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A New Battle For the Caribbean

The Nature Conservancy’s Vero Beach office is taking on one of its toughest challenges.

Hawksbill sea turtles, as shown here, are among the species of endangered sea turtles protected through increased monitoring activities in the coastal areas of the Caribbean, thanks to the work of The Nature Conservancy.

Hawksbill sea turtles, as shown here, are among the species of endangered sea turtles protected through increased monitoring activities in the coastal areas of the Caribbean, thanks to the work of The Nature Conservancy.

When The Nature Conservancy was founded in 1951, its primary focus was on protecting rare and endangered species. “It was postage-size conservation,” says Roger Milliken Jr., the Conservancy’s board chairman.A lot has changed in 60 years. “As time went on, we realized the rare orchid was part of a bigger system, which meant we needed to protect land. So we expanded from a species-based focus to an ecosystem-based focus. This was a key insight in ecology, that everything is connected,” says Milliken, who is also CEO of Baskahegan, a company in Brookton, Maine, that is committed to sustainable forest management.

Today, the Conservancy’s mission is not only to preserve and protect land and all its inhabitants, but the seas as well. “In some ways, we see protection of marine systems as even more urgent than terrestrial ones,” says Milliken.

Read the entire article in the January 2011 issue