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Companies, Customers Expand Their Commitment to Forests, Climate Change in Kansas

Broad Coalition of Corporate Partners join The Conservation Fund to help restore forests at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge

Published 05-31-18

Submitted by The Conservation Fund

An effort to bring native forests back to Kansas is underway at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge with help from companies like Dell, MaCher, New Jersey Natural Gas, Philadelphia Eagles, The North Face and U-Haul.

Furthering their commitment to address climate change by protecting and restoring America’s forests, a coalition of companies including Dell, MaCher, New Jersey Natural Gas, Philadelphia Eagles, The North Face, U-Haul and other climate champions are contributing to the restoration of more than 660 acres at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, the latest phase of an ongoing effort to reforest more than 1,400 acres with native trees at the wildlife refuge.

Located 40 miles south of Kansas City, along the Marais des Cygnes River and the Kansas-Missouri border, the wildlife refuge is uniquely situated where the bottomland hardwood forests of the east converge with the tallgrass prairies of the Great Plains. Clearing of trees reduced and fragmented the forest on this 7,500-acre wildlife refuge, and the recent tree planting benefits the hundreds of bird species, fish, freshwater mussels and other wildlife that call this area home.

“The forest restoration partnership with The Conservation Fund has been a monumental success for the wildlife of the refuge, and for visitors who come to view, hunt or photograph them. We are extremely grateful for the support this project has provided,” said Patrick Martin, Refuge Manager of Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, which will serve as the long-term steward of the reforested areas. 

Donations to The Conservation Fund’s carbon offsetting initiatives support the planting of more than 200,000 trees for this phase of the restoration, including native oak, hickory, pecan, persimmon and sycamore. As the trees mature, they will trap nearly 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – the equivalent of taking more than 40,000 cars off the road for a year. The trees also provide critical habitat for wildlife species such as the yellow-breasted chat and indigo bunting, as well as enhance wildlife-oriented recreation opportunities including hunting and birding. The effort is validated by SCS Global Services at the Gold Level under the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards.

“The planet needs help, and none of us can do it alone,” said David Lear, Vice President of Sustainability for Dell. “Our customers in particular have made it clear: they want solutions that benefit people and the planet, and our partnership with The Conservation Fund is a part of that. We are proud to partner with them on projects like Marais des Cygnes and other locations to restore habitats, reduce carbon emissions, and plant the seeds of a sustainable future.”

“We feel, more than ever, that business plays a vital role in protecting and restoring our environment,” said Derek Hydon, President of MaCher USA, a certified B Corporation. “Since 2008, we have found no stronger partner than The Conservation Fund to help us, and our clients, invest in a compelling and impactful offset project and increase our collective ability to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems.”

“We believe in the value of environmental stewardship and are committed to doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint, and help our customers do the same,” said Anne-Marie Peracchio, Director of Conservation and Clean Energy Policy at New Jersey Natural Gas. “In 2007, New Jersey Natural Gas joined with The Conservation Fund to launch our Planting for Our Future program to help our customers reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through this partnership, over the last decade nearly 66,000 trees have been planted, including at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, to help eliminate over 65,000 tons of carbon emissions. We are proud to support the efforts of The Conservation Fund and plant a better future for us all.”

“The Conservation Fund has been pioneering cutting-edge environmental solutions to protect and maintain our country’s natural resources for more than 30 years,” said Don Smolenski, Philadelphia Eagles President. “In collaboration with The Conservation Fund, we strive to offset 100 percent of our carbon emissions associated with our team travel through a program that focuses on tree planting and reforestation funding. We are proud to further our partnership with The Conservation Fund and help support the restoration efforts at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge.”

“The North Face was built on a love for the outdoors and we support strong action on climate,” said James Rogers, Director of Sustainability for The North Face. “An important part of that effort is offsetting the emissions from our U.S. owned and operated facilities, ecommerce shipping, and employee commuting. We recently expanded this program to offset the emissions from all our athlete expeditions through support of the Marais des Cygnes project.”

“U-Haul is proud of our 10-year partnership with The Conservation Fund, and equally proud of the nearly 2 million customers who have opted to offset emissions related to their moves through donations supporting tree planting at check out,” said Michelle Sullivan, Manager of Corporate Sustainability at U-Haul. “With truck and trailer sharing at the center of our business, these offsets create a positive impact for all the communities where we live, work and play.

Since our first restoration efforts in 2008, climate champions at Marais Des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge have included: AOL; Bear Naked; C&S Wholesale Grocers; Cambridge Systematics; Dell; Delta; Emkay; Freshpet; Gaiam; Indianapolis Colts; Land Rover Portland; MaCher; Midea Group; Momentum Group; Monsanto; New Jersey Natural Gas; Philadelphia Eagles; Pictorial Offset; PREMIERETV; SEAT Planners; The Grupe Company; The Home Depot; The North Face; Timberland; U-Haul; United Talent Agency; William McDonough & Partners; Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo; Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; foundations; and individual donors. 

“The legacy we are leaving at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge demonstrates the critical leadership role companies play in revitalizing our forests—benefiting wildlife, water and our global climate,” said Jena Thompson Meredith, Vice President of Business Partnerships at The Conservation Fund. “This public-private collaboration includes the best of our natural resource agencies and some of the world’s most progressive companies—many of whom have invited their customers to join them—in setting and achieving ambitious goals for our planet. The results are measurable, lasting and positive.” 

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About The Conservation Fund

At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states to protect nearly eight million acres of land since 1985.

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The Conservation Fund

The Conservation Fund

At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.

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