Preserving Our Natural Treasures for Future Generations

The Little Miami RiverThe Greater Miami Valley region is blessed with many exceptional and celebrated amenities, including a rich and diverse landscape. Abundant waterways, lush vegetation, varied wildlife and extensive farmlands make the region an attractive place to live, add economic value and sustain the lives of millions of residents.

“The Greater Dayton area has tremendous natural assets,’ said Bob Jurick, chair of the B-W Greenway Community Land Trust and member of the advisory committee of The Greater Dayton Conservation Fund of The Dayton Foundation. “For example, the Greater Miami River aquifer is one of the largest underground sources of fresh water east of the Mississippi and serves as the sole or principal source of drinking water for 1.6 million people in Southwest Ohio.”

However, as Mr. Jurick is quick to note, development rapidly is changing the region’s landscape from agricultural to residential and urban, even though the population has experienced only modest growth.

“Without proper land management, we will lose significant agricultural resources and wildlife habitats, while adding to our communities’ costs for infrastructures and creating competition for water resources,” Mr. Jurick said. “Our challenge is to get people in touch with the land and to educate them about what can and should be done now before our natural treasures are lost.”

And that’s exactly what Mr. Jurick and several other community leaders and environmentalists are doing. Through the support of The Dayton Foundation, they established The Greater Dayton Conservation Fund to help support conservation initiatives and programs.

The Conservation Fund awards grants to support organizations or programs that help protect the region’s natural environment through education, acquisition, restoration and scientific research; encourage collaborations and regional land conservation; and leverage cooperation and support of various efforts of like-minded organizations. The fund’s steering committee awarded its first grant to the University of Dayton’s Rivers Institute project in 2006. Through this student-led program, university students have explored the wonders of the region’s waterways and developed an interest in natural resource related careers and fields of study. The Rivers Institute experience is something these students take with them for the rest of their lives. Since then the fund has provided grant dollars to more than 38 projects in the region.

Hope Taft, committee member of the Conservation Fund, said, “The value of the Conservation Fund is that it provides financial help to small organizations that have boots on the ground to do work that otherwise would not get done, and they are able to involve a lot of volunteers in the process.” Hope said of the environment, “If you don’t know it, you don’t love it, and if you don’t love it, you don’t support it.” This fund is a way of getting more people connected with nature so that they will support it now and into the future.

“The Foundation has many funds under management to protect specific natural areas in our community,” said AJ Ferguson, chair of the Conservation Fund. “However, this was the first environmental fund with the flexibility to support new and emerging conservation and preservation activities. This fund represents a unique opportunity to bring together agencies that are working to protect and preserve our natural resources and area residents who want to see these resources preserved for future generations,” AJ Ferguson said. “Through the fund, we can help enhance and protect our backyard, so to speak. It’s a great vehicle for perpetuating the life of our community.” Individuals interested in contributing to the cause are invited to do so by making a donation to The Greater Dayton Conservation Fund.

The Advisory Committee of The Greater Dayton Conservation Fund is now accepting applications for its 2020 grant funding cycle. All applications are due on or before June 30, 2020. Download the 2020 Grant Application to apply.

Help The Greater Dayton Conservation Fund continue to preserve and improve environmental health throughout the Dayton Region. Donate now to the Greater Dayton Conservation Fund.

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File date: 05.18.20


Bob Jurick

“"The Greater Dayton Conservation Fund was formed by The Dayton Foundation to assure that conservation-minded donors have options to support our natural environment - and to provide a source of funding for the many local charitable organizations focused on conservation and environmental stewardship.” – Bob Jurick, Dayton Foundation donor since 2000

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