Conservation Works lives up to its name in two major ways. The first way is that we can demonstrate the utility of conservation practices through fostering sustainable agriculture that in turn provides for the long-term role of agricultural in a healthy economy in the North Coast. Research has shown over the years that land conservation adds to economic value. This work boosts local economies through new jobs as well as enhanced tourism. Many conservation practices result in higher water quality with greater natural filtration of drinking water and less pollution runoff. Conservation practices also can provide natural disaster mitigation, addressing both floods and fire. Practices that help slow rainfall runoff, spread it to avoid erosion, sink it to increase infiltration into the soil and groundwater with resultant storage in our groundwater basins reduce flood magnitudes. Similarly, conservation practices that increase resiliency against wildfires protect wildlife as well as human lives and property.
The second way is helping prepare our youth for future workforce opportunities. If recent trends continue, California is likely to face a shortage of workers across the board over the next decade. From those workers who are highly skilled with advance degrees to those with some college education but less than a bachelor’s degree -- we will need more talented workforce participants in the future. Our youth programs build-in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning and show youth the practical use of the knowledge they are gaining. This information will help youth make sound choices for evaluating their future educational needs while at the same time showing new opportunities in applied conservation.