Roger Mangham, state director of the Nature Conservancy in Alabama, not only appreciates the group’s mission statement, he lives it every day:
The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive.
“The Nature Conservancy is an international organization; we do work all over the world. Here in North America, we have state chapters in all 50 states,” Mangham said. “We spend a lot of time hand in hand with some of our partners like the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Conservation of Natural Resources. Also, companies like Alabama Power support our efforts and work with us.”
A few of the goals of the Nature Conservancy in Alabama:
- The Nature Conservancy is mapping restoration priorities to ensure that conservation funding is strategically leveraged on the Cahaba River, the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River, Big Canoe Creek and Paint Rock River.
- On the Gulf Coast, the nonprofit is restoring the resilience of natural and human communities.
- In Alabama’s forests, the Nature Conservancy is working to keep the forests economically and ecologically viable.
One of the wonders of Alabama is the Cahaba lily. Mangham understands the lily’s significance and what it takes for the Cahaba River to remain healthy.
“When I think of the Cahaba lily, I look it as this keystone element that speaks to a river that’s still intact.” Mangham said. “If you add up all of Alabama’s river miles, it’s about 140,000 miles. Alabama is No. 1 in fresh water biodiversity in the country.”
With a state that has so many natural resources, Mangham works to make sure Alabama’s rivers, forests and marsh lands are around for generations.
“Conservation to me is all about wise use of our natural resources. I grew up hunting and fishing and it made me step back and realize that we are connected to the natural world. One of my direct duties is to think of future generations and how they will live with and enjoy this natural world,” Mangham said.
It takes a lot of effort to keep Alabama’s environment shining bright. Roger Mangham and the Nature Conservancy are doing their part.