Green Lake Magazine Green Lake Magazine 2012 - Page 48

48 | Green Lake magazine 2012 How much would you pay for a breath of fresh air? Clean groundwater? Fertile croplands? A healthy lake? How much is this natural capital worth to you and me? As it turns out, quite a bit.Estimates indicate that worldwide natures ecosystem services are valued over 33 trillion dollars annually. More recently, research cited in a report by The Economics of Ecosystems > iÈ޻ʈ̈>̈iiݫ> that when it comes to protecting species and their habitats, annual investment of $45 billion to biodiversity conservation worldwide could safeguard about $5 trillion in ecosystem servicesa benet-to-cost ratio of 100 to 1. Wall Street cant even come close to that kind of return. Closer to home, the value of natural capital is keenly regarded by the Green Lake Conservancy, a reliable >iݫiiViʏ>̅> helps landowners to protect their environmentally sensitive lands while establishing an enduring legacy. As a 501(c)3 nonprot, the Conservancy offers watershed protection through acquisition, gift, or conservation easement. Lands that have been placed in trust and which support forests and prairies, wetlands, and shorelands are now protected in perpetuity. This visionary endowment made possible by Conservancy donors is what sustains those ecosystem services that people depend upon for their well-being 24/7.The Green Lake Conservancy is one of 50 dedicated land trusts in Wisconsin, most of which operate on a shoestring budget and rely solely on donations and committed volunteers. The major part of monetary gifts made to the Conservancy is applied directly toward land acquisitionnot paper clips, paid ofce staff, or monthly mailings. Contributions of any kind such as money, stock portfolio, or land >i>݇iV̈Li ՘i> that land acquisition is the surest means of investing in natural capital and bequeathing a land legacy to future generations. As a proven strategic lake partner, the Green Lake Conservancy has protected special places like Mitchell Glen, Norwegian Bay Wetlands, Sugar Island, Sunnyside Conservancy, and Winnebago Trail Nature Preserve, to name a few. To >i]Lʏii>}}>݈>i f]ʜv>݇iV̈Liʜ>̈] the Conservancy has conserved over 700 acres of watershed lands with >ï>iʓ>i>iiVii} Investing in Green Lakes Natural Capital By Thomas L. Eddy