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NATURE CONSERVANCY LAUNCHES $300 MILLION CAMPAIGN FOR ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION

 WASHINGTON, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Unveiling the largest private fundraising effort in conservation history, Nature Conservancy President John C. Sawhill and Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf of the Conservancy's board of governors today announced a $300 million capital campaign for The Nature Conservancy's ambitious ecosystem conservation initiative, "Last Great Places: An Alliance for People and the Environment." A single $37 million donation from the Putnam family of Cleveland through the Mildred Andrews Fund pushed the campaign past the midpoint of its fundraising goal.
 In Washington and in simultaneous regional events, Sawhill and Schwarzkopf introduced the first 40 large-scale conservation projects in the Last Great Places initiative. These projects, which the Conservancy calls "bioreserves," seek to protect rare plants, animals, and natural systems in the United States, Latin America and the Pacific.
 "By investing $300 million in private money now to protect important ecosystems for the long run, we can get ahead of the curve and help avoid costly environmental conflicts in the future," stated Sawhill. "The generous donations we're announcing today are making possible unprecedented cooperation among private landowners, corporations, government agencies, and civic groups. For the 21st century, the results will be a healthier environment for both wildlife and people."
 Lead individual, corporate and foundation donors to the campaign were recognized for their philanthropy. Along with the Putnam gift, 3M was singled out for its $2.6 million commitment, including land donations in four states; and the A.W. Mellon Foundation was recognized for its $1.5 million grant for scientific research on ecosystem conservation.
 Several donations also include significant public awareness components. The Miller Brewing Company's $1 million donation is supplemented by a print
and television ad campaign. L.L. Bean is making a $100,000 cash contribution and plans to feature Last Great Places sites in a fall catalog that reaches nearly five million people. Johnson Worldwide Associates' Scubapro division and The Nature Company have teamed up to establish "Rescue the Reef," an effort to encourage donations to Last Great Places projects that focus on coral reef and marine habitat conservation. And the Countryside Magazine Preservation Trust has given a $26,000 grant to produce a 15-minute educational video titled "A Stitch in Time: Saving the Last Great Places," narrated by Peter Jennings.
 More than two dozen top authors, including Bill McKibben, William Least Heat-Moon, Terry Tempest Williams, Jim Harrison, Barbara Kingsolver, and Pulitzer Prize-winners William Warner and Philip Caputo are donating personal essays celebrating specific Last Great Places projects for a future literary anthology to support the initiative.
 The Last Great Places initiative evolved from the Conservancy's recognition that traditional conservation methods cannot always guarantee protection of biodiversity in the future. Many smaller nature preserves established decades ago are now under pressure from encroaching development and the resulting environmental degradation. To counter this threat, the Last Great Places initiative takes an ecosystem approach to conservation, with conservation activities instituted across whole watersheds and landscapes. Just as important, it seeks to integrate compatible economic activities with environmental protection.
 Such an approach accommodates compatible economic use in planned proximity to rare species habitat. Carefully implemented and monitored activities ranging from low-erosion farming and cattle grazing to low- density housing development and recreation provide not only local economic benefits, but also create protective buffers between pristine natural areas and less controllable development that may occur beyond.
 Funds raised through the $300 million campaign will cover land acquisition costs as well as the full array of cutting-edge specialties that such large-scale planning requires, such as hydrological studies, carrying-capacity feasibility studies, and ecosystem computer modeling and analysis.
 For projects in Latin America and the Pacific Island nations, the Conservancy is placing special emphasis on building infrastructure for improved natural area management -- these actions include training park rangers, constructing ranger facilities, providing tools and vehicles, and developing educational programs to encourage sustainable use of park resources by local communities.
 Although The Nature Conservancy is a catalyst for "bioreserve" conservation at these 40 sites, it is not acting alone. Each project involves the concerted efforts of many others, including other nonprofit groups, private landowners, civic organizations, government agencies and the corporate sector. The demands of each project dictate a unique mix of partners.
 Each bioreserve also represents work in various stages of development. For instance, at the Virginia Coast Reserve, considered to be the flagship for the bioreserve concept, the Conservancy has been working for more than two decades. Other projects are in their initial stages. The Conservancy has set a goal of establishing at least 75 bioreserve projects within the next decade.
 "Last Great Places represents the kind of leadership of which I am proud to be a part," commented Schwarzkopf. "I joined the Conservancy board because I respect and value this kind of strategic, pragmatic approach. Last Great Places is on-the-ground confirmation that we need not choose between environmental and economic health. The two need to go hand-in-hand."
 Also participating in the announcement were Daniel P. Davison, chairman of Christie, Manson & Woods International, and chairman of the Last Great Places capital campaign, and Conservancy board chairman Joe Williams, of the Tulsa-based Williams Companies.
 The Nature Conservancy is a private nonprofit organization established in 1951 to preserve plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. To date the Conservancy and its 700,000 members have been responsible for the protection of more than 6.9 million acres in the 50 states and Canada. It has helped like- minded partner organizations to preserve millions of acres in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific. While some Conservancy-acquired areas are transferred for management to other conservation groups, both public and private, the Conservancy owns more than 1,300 preserves -- the largest private system of nature sanctuaries in the world.
 In the largest single corporate gift to The Campaign for Last Great Places, 3M has committed a total of $2.6 million.
 The contribution will take the form of environmentally significant properties as well as trade lands -- surplus property with no major ecological value, to be sold with the proceeds used for conservation.
 Three of the environmentally significant sites are in Minnesota. They include the birthplace of the company -- a more than 300-acre property at Crystal Bay, Illgen City, Minn., on Lake Superior's North Shore. There, in 1903, the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company opened its first mine in a search for corundum. The mine failed, but the company used the minerals it found to produce sandpaper, one of its early products.
 The Crystal Bay property borders Tettegouche State Park and offers an opportunity for expansion of the park. The other Minnesota sites are at Park Bay, and property near Tofte which contains Carlton Peak, a Lake Superior landmark.
 Also included in the 3M gift is a natural area in and around Lake Louise, in Jefferson County, W.Va. The lake is one of only two that occur naturally in the state.
 The trade lands include sites in Pennsylvania and Texas.
 This major commitment to "Last Great Places" continues a tradition of 3M-related support for the Conservancy. One of the Conservancy's major individual donors was Katharine Ordway, a biologist and philanthropist, who died in 1979. Her family's fortune derived from an early investment in 3M.
 As a Conservancy supporter, Ordway made possible the creation of a renowned prairie system covering 31,000 acres in five midwestern states. In all, she provided more than $40 million in funding for the organization.
 With headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., 3M is a global leader in industrial, commercial, health care and consumer products.
 -0- 3/11/93
 /CONTACT: Ron Geatz of The Nature Conservancy (national), 703-841-4897; Nelson French of The Nature Conservancy (Minnesota), 612-331-0755; or John Cornwell, 612-736-8210 or Mary Auvin, 612-736-2597, both of 3M for The Nature Conservancy/


CO: The Nature Conservancy; Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing ST: Minnesota, District of Columbia IN: SU:

AL -- MN007 -- 5114 03/11/93 12:56 EST
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