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12 Gifts of Conservation: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

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By Spencer Miller, NRCS Public Affairs Specialist, NHQ

Conservation gives many gifts. So many, they’re easily overlooked or taken for granted. But ‘tis the season to count our blessings, so let us consider how conservation is a gift to people. And how it provides the gifts of recreation, health and protection.

When properly tended, nature is the ultimate renewable resource. Unlimited production and wealth lie within each landscape, as long as we are responsible stewards. Conservation rewards the people who practice it. For example, forestland owners can introduce cattle or crops to their woods, benefiting all. Trees gets fertilized and weeded; cows get shade and forage; landowners get paid. Diverse operations, diverse income.

But money isn’t everything. Conservation also creates unique opportunities for recreation. Restoring wetlands is like sending an invitation to all of nature. Songbirds will flock to sing your praise. Those who enjoy painting or hunting, also find a special pleasure in wetlands. Beyond recreation, they’re also good for our health.

A healthy landscape needs healthy wetlands. In addition to providing habitat, they filter the air and water. Sometimes called “nature’s kidneys”, wetlands clean and recharge our groundwater. They sequester carbon, mitigating the effects of climate change. They can also hold a lot of water, providing passive flood protection to nearby areas.

Dams and levees provide active flood protection on a larger scale. Conservation includes maintenance of aging infrastructure. We work with local partners to safeguard homes and communities that depend on dams. Conservation protects you and your family.

This holiday season when a pretty landscape catches your eye, or when you’re tasting clean water and fresh air, remember that you’re enjoying a few of the #12GiftsOfConservation. Happy holidays!

Read more stories on the gifts on conservation here.