It may seem far removed from our work to keep wildlife connected and protect the Sky Islands, but we too are affected. We receive a significant portion of our funding from government grants. And, in the U.S., we’re implementing science and conservation projects on federally managed lands such as national forests and national wildlife refuges. And we’re not alone. Many nonprofits rely on government funding for a substantial part of their budget.
Early in my tenure as executive director, the government shut down for a considerable amount of time, during which we could not work on projects funded with government grants or that were to take place on government lands. This was a hardship for a small nonprofit that counts on regular income throughout the year from grants. And it was disruptive to work we’d planned with staff and volunteers.
This year, in the face of the rancor and general dysfunction in Congress, we were bracing and planning for the worst — ready to pivot to other projects and continue this vital work for our Sky Islands.
We’re grateful that the shutdown was averted for now. But we know that we’re not fully out of the woods yet, and we’ll likely be revisiting these woods again in coming years.
If you’d like to help, there are several things you can do to improve the situation. First, stay engaged on the issues and use your voice and vote to keep your elected officials accountable. Also, know that your donations and volunteer hours are a crucial source of support. They help us secure federal grants, and they provide stable income for weathering future storms like these, so we can keep doing the work and protecting the Sky Islands we all love.