California. Live oaks frame the distant rolling hills on the ranch.
TNC's Dangermond Preserve, California. Live oaks frame the distant rolling hills on the ranch. © Bill Marr/TNC

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Nature Conservancy Director calls for Australian entrepreneurs to step up following biggest-ever gift

The Nature Conservancy has received the single-largest philanthropic gift in its 67-year history – a visionary gift of US$165 million (A$210 million) from California couple Jack and Laura Dangermond. The unprecedented donation allowed The Nature Conservancy to acquire the renowned Bixby Ranch – an ecologically important piece of wild Californian coastline and neighbouring hinterland, near Santa Barbara, USA.

“This historic gift inspired a wave of support from our donors, allowing us to complete this land purchase entirely with private funding,” said Mark Tercek, CEO and President of The Nature Conservancy. “The generosity of all these donors will not only preserve this valuable part of California, but also set an example for what it means to invest in the future of our planet.”

Country Director for The Nature Conservancy in Australia, Rich Gilmore invited Australian entrepreneurs to follow the lead of Mr and Mrs Dangermond, saying: “Australians are every bit as successful and generous as their US counterparts, and we hope philanthropists in Australia will be inspired by this gift and step forward to play their part in conserving Australia’s incredible natural wonders”.

Gilmore added that the gift is notable “for its size and for its overt aspiration to trigger similar gifts from other entrepreneurs. It’s also evidence that, despite the perceptions of some to the contrary, nature conservation can inspire people to make very large gifts, just as education and health do.”

Here in Australia, the generosity of local philanthropists and donors has already allowed The Nature Conservancy to support the acquisition of 22 properties for conservation totalling almost 2.5 million hectares. Purchases include the 180,000 hectare Fish River Station in the Northern Territory, the former Sydney Kidman cattle station Ned’s Corner, (the largest freehold property in Victoria), and most recently, the expansion of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary.

In addition, the Conservancy has provided funds for the management of an additional 8 properties covering a further 1.1 million hectares.

The new Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve will stitch together a connected network of protected areas covering more than 50,500 hectares of land and sea at a critical juncture between Northern and Southern California. This is one of the very few places along the California coastline that remains untouched by urban development. The Preserve includes 13 kilometres of undisturbed coastal habitat, huge expanses of estuaries, coastal prairie, grasslands and oak forests.

You can watch a short video about the Jack and Laura Dangermond preserve on The Nature Conservancy’s global website.  

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in 72 countries on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We’re tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, visit our website or follow us on Facebook.