Our History and Conservation Effectiveness

Mission (4)

Klip River Valley, Kunene, Namibia. (Photo: Dennis Sizemore)

Round River is dedicated to protecting and restoring those increasingly rare places best described simply as big wilderness. To us, big wilderness signifies vast landscapes containing complete assemblages of wildlife including the largest carnivores. Unfortunately, not only is the earth losing its wildest places, but we are also losing in our own imaginations the potential these places once inspired in us.

Round River began in 1991 as a collection of conservation scientists, artists, and so-called radical activists who came together out of a shared love for big wilderness. Over the years, we have learned the importance of collaborating with local people who have maintained strong, enduring land ethics. We also came to understand that we too had to make long-term commitments to the land and people in the places where we work.

From the outset, we recognized the importance of sharing our work with young adults, as well as the value of the landscape as the most visceral of educators. Students are central to our efforts, and participate in our conservation projects gaining first-hand experience with the scientific, social and political aspects of this work.

Following the edict of Michael Soulé; to be effective conservation planning must include large core areas, big carnivores, and connectivity; we set out with our long-term partners and students to produce innovative, comprehensive land protection plans. Today, thanks to the perseverance of our supporters and partners, we are witnessing success through the implementation of these plans. As a small organization we are proud of our effectiveness, assisting with the creation of recognized conservations areas exceeding 100 million acres and approaching 10 million acres of designated protection.

Why Round River is successful is because we know who we are. We are those that simply cannot live without wild nature. It’s because we know for whom we are working.  We are working for those with four legs or two wings and for those people who are not afraid to live with them.  It’s because of how we work as we make long-term commitments to wild places and the indigenous people they support.

• Everything Round River does is rooted in conservation science — aided by our participating students

• Round River does not shrink away from confrontational issues, but stays committed over the necessary long term to reach our goals

• Round River partners with indigenous peoples, communities, governments, and other non-profits.

• Round River has the support of our students, alumni and donors who enable us to continue working at a large scale on real matters of conservation.

Today our conservation efforts in North America are focused in northwestern British Columbia, northern Yukon Territory, southeastern Utah, and the mountains of central Idaho and western Montana and Wyoming. In Africa, our longstanding work in the Kunene Region of Namibia continues as well as in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. In South America, our efforts are focused in the Patagonia Mountains of Chile.

Additionally, we are being asked to help in other regions around the world, and are seeking new partners to join us in our mission of protecting big wilderness, its wildlife and the people who call these lands their home. If you wish to help or have any questions or comments, please contact us.