NFWF Announces $5.6 Million in Awards from Walmart’s Acres for America Program

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Ten new grants will help protect natural resources, enhance community recreation opportunities and improve landscape connectivity for the benefit of wildlife

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $5.6 million through 10 grants through Walmart’s Acres for America program that will help to permanently protect more than 148,000 acres of wildlife habitat across nine states. The grants will leverage $107.3 million in public and private matching funds for a total conservation impact of $112.9 million. The Acres for America program is a nearly two-decade long partnership between NFWF and Walmart. 

The projects supported by the 10 grants announced today will permanently protect wildlife habitat of national significance and increase public access to the outdoors, benefiting local communities and economies. The projects exemplify the scale of public-private partnerships needed to conserve large landscapes.  

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“These Acres for America grants are a fantastic representation of the best land conservation projects in communities around the country,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “What sets this slate apart is the human dimension, projects that greatly expand people’s ability to get out and enjoy nature, and projects that include native nations in ownership and management of these amazing places.”

“Over the past 19 years, Walmart’s Acres for America program has helped protect nature for the benefit of both people and the planet,” said Hunter Hart, senior vice president, realty at Walmart U.S. “We’re excited about how this year’s slate of grants not only permanently protects key wildlife habitats, but also enables local management and public access to the land, so that generations to come can enjoy the beauty of these incredible places.”

This year’s largest project will acquire a conservation easement of more than 73,000 acres of vast forest, coldwater lakes, trout streams and wetlands in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Michigamme Highlands. Led by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the project will ensure sustainable forest management, offer full public recreational access, and protect and improve habitat for moose, white-tailed deer, brook trout and dozens of migratory songbird species. The project also adjoins the federal McCormick Wilderness and Craig Lake State Park.

“The acquisition of a working forest conservation easement in the Michigamme Highlands will protect critical fisheries and wildlife habitat,” said Michigan DNR Director Scott Bowen. “It will also provide for a variety of public recreational opportunities and help secure some of the most climate resilient landscape in Michigan. We are very grateful to NFWF and Walmart for supporting this effort and investing funds to help manage and protect Michigan’s treasured natural resources.” 

Several Acres for America projects in this slate of grants involve Indigenous people and native nations in the conservation and stewardship of their ancestral land, including new projects in Maine and Oklahoma, as well as an expansion of a previous Acres project at Fones Cliffs in Virginia. 

In Maine, Trust for Public Land and the Penobscot Nation announced an effort to protect more than 31,000 acres of forestland in the Katahdin Region of Maine. Most of the land will be returned to the Penobscot Nation in the heart of their ancestral homelands. The project will also create much needed public access to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, enhance local outdoor recreation opportunities, and provide cultural and economic benefits to Tribal members and surrounding towns.

In Oklahoma, a new state to the Acres for America program, The Nature Conservancy will protect and over time open 12,345 acres outside of Tulsa to public use and conservation management. The acquisition will create the largest contiguous protected tract of the Crosstimbers and Southern Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem in Oklahoma. Conservation management of the property will maintain habitat for wildlife including many species that rely on intact grassland ecosystems, provide public access to nature, support local communities to be more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate, and allow for tribal hunting and cultural plant collection.

Acres for America began in 2005 when Walmart made an initial 10-year, $35 million commitment to purchase and preserve an acre of wildlife habitat in the United States for every acre of land developed by the company. Walmart surpassed that commitment and renewed the program for another 10 years in 2015. The program will now have the combined effect of helping to protect 2.1 million acres across 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Over the past 19 years, Acres for America has funded more than 119 projects and has leveraged Walmart’s $68.5 million investment with matching contributions that have generated a total conservation impact of more than $1.1 billion. Learn more about Walmart’s goal, together with the Walmart Foundation, to protect, more sustainably manage, or restore nature here.

A complete list of the 2023 grants made through the Acres for America program is available here.    

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate, foundation and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 6,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $8.1 billion. NFWF is an equal opportunity provider. Learn more at nfwf.org

About Walmart
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is a people-led, tech-powered omnichannel retailer helping people save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, approximately 240 million customers and members visit approximately 10,500 stores and numerous eCommerce websites in 19 countries. With fiscal year 2023 revenue of $611 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.1 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy, and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting https://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at https://facebook.com/walmart, on X (formerly known as Twitter) at https://twitter.com/walmart, and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/walmart/.

CONTACT: Rob Blumenthal National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (202) 857-0166 [email protected] 

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