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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Voices for Biodiversity

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Anthropology & Sociology, Arts & Culture, Fisheries Resources, Printing & Publishing

Mission: VoicesforBiodiversity enhances biodiversity conservation through storytelling, collaboration, community and advocacy. We focus on sharing the stories of those who would not otherwise have a way of being heard. Then we help those same individuals create or improve local environmental projects that help protect biodiversity or we help them enact advocacy to protect nature where they live.

Results: We believe that when people share their stories about nature and other species we learn to live in healthy relationship with the natural world and protect biodiversity. Voices for Biodiversity (V4B) has shared feature articles, interviews, reviews, dispatches, articles by youth, photos, videos, and more from people all around the globe who care about other species. We have published hundreds of articles in the past decade. We also produce content for National Geographic News Watch. Voices for Biodiversity has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Anthropology in Media Award from the American Anthropological Association in 2014; top honors from New Mexico Press Women for Best Nonprofit Website in 2018, 2016 and 2015; and first place for Best Website Edited or Managed by a Nonprofit, Government Agency or Educational Organization from the National Federation of Press Women in 2015 and honorable mention in 2016 and 2018.

Target demographics: Protect biodiversity and increase cultural diversity in the environmental movement.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Storytellers share their stories and enact local conservation advocacy and programs.

Geographic areas served: Global

Programs: Storytellers in Action through which Voices for Biodiversity enhances biodiversity conservation through storytelling, collaboration, community and advocacy.

Community Stories

76 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Juliet H.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Izilwane is innovative in its mission: teach the human animal how imperative all other animals (and all wildlife, for that matter) are to our ecosystem, well-being and livelihood. Izilwane decrees that humanity is not superior to all other life on earth, but, instead, integral to the planet's welfare. With compelling photo essays, videos and articles that share how people across the planet are impacting change, Izilwane is reshaping how humans think about humanity.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Izilwane offered me the opportunity to get involved and give back to the community in ways that most 18-year-olds can't. I don't know many peers who have had the opportunity to work with volunteers from all over the world, working to spread a positive message and contribute to global discussions. If it weren't for this organization, I would have spent my freshman year doing "normal" things, and not getting involved with a group that's trying to make a difference.

Kathryn P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first came on board at Izilwane because of their unique perspective on conservation: instead of focusing JUST on the hard science, they attempt also to examine and evaluate humans' connections to the environment and what makes us want to protect it. They use a fascinating, multi-media platform in order to engage the general public and encourage them to participate in their discussions of conservation and our role in conservation actions. Izilwane is made up of passionate, creative individuals who each bring to the organization their unique perspectives on culture and the natural world, and I'm glad to see their reach growing far and wide! What a great group!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This small, brand-new online magazine approaches conservation from a completely different standpoint: rather than focusing on the science, per say (though there is plenty of it!), the writers focus on the human experience with conservation and the natural world. Instead of talking about the science of trees, they look at why human beings love trees and the culture surrounding hiking, picnics, climbing trees and other outdoor activities. Instead of talking about how the wolves fit into a great ecosystem, they talk about the cultural connections people have with wolves and the role wolves can play in the culture of tourism. It's a brilliant and new way to look at the roles we, as humans, play in conservation.

Leesteffy J.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Izilwane rocks. I "liked" them on FB because they have truly interesting articles that i often "share" with my FB friends. Izilwane keeps me educated and up to date about animal/human/environmental issues. I learn things that i wouldn't learn otherwise, and i really appreciate that. Hope they are able to continue to offer such a great service to the public.

Brian28

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Izilwane is bringing much needed information to the public, via articles and awareness. I personally read as many of their article links and posts as possible. They are a great example of what a non profit should be.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am grateful to the volunteers who bring this "ezine" to me. I wish it were mandatory reading for all schools for IZILWANE is a way to help people reconnect with nature. Our world is in a difficult place and IZILWANE has articles that help us see our interrelatedness with all living things and the importance of learning to live with all living things. Reading this "ezine" has strengthened my resolve to live in ways that help the environment. I am using my own bag and bottles when shopping, use cloth garbage bags that I can wash after emptying them, planting a garden organically, buying all organic produce. Now I am trying to buy a car that gets better gas mileage. I am planting more plants that attract animals and birds also. IZILWANE has strengthened my resolve to talk to the local stores about stopping using plastic bags which I will be discussing with the local ecology board this week.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thank you, Izilwane team, for each bringing your heart, passion & knowledge to our shared goal of opening awareness to the truth that all life is inextricably linked. Reminding humanity that our impact *can* be a positive one. All it takes is living & choosing from a place of connection to each other, to all.

Gregory S.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Izilwane has motivated and involved volunteers and staff; forward-thinking vision; and works to contribute to an important dialogue on the ways people interact with their habitat. Change starts with knowledge; Izilwane is an important and well-done piece of the puzzle.

DevD

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The best thing that made me want to volunteer for Izilwane were the people who have made this non-profit such a great place of interaction, ideas around bid-diversity and the blinding passion that each one of them exhibits to grow the place into a community of like minded people who are all working towards one common goal. Bring about a positive change,

Be it Tara's unwavering passion and hard work or the entire team's commitment to the vision and mission that Izilwane stands for today, it is an amazing feat that in such a short time, the team has grown beyond borders from New Mexico to Bangalore with a plethora of talented professionals who have come forward on their own to make a dream come true.

A dream to build a better world... a more sustainable world

And they all believed in this dream because they became a part of it....and made Izilwane a part of their lives.

Izilwane values its human capital to bring about a change in this world. The work ethic is no less than that of a centre of excellence but unlike research centres, here people do it for the simple reason;

They want to make this work..they live the ideals the organisation stands for

In age Izilwane is much younger to many great established non profit organizations, but in pride, passion and focus, to me they rank right there at the very top

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Izilwane inspired and motivated me to consider a number of aspects with regard to wildlife currently under extreme presure due to a variety of human-caused impacts. I am currently working on an article as a result of my experience with the organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 2009 I was introduced to Izilwane. At that time the organization was Tara Lumpkin. Her enthusiasm and conviction to education the public on issues relating to loss of biodiversity, living sustainable, protecting and recovering wild spaces was (and remains) palpable. It is rare to find someone with this level of conviction and commitment.

Over the past two years the organization has morphed and Izilwane has developed its own identity. The organization has grown and the passion that Tara feels has attracted many like-minded people. Izilwane is doing a fabulous job of providing the public at large with information on the state of the Earth and challenges people to become involved in the process of protecting our precious resources and living less species-centric.

Donor

Rating: 5

Izilwane has such a unique, cross-discipline take on ecology and conservation. The articles on the Web site are fascinating and informative. The report on the study of zoo patrons is one great example.

Susan R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Izilwane gives voice to the totality of living beings, a much needed voice and perspective given our current environmental threats.

Meilie Cruse

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I am utterly fascinated by the natural world and always seek ways and outlets to be more connected with sustaining it. While researching how I could contribute, I found a lot of information on organizations focusing on conservation, biodiversity, and sustainability but really wanted to lead my efforts to an outlet that was also involved in the cause. This is how I discovered Izilwane. Editor in Chief Tara Lumpkin was looking for a managing editor and our conversations lead to forging a long distance professional relationship. For the next four months, I worked with Tara on the redesign of the site, the functionality, content management, and submission guidelines. I continue to keep abreast of Izilwane's work and intend for our affiliation to grow

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Izilwane is an excellent organization that coordinates efforts of conservationists from a broad range of disciplines. It provides a place for anthropology in the world of biodiversity and provides a new perspective on a topic that was previously dominated by biologists. Izilwane’s aim to connect individuals to the issue of biodiversity through broadening their perspectives is a model strategy for all conservation organizations especially those that deal with public relations.

Jami W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I seemed to become a bit of a black sheep in my graduate department as I began to discuss my plans to study wolves from an anthropological perspective. People would jokingly point down the hall telling me that the wildlife biologists were that way while they silently wondered how I was going to study wolves under the discipline of Anthropology. I knew that my research would make sense once it became clearer and I was able to better explain the concept.

It was from my German Shepard, Trooper, that I was shown how significantly people's reactions to him vary, while he remains the same. The human is never asked to adapt, or even look at their reaction to the animal, it is the animal that must adapt to humans. As my research took shape and I argued that conflicts surrounding wolves were more often conflicts between groups of people about wolves than actual conflicts between wolves and people, my research was acknowledged as legitimate and important, even published.

Not surprisingly, my search for jobs was discouraging and I wondered where I was going to be able to apply what I thought to be very important knowledge regarding our human relationship with animals. Then I found an ad in High Country News for Izilwane. It was unbelievable how perfect it was; studying loss of biodiversity from an anthropological perspective was right up my alley.

I've been an integral part of this dynamic, intelligent, motivated team ever since. The fact that we are all volunteers makes our participation an ongoing choice, continually strengthening our level of commitment to a cause that we all feel is necessary and long overdue. I am very grateful for my involvement with this professional, well-run, amazingly organized, non-profit organization

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I learned about Izilwane in the summer of 2009 and was immediately struck by the concept of relating to the animal kingdom as a co-habitant rather than as a member of the separate and supposedly superior kingdom of Man (re the medieval the Kingdoms of Plants, Animals, and Man). With a national forest for my front yard, I had frequent and daily opportunities to be in proximity to elk, deer, coyotes, birds, and rodents, and enjoyed the beauty and charm of their wild and non-imposing company. When I adopted a dog that Fall, however, I began to think about my relationship with other animals at a much more personal level. Izilwane was a key element in my growing awareness. The numerous stories that were shared among the staff were both inspiring and informative, and my interest in experiencing my own animal nature more directly as well as expanding my ability to relate to another animal species became a new adventure. At this point, I am most struck by the simple awareness of a clearly evident consciousness that is capable of communicating its non-human self. Without the stories and perspective of Izilwane, it's very likely that my adopted dog would have remained a so-called

Review from Guidestar

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Izilwane is a vital link toward in establishing awareness of the importance in realizing the innate connection we as human beings share with our environment and the creatures that inhabit our planet. Through education and research they are highlighting these similarities so that we may co-exist and thus secure the future of our planet.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Izilwane is a very inspiring organization and I look forward to the positive impact it can have on our planet. While being involved in Izilwane, I have learned about how we, as human beings, perceive our environment and what we can do to shift our perception to be more united with the entire ecosystem.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Izilwane is dedicated to bring more awareness to the interrelatedness of humanity and Nature for the benefit of all life.