate Planning

Giving to the National Park Foundation through estate planning is something many people might not consider, but it’s a great way to pledge support the parks in the future. Through estate planning, you can, for example, give a gift to the National Park Foundation through a life insurance or retirement plan, through your will or trust, or in other ways. If you’re interested in contributing in this way, it’s important to contact the appropriate professionals (tax consultant, lawyer, etc.) and to discuss the planned gift directly with the National Park Foundation.


Donating securities (like stocks) is another great way to support the National Park Foundation. When you donate stock, the National Park Foundations sells and puts the proceeds right to use. The value of the stock is established (per the IRS) by calculating the mean average price on the date ownership is transferred. If you decide to donate/transfer securities, it’s important to notify the National Park Foundation in advance so that they can properly credit you for your gift. And you should also be sure to discuss any plans for stock or securities donations with your financial advisor. Read more.

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Iberá Rewilding Update

In August of 2018 Rewilding Earth posted Conservation Land Trust Argentina’s article, “Rewilding Argentina, Park by Park,” which appeared as Part 1 and Part 2. Then, in December of the same year, Tompkins Conservation announced the  establishment of Ibera’ National Park by the Argentine Congress. And now, Conservation Land Trust Argentina has sent the latest news from their rewilding projects. ~ editors

In Iberá, Juruna and Mariua -- the two Brazilian jaguars that we received last month – were moved to the Jaguar Reintroduction Center in Iberá, after successfully finishing their quarantine period. They have been really active since the beginning, and they already hunted their first live capybara inside the 1.5 hectare enclosure where they are living now. To view photos and read more click here
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Argentina Establishes Iberá National Park

Argentina’s new Iberá Park is located in one of the most biologically diverse areas of the country in northeastern Argentina and covers nearly 395,000 acres. The land was donated through two foundations established by Douglas and Kristine Tompkins, the Conservation Land Trust and Flora and Fauna Argentina. The Argentine Congress ratified the park’s long-term protection. It is estimated that in 10 years, Iberá Park will have more than 100,000 visitors per year. The new national park is adjacent to the 1.3-million acre Iberá Provincial Park combining their areas for a total of nearly 1.76 million acres, that now makes it the largest nature park in Argentina. Read more.

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European Wilderness Resolution Turns 10

On September 3rd 1964 Lyndon B Johnson signed the US Wilderness Act and on February 3rd 2009 the European Parliament issued the first European Wilderness Resolution calling for more Wilderness in Europe. 2019 marks therefore the 10th anniversary of Wilderness in Europe and the 55th anniversary of the US Wilderness Act. The European Wilderness Society will organise several activities, events and launch new initiatives celebrating Wilderness in Europe.
Read the European Wilderness Newsletter, click here.

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Somalia-Call for End of Crimes Against Journalists

Several media groups in Africa denounced the culture of impunity for crimes against journalists in Somalia. At least three journalists have died since July 2018 with little or no explanation by authorities as to the apprehension of those involved. Witnesses claim a policeman was responsible for a murder of a journalist in July. Because of the inaction to bring those accused to justice the media groups called for an International Day to End Impunity (IDEI) for Crimes against Journalists on November 2, 2018. They urged H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, and his office to prioritize investigations into all attacks against journalists in Somalia and bring the violators to justice. They also hope to support the president’s efforts towards ensuring a safe environment for journalists and the people of Somalia to enjoy their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and human rights both online and offline.

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Lewa Makes IUCN’s Green List

The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas is the first global standard of best practice for area-based conservation. It is a program of certification for protected and conserved areas – national parks, natural World Heritage sites, community conserved areas, nature reserves and so on – that are effectively managed and fairly governed. The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Isiola, Kenya was recognized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as one of the top 40 protected areas of the world. Click here for more information.
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Giant Panda Returns to China from San Diego Zoo

Gao Gao the Giant Panda who had been living at the San Diego Zoo for the past 15 years is returning to China per the zoo’s agreement with the People’s Republic of China. While at the zoo, Gao Gao fathered five cubs. When the Giant Panda Conservation Program began in 1996 the number of Giant Panda in the wild was thought to be less than 1,000. The 2014 census revealed 1,864 Giant Pandas in the wild plus 300 more living in zoos and managed habitats in China and elsewhere. Gao Gao will return to the Chinese Center for Research and Conservation for Giant Panda in Dujiangyan, China.

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Second Wolf Pack Found in Austria

About a half-dozen wolves have been spotted via a trip camera near the Austrian-Czech border near Karlstift. There is also evidence that a third pack may be located on the Czech side as well. Wolves were hunted to extinction in Europe but are making their way back. See more at the European Wilderness Society here.

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Stay Positive in Negative Times

The Back to Basics blogs encourages writers to stay positive and resist the fear we are subjected to on a daily basis. Click here to read.

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Extract Lithium from Sea Water?

Due to a new filtering material, lithium could be extracted during the desalination process of producing freshwater from the ocean. The process is being developed by researchers at Monash University in Australia and the University of Texas at Austin. Lithium is an important component in batteries and is currently valued at $100 a pound. The value could offset the cost of desalination. Click here to read the entire article.

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Hatred of Journalists Threatens Democracies

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released their 2018 World Press Freedom Index showing growing animosity toward journalists world-wide. Many times the hostility towards the media is openly encourage by political leaders and those with authoritarian regimes. To see an interesting map showing the degree of “hatred” toward journalists, click here.

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Top 37 US Parks to Visit

The Hiking Blog for Montem Outdoor Gear recommends37 must see US National Parks to explore before you die. Click here to learn more.

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Environmental Defense Fund Going to Space

The Environmental Defense Fund is planning to launch a satellite known as MethaneSAT to measure methane leaks from oil and gas operations, many of which could be stopped with easy repairs. Methane accounts for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. The satellite will produce a snapshot of 80 percent of the Earth every seven days and will detect methane in concentrations of as little as two parts per billion.

The data collected will pinpoint offenders and contributors to global warming so that the leaks can be stopped, as well as provide an accurate account of progress in stopping the methane emissions. The data will also help in prosecuting negligent offenders. The goal of this project is to cut methane pollution 45% by 2025. That would be equivalent to shutting down 1,300 coal power plants. The estimated launch of the satellite is slated for 2021. For more information click here.

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Scientists say the Mississippi is flooding more than it has in 500 years — and we caused it

In a recent study it was found that man’s best effort to make the Mississippi River more efficient for shipping by straightening it and adding levees to protect against floods may have had the unintended effect of causing higher flooding. Scientists says the river is flooding more now than it has in 500 years. Click here to read the article.

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Anti-Poaching Success in Mali

Mali Elephants Safe for Past Year

The Mali Elephant Project (MEP), working with grassroots leaders and national government officials, reports that there was no recorded poaching of elephants during the past year. The habitat is the size of Switzerland, 8 million acres (3.24 million ha), containing elephants as well as numerous cultures and ethnic groups who have traditionally managed their lands separately.

Program director, Susan Canney, and field manager, Nomba Ganame, realized that protecting a herd that migrates across such a vast territory could only be accomplished with local support. That is why the Mali Elephant Project brought together eight ethnic groups for the first-time, and worked with them to organize an elder council that jointly manages the land for the benefit of people and elephants. The Mali Elephant Project harnesses the power of working together to achieve conservation outcomes that would be impossible for one group working in isolation to produce on their own.

In 2013, a violent insurgency swept through the elephant habitat and destabilized the entire region (making the elephants susceptible to bandits and poachers for the first time), the Mali Elephant Project was the only NGO project to remain operating in the region. In an escalating climate of fear and uncertainty, it became necessary to unite local leadership with national-level officials for greater coordination. The result of that process was an official decree issued by Mali’s President in early 2016 calling on all of Mali’s agencies to prioritize working together to save this internationally important herd.

The MEP also built the foundation for Mali’s first anti-poaching unit (APU), a bold and unique collaboration between Mali’s Ministry of Environment, the United Nations MINUSMA forces, Chengeta Wildlife, and local communities. The APU was first deployed in January 2016. The Mali Elephant Project is a project of the WILD Foundation. See more here.

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Another City Sues Fossil Fuel Companies for Climate Change

Richmond, California became the ninth U.S. community to sue fossil fuel giants over climate change, joining cities like New York and San Francisco. A climate change adaptation study commissioned by the city found that the city’s current levees will not protect it against rising sea levels. It's water supply, sourced from runoff from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is vulnerable to drought. Source: Thank you to No Water No Life who has followed California drought as a Spotlight.

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Restoring Native Forests to Former Coal Site

In Appalachia (USA) previous efforts to restore former coal mine sites have left large areas of unproductive land. Now, a group of nonprofits and scientists are working to restore native trees to the region. Read more.

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Proposed Dams May Damage Serengeti Ecosyste

The River Mara is the only permanent source of water for herds of wildlife that migrate between Kenya and Tanzania. Currently Kenya is proposing several dams on the River Mara and its tributaries that would lead to reduced water flows possibly imperiling the lives of many of the animals of the Serengeti in Tanzania. For more information, click here.

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Mexico Creates Largest N. Am. Ocean Reserve

The Guardian reports Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto decreed a protection zone around the Revillagigedo Islands (242 miles / 390 km) southwest of the Baja California peninsula. The protection will ban fishing, mining and the construction of new hotels on the islands.
For more information and to view a short film of these spectacular islands, click here.

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Nature: one of the most under-appreciated tools for reigning in carbon

A new study shows that better global land stewardship—conserving and restoring wild habitats and practicing more sustainable farming—could get us more than one-third of the way to the Paris climate mitigation targets. Nature may not be the most sexy tool in the shed, but it has tremendous power to move the climate change needle. In principle, the authors say, natural climate solutions could remove 23.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere each year. Read more.
Source: No Water No Life Weekly Drop Newsletter


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Have news to share? Click here.

Member News

Do you have news?

Let us know if you have won an award, written a new book, or launched a creative endeavor to bring awareness to conservation. Chances are the ILCW membership is not aware of these things, so be sure and tell us. Send items

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Radio Green Hour with Jon Bowermaster

ILCW member Jon Bowermaster (USA) hosts the Radio Green Hour every Sunday that takes a personal look at environment issues. Bowermaster is a writer and filmmaker and has made films on every continent that focus on the relationship between man and nature, many for National Geographic. Take a look and listen to past Radio Green Hours here,


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Planting 1,000 Trees

That's how many trees and other flora ILCW member (USA) Adrienne Ross Scanlan will be planting in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. Call it a personal response to climate change, a logical next step in urban nature restoration, or a much needed kick in the butt against political and environmental despair. So far she’s planted (not quite) 200 native trees, shrubs, and ground cover plants, which means trees will be part of her nature writing and restoration efforts for a long, long time to come. Click here for more information about Adrienne and her many projects.


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Camping with European Outdoor Ethics Programme

Verena Gruber (ILCW member, Austria) of the European Wilderness Society points out in her latest blog post the differences in camping in Wilderness between the United States and Europe. Camping in the Wilderness in the U.S. is allowed (as long as Leave No Trace Rules are followed) but that camping in European Wilderness is highly restricted or prohibited in many protected areas. But there are other ways to experience European Wilderness as her post points out. Click here to read more.


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Giant Panda Best Friends Award to Pandas International


GPFriends International gemeinnützige UG announced this year’s Giant Panda Best Friends award to Pandas International, USA; Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Austria; Chengdu Panda Base, China; and CCRCGP China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, China. The award is given to the selected individuals, institutions, organizations and institutions who are committed to the protection of nature, wildlife and species, in particular the Great Pandas.

Suzanne Braden is President of Panda International and a member of ILCW


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Prairies Book is a Gem

ILCW member (USA) Cathy Morrison has illustrated a beautiful book about the flora and fauna found on the prairie. Written by Marybeth Lorbiecki, The Prairie that Nature Built, is a book that will captivate both children and adults while learning about the prairie’s plants and animals. At the end there is more information and activities that children can do to continue to learn about this amazing ecosystem.















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Science Magazine Profiles ILCW co-founder Boyd Norton

Boyd Norton and admirer

The American Association for the Advancement of Science just published a story about ILCW member (USA) Boyd Norton and how he went from being a nuclear scientist to an ardent conservationist and photographer. Click here to read.




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Hasselstrom wins Sarton Award

Linda M. Hasselstrom (ILCW member, USA) has won the Sarton Women’s Book Award for Memoir for her title Gathering from the Grassland: A Plains Journal. The Story Circle Network, an international nonprofit organization of women writers, recently announced the winners of its 2017 Sarton Women's Book Awards™. The award program is named in honor of May Sarton, who is remembered for her contributions to women's literature as a memoirist, novelist, and poet.Linda M. Hasselstrom is a nature writer, poet, and longtime leader in land steward­ship, and examines several generations of family diaries searching for an understanding of her ancestors and for direction in planning for the future of the plains ranch which has been in the family for over a century. Moving through the days of a year, she is never afraid to show the reader the most difficult thing of all, the truth of her life. The portrait that emerges is of a woman who makes peace with life’s complexities and finds joy in honoring the plains and its people and animals. Ever the nature writer at heart, Hasselstrom crafts miniature essays on plains animals including antelope, owls, badgers, snakes, buffalo, and cattle. She also delves into rural community dynamics, death and aging, family, and the work of a writer. Click here for a short video about her ranch life, writing and teaching career.

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Nancy Campbell is Britain’s New Canal Laureate
for 2018

Nancy Campbell. Photo by Paul Preece,

2018 The Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust announce the appointment of Britain’s new Canal Laureate Nancy Campbell</ Campbell is an ILCW member (UK), Oxford-based poet, and kayaker. She has a keen interest in arctic, marine and water conservation, following on from her winter residency at the most northern museum in the world in Greenland in 2010, and subsequent museum residencies in both Greenland and Iceland over the last seven years. During 2018 she will “seek out and share stories” from the people and places she will encounter during her travels along the 2,000 miles of the nation’s historic canals and waterways looked after by the Canal & River Trust. Nancy begins her role as Canal Laureate this month, taking over from poet Luke Kennard (2016-17) and poet Jo Bell, who became the inaugural Canal Laureate (2013-15). Interested in helping make her poetry accessible to a mainstream audience, Nancy is keen to realise her poems through other mediums such as printmaking and film. Her initial events and collaborations will include: creating a short work about rain to be displayed by the waterways; writing a poem about an unassuming and endangered type of herring – the Twaite Shad; and a collaboration with Nottingham’s ‘Light Night’ event. Established in 2013 by The Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust, the Canal Laureateship aims to encourage exciting new writing about the Britain’s historic canal network. Previous Laureateships have seen poems stencilled onto canalside walls, carved into newly made lock-beams, translated into short films, and forgotten classic poetry given new life in performances, publication and animations. Canal poetry has been celebrated at venues including the Hay Festival, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Birmingham Literature Festival, National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port, London’s Southbank Centre and Crick Boat Show, Welshpool Poetry Festival, Market Bosworth Festival, Leeds Liverpool Biennial, and showcased in a dedicated canal edition of BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Please. The project is part of the Arts on the Waterways programme, a partnership between the Canal & River Trust, Arts Council England and Arts Council of Wales to help attract even more visitors to the waterways while surprising and delighting existing communities through innovative art projects.To read poems by Nancy Campbell and the other New Canal Laureates, please click here.


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Mineral Extraction in the Great Sand Dunes

Conservation Photographer Boyd Norton submitted this photo of what the Great Sand Dunes National Park could look like if mineral extraction is greenlighted further on public lands. Former Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes, who is now the executive director of NYU School of Law’s State Energy and Environmental Impact Center wrote:

“… despite his allusions to Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his team are consciously and aggressively casting aside a long list of environmental, health and safety protections for valued public lands, as well as rules that protect taxpayers from being fleeced by energy companies: They’re repealing oil and gas operator requirements for fracking; rolling back rules that restrict wasteful venting and flaring of unwanted gas; and axing reforms requiring coal, oil and gas companies to pay royalties at an appropriate level. He’s also quashed, midstream, a federal coal program review that already had identified serious improprieties.” Read the entire article here.

If you don’t want to see mineral extraction on our public lands, work to protect them by increasing the awareness of what could happen through your writing, photos, and social media..

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May 11-18, 2019
Birding Tour to Latvia
Owls, Woodpeckers and Spring Migration. ILCW member David Lindo is the Urban Birder. Click here for more information.




May 27-29
Wilderness Academy Days 2019 hosted by The European Wilderness Society , in the Biosphere Reserve Lungau, Austria. Discussing Wilderness in Europe, Fire Management, Alien Species and more. For more information click here.




June 8-16
Birding Tour to Slovenia
Beauty and Beasts Spring Tour. Bears, Beers, and Birds. ILCW member David Lindo is the Urban Birder. Click here for more information.



June 10-16
Birding Tour to Speyside and Environs, Scotland
Celebrity guided wildlife holiday with the Grant Arms Hotel. ILCW member David Lindo is the Urban Birder. Click here for more information.




August 24-30
Retreat to the River – Creative Adventure for Women on the Colorado River, Westwater Canyon, Utah
A 6-day writing and sculpting float trip down the Colorado River featuring sculptor Roxanne Swentzell of the Santa Clara Pueblo. Six day, five nights. Led by ILCW member Page Lambert. For more information click here.



August 31-Sept. 14
Birding Tour to Peru
From the Concrete Jungle to the Amazon Jungle. ILCW member David Lindo is the Urban Birder. Click here for more information.




Sept. 29-Oct. 6
Birding Tour -- Estonia Autumn Migration Tour
Migrants, migrants and a few more migrants! ILCW member David Lindo is the Urban Birder. Click here for more information.



Oct 5-11
Birding Tour – Extremadura Autumn
Bustards, Sandrouse and Vultures! ILCW member David Lindo is the Urban Birder. Click here for more information.



Dec 1-5
Birding Tour – Northern Serbia 2019 Winter Tour
Long-eared Owls. ILCW member David Lindo is the Urban Birder. Click here for more information.



Late 2019

WILD 11, the 11th World Wilderness Congress to be held in Beijing, China.
For more information, click here.




April 24 to May 6, 2020
Peru Women Writing Adventure
Weaving Words and Women
Page Lambert (ILCW member) and True Nature Journeys partner once again to offer a rare opportunity to travel with other creative women, explore Peru's Sacred Valley, and spend time with the Quechua women of the high Andes. Woven into the adventure are visits to the ancient Incan ruins of Pisac, Pumamarca, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. For more information click here.

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Member Writing

Okapi and Forest Elephants are Sharing the Fight Against Poachers

By Rina Herzl (ILCW member, USA)

Photo by CC BY-SA 2.0

In the beating heart of Africa, water cascades into the towering, leafy canopies of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, where a diversity of life hums like few places on Earth. Through the Muhimbi treetops, sunbeams cast their way to the forest floor, where quietly rummaging through the leaves is a graceful, horse-like creature with a velvety russet coat, peculiarly flanked by alabaster-colored bands. Seldom to be seen by human eyes, this is the “forest giraffe,” otherwise known as the okapi. Nestled in the northeast region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this ancient, tropical rainforest Reserve is a haven to the majority of okapi. The okapi share their habitat with a diversity of animals, including the largest population of forest elephants in the DRC. Unwittingly, forest elephants are a lure to poachers who are increasingly trespassing in the Reserve to hunt these elephants for their tusks. The influx of poachers is not only a serious threat to the elephants, it’s a danger to okapi as well. Any disturbance to the tranquility of the forest easily alarms the elusive okapi, so the presence of poachers endangers their very existence. Read more.

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The First Green Village in India

By Anne Pinto-Rodrigues (ILCW, Netherlands)

Khonoma village in the Indian state of Nagaland is
spearheading community-led conservation in the nation

“I’ve not hunted since 1998,” says Cayievi Zhünyü. Now in his late-70s, Zhünyü lives in Khonoma village, in the Indian state of Nagaland, near the Indo-Myanmar border. In December 1998, hunting was banned in Khonoma’s forests after a 20-square-kilometer (8-square-mile) area was demarcated by the village council as the Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary (KNCTS). For Zhünyü and other members of the Angami tribe that call Khonoma home, hunting was not a source of income — it was a sacred cultural practice. “As the hunter, I can never eat what I’ve hunted,” Zhünyü says. “It’s bad luck. Instead, I feed my family and friends with it. Those occasions were some of the happiest moments of my life.” The hunting ban called for a huge shift in the lifestyle of the Khonoma people.

The inflection point came in the early-1990s, when villagers killed as many as 300 endangered Blyth’s tragopan (Tragopan blythii) in one week as part of a hunting competition. For some conservation-minded village elders like Tsilie Sakhrie, this was alarming news. “Even with an airgun, the cheapest gun available, an expert marksman can kill nearly 300 to 400 [common] birds in one day. It would’ve been a very short while before our forests were devoid of any wildlife,” Sakhrie says.

Under the guidance of Thepfulhouvi Angami, then the principal chief conservator of forests in Nagaland, and community leader Niketu Iralu, Sakhrie began to campaign for the creation of a protected area within the 125-square-kilometer (48-square-mile) village, as well as a simultaneous ban on hunting and logging. But convincing the villagers wasn’t easy.

“First, we needed to sensitize the hunters,” says Khriekhoto Mor, another village elder who served as KNCTS chairman from 2014 to 2018. “Angami folklore, an important aspect of our tribe’s culture, is replete with stories of animals, birds and forests. So we had to get [the hunters] to understand that if the hunting continued, their children may never get to see these majestic creatures.” Read more.

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The Four Seasons

By Seamus Shortt (ILCW member, Spain)

A poem by Minerva the Owl from the Montevivo Book Series



Frost snow and ice are the reason
That make Winter a dormant season.
Creatures go into hibernation
As a means to avoid starvation;
Some birds prefer to choose migration
And escape the long dark nights
With the unforgiving cold that bites.

This is the season of rebirth
Life comes to life embracing the earth
With roots of plants, bushes and trees
Nourishing buds, blossoms and leaves.
Newborn hope gives guarantees 
Announced by all the birds that sing;
The countryside is lush in Spring.

So sunnier daylight hours abound,
Flowers with blazing colours astound.
Hotter weather bathes our land;
Everything becomes suntanned.
A better time could not be planned,
When Summer’s over we wait a year
Just longing for it to reappear.

Time to be busy in the fields
Tending crops and harvesting yields.
The wind picks up as if to cheer
At Autumn’s colours that appear,
Which means the cold will soon be here,
With rain and cloud there is less sun;
The annual cycle’s now been run.

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Pennsylvania’s Secret Lights up
the Night

By Mark Hendricks (ILCW, USA)
Published in National Forest Magazine, Winter/Spring 2019

Northwest Pennsylvania holds a secret; it is a firefly wonderland. The deciduous woodlands and watersheds on the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) offer some of the best locations to experience the magical showing of bioluminescence that defines summer evenings in the Appalachians.

For many of us who grew up east of the Mississippi, no summer evening was complete without going out and catching “lightning bugs.” Their fanciful golden glow was mysterious, wonderful, and oh so beautiful. While commonly thought of as a fly these beloved insects are actually a type of beetle.

More than 2,000 species of fireflies are thought to exist worldwide with 125 found in North America. Over 15 make their home in the ANF. There’s the Photuris versicolor, or the Chinese lantern, which as its evocative name suggests, hypnotically “floats” near the Forest’s Tionesta Creek. Imagine tiny galaxies wafting in the night breeze. Then there’s the orange flicker of Pyractomena angulate as well as the recognizable Photinus pyralis, the most widespread of the eastern fireflies. Additionally five species found in the Forest are diurnal and do not glow at all. However, one species is particularly special and was only confirmed in the Forest in 2012.

“Late one night in the summer of 2011, a group of campers in the Kellettville area of the Allegheny National Forest had let their campfire burn low when they noticed unusual flashing fireflies near their campsite,” says Bruce Parkhurst, who serves on the board of the nonprofit Pennsylvania Firefly Festival. The display of these fireflies was unusual, as it was a complex pattern of pulsed flashes that occurred over multiple intervals, similar to the famous synchronous fireflies found in the Smoky Mountains. Read more, see photos.

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Persimmon Tree

By Elizabeth C. Herron

Walking the north trail
in the shadow of autumn
I cross a narrow meadow
surrounded by heavy oaks
and redwoods

no house around

In this unlikely spot
a lone persimmon tree

leaves as warm and bright
in the canyon’s twilight
as slices of sun
giving back
summer’s long days

not for us —
there isn’t a single fruit —
only a harvest of leaves
holding the stillness
of completion

the way for a moment
a dancer at the apex of her arc
holds the world
like a keystone

as if all light
were held like breath

before time begins
the slow release
of autumn’s exhale
each leaf
a brief and steady flame
against the darkening.

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Protecting Ecuador’s Wildlife
and Habitats

CREDIT Dominic Mitchell,

Dominic Mitchell, ILCW Member (UK) is the managing editor for Birdwatch magazine and In a recent article story for the World Land Trust he tells about his trip to the Ecuadorian Andres, the amazing birdlife, and the need to protect their habitats. The sites visited are managed by the World Land Trust’s Ecuadorian partner Fundacion Jocotoco. Not only did he and his party have the opportunity to see the rare Spectacled Bear and the endangered Andean Condor, they also saw new roads coming into these critical forest ecosystems that will surely have negative impacts unless these areas are protected. Read his article here.

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New Books by
ILCW members

Szanne Mondoux

Anuk Book of Words
2019, Balboa Press
Paperback 260 pages, and ebook

This is book two in the Anuk Series, Adorable Assisi Human Anuk. The exploring equine human hybrid, embarks on a second life-changing journey to save the Orb’s animal beings from extinction. Guided by the mystical, priceless, and powerful Book of Words, Anuk and her faithful crew risk everything trekking to the underside of the Orb. With her loyal friends and new mentors, Anuk learns leadership as she confronts harsh truths of humanity, love, and loss while navigating the joyful journey to personal power.

Nancy, please fix listing for the book Second Nature. The title and details are run is as part of the descriptive text. Please pull out like below so the style matches.


A Field Guide to Future Conservationists

Sanjay Gubbi

Second Nature: Saving Tiger Landscapes in the Twenty-First Century
(2018, Rainfed Books)
152 pages, Hardcover

A“field guide to future conservationists” says Wired magazine. The article goes on to say: The Western Ghats landscape spread across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala is home to a wildlife corridor passing through Nagarhole, Bandipur, Mudumalai and Wayanad. It hosts the single largest tiger population in the world. This is an area that Sanjay Gubbi is keenly familiar with. Gubbi has documented his conservation efforts in the region, compiled in a new book titled Second Nature: Saving Tiger Landscapes in the Twenty-First Century, published January 2018. The book features the nitty-gritty of wildlife landscape preservation, often far removed from the beauty of hillsides and forestry, the purview of pure ecologists who view applied conservation as “a beast that is far too huge to grapple with.” India’s large human population and the aim to become a ‘developed economy’ has strained forest resources. Policies that facilitate large-scale industrialisation have also resulted in linear infrastructure intrusions like roadways, railway tracks and power lines, which move into natural ecosystems without regard to ecological balance. Click here to read the entire article.


Linda M. Hasselstrom

Gathering from the Grassland: A Plains Journal 2017

High Plains Press
Paperback and Hardback, 320 pages

This book is a rumination on the daily lives of an extraordinary writer-rancher, on the folk who raised her, and on the many ways physical and spiritual in which grass has sustained them and their cattle on this daunting South Dakota land. Hasselstrom s new journal, created day by day over an entire year, one blade at a time, unfolds like a new season s grasses. On the horizon, encircling everything she has seen, are echoes from the past. In offering a companion volume to her thirty-year-old Windbreak, Hasselstrom brings her prairie to life and puts her own self, and her forebears, under the microscope and makes sense of what once seemed chaotic.

Linda Hasselstrom’s lyrical journal grows, organically, out of a passionate love for the land, the land s creatures, and the land s people, present and part of her personal past. This enduring, endearing litany of a year in the life of a writer, a poet, and a rancher takes us deep into the heart of what it means to belong to a place, to live a deeply-rooted life to grow old with the land and to remain young with it, too. A precious glimpse into a year richly, uniquely, profoundly lived.
--Susan Wittig Albert: author of Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place, and other memoirs, historical fiction, and mysteries, including the China Bayles series

Linda M. Hasselstrom owns a small family ranch in western South Dakota. Her seventeen published books of poetry and nonfiction include Feels Like Far: A Rancher s Life on the Great Plains, autobiographical essays. With the Great Plains Native Plant Society, Hasselstrom dedicated the Claude A. Barr Memorial Great Plains Garden in 2001 to preserve native shortgrass prairie plants on 350 acres of her ranch, and the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies established a riparian protection area on her land along Battle Creek.

See all Books by ILCW members here

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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
~Mahatma Gandhi



Do you have news?

Let us know if you have won an award, written a new book, or launched a creative endeavor to bring awareness to conservation. Chances are the ILCW membership is not aware of these things, so be sure and tell us. Send items








David R. Brower Office for Conservation Writing Come write, do research, and be near wild and protected areas in Colorado while working in the David R. Brower Office of Conservation Writing. Sit at the same desk used by Dave Brower.

ILCW Members Are Eligible to Use  David R. Brower Office for Conservation Writing There is no cost for ILCW members to use the office.  To apply click  here.

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Limited Edition Prints

World renowned Conservation Photographer Boyd Norton has selected 16 of his favorite prints that are available to make your own. Check out these amazing images from the winner of the Ansel Adams award here.

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ILCW now on Facebook  ILCW facebook

ILCW members, please check out the ILCW Facebook page and add content.

Tell us what you are working on, what changes you see in the area of conservation (good and bad) in your area, include news from you: have you recently won any awards or accolades? Have you recently published a new book or article or perhaps finished a piece of art, performance piece, photo that glorifies the natural world? This page is for you, please enjoy and generate interest in ILCW and what we do.

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 Looking for Creative People Who Appreciate Nature 

Do you have a friend or a colleague who is passionate about Nature and believes that we should protect what we have for future generations? ILCW welcomes all creative people (not just writers) who use their talent to bring awareness to the plight of our natural world. Have them apply to be an ILCW member at

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