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NerdWallet’s Top 5 Conservation Nonprofits in California

July 31, 2012
Personal Finance
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Hikers, mountain bicyclists, and equestrians all enjoy the natural beauty surrounding the San Francisco Bay. Our city is packed with nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, those who place the utmost emphasis on taking care of the environment. These folks alongside specialized organizations dedicated to conservation work endlessly to keep California pristine.

To show our gratitude, we’ve listed the most deserving organizations for preserving the natural beauty around the San Francisco Bay and beyond. Here is NerdWallet’s top 5 conservation nonprofits in California.

Bay Area Ridge Trail: For providing hundreds of miles of hiking trails

Over twenty years ago, the Ridge Trail was just a concept. National Park Service Director William Mott Jr. envisioned a trail that would ring around the San Francisco Bay along its natural ridgeline. Today this vision is transforming into a reality; the Ridge Trail consists of over 325 miles of trails and counting. The council hopes to create more than 550 continuous miles of hiking trails over the next few years in order to encompass the entire Bay. With help from volunteers, other agencies, local government, and park services, the Bay Area Ridge Trail is creating an interconnected sanctuary for outdoor enthusiasts all around Silicon Valley.


Aquarium of the Bay: For exploration through education

Located on Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf, just down the street from NerdWallet’s homebase, the San Francisco Bay’s Aquarium serves as a nature center for tourists and natives alike. The aquarium embodies a dual focus on education and entertainment. Its 20,000 species of marine life captivate a diverse audience of visitors and provide a fun, family atmosphere. Exhibitions explore environmental issues such as climate change, habitat loss, and unsustainable harvest. The aquarium also works to inspire the conservation of the San Francisco Bay and its watershed, from the Sierras to the Pacific. In partnership with the Bay Institute, both institutions aim to shape policy to “restore maximum health to the freshwater and estuary systems that the economy and health of our region depend on.” Educational outreach and conservation advocacy earn the Aquarium of the Bay a spot on our local preservation nonprofits.


Wildcare: For an integrative approach to coexistence

Wildcare, an urban wildlife rehabilitation center, treats sick and injured animals in its hospital – as many as 3,000 a year! Located in San Rafael, California, the mission of Wildcare is to ensure a harmonious coexistence of humans and animals. A 24-hour Living with Wildlife hotline is available to Marin County residents in case an unexpected situation arises. On-site, in-classroom, and in-the-wilderness education programs teach both young and old how to live sustainably. Wildcare also advocates for better wildlife protection and the remaining open spaces of animal habitat. NerdWallet commends Wildcare for fostering coexistence of humans and animals.


Keep Tahoe Blue: For commitment to natural beauty

The League to Save Lake Tahoe is dedicated to protecting, restoring, and preserving the health and scenic beauty of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Keeping the lake pristine for future generations, as well as the surrounding scenic area, is of utmost importance to the League. In doing so, the League monitors development and recreation plans. They work with local, state, and federal lawmakers to take action and support lake preservation. From water and air quality to forests and fisheries, Keep Tahoe Blue is determined to preserve the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe.


California Trout: For decades of ecosystem preservation

Established 40 years ago, California Trout aims to protect and restore wild trout, steelhead, and salmon, and their habitat throughout California. They accomplish this mission by advocating for fish and water policies, leveraging existing laws, and restoring fish habitats. Six regions of California make up the breadth of California Trout’s outreach. Exemplary work includes successful advocacy campaigns for the removal of numerous dams along the Klamath River, managing fish counts, attaining endangered species protections, and protection against invasive species and dangerous pesticides. Today, California Trout is involved in numerous conservation efforts and restoration projects; they are currently working on 16 projects simultaneously!


The Bay Area is known for its natural beauty, and its citizens plan to keep it that way. Action is necessary to cope with environmental issues on a local level and beyond. NerdWallet acknowledges these organizations for transforming California into a more pristine environment. The works of these organizations is essential to sustain a greener future for generations to come.