Conservation Spotlight: Neotropical Grassland Conservancy March 05, 2012
Posted by Jeri Langham
Gary Langham, President of the Neotropical Grassland Conservancy, Chief Scientist for National Audubon Society, and former VENT leader, was inspired to create NGC while working on his Ph.D. thesis in the Llanos of Venezuela. Through interaction with professors in Venezuelan universities, Gary learned that little money is available to graduate students who choose to work in grasslands, so many are forced to change their field of interest.
A desire to help preserve Neotropical grasslands motivated me to join my son Gary in founding NGC in 2001. The NGC is a 501©(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the conservation of savannas, gallery forests, wetlands, and associated ecosystems in Central and South America.
These Neotropical grassland ecosystems are the unheralded counterparts of the rain forest. Comprising over 625 million acres, these threatened areas receive little attention, yet they host numerous threatened plants and animals, sustain fisheries, and provide water to millions of people.
NGC believes that it is the in-country scientists, professors, students, and landowners who will best affect attitudes and land use practices, and make the difference between habitat preservation and destruction. This philosophy promotes cost-effective ways to impact conservation efforts of grasslands, empowers local people, launches careers, and creates a valuable network of promising scientists and students.
In the last 10 years, NGC has funded more than 100 projects in the grasslands of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Venezuela. Projects have focused on birds, frogs, snakes, lizards, fish, and mammals. Proposals are reviewed quarterly by a panel of scientists and are awarded based on merit and need.
One hundred percent of donations go towards programs since NGC staff and board members volunteer their time and donate all administrative costs. So every dollar you give goes directly to conservation.