Walmart Saving Urban Wildlife Habitats
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s “Acres for America” program will conserve an additional 300 acres of land to protect and restore wildlife habitats within such cities as Bridgeport, Conn.; Chicago; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; and Washington, D.C. The projects are part of the mega-retailer’s continuing effort to conserve the lands and natural resources to benefit people, wildlife and local economies.
Since 2005, Walmart has worked with the Washington, D.C.-based National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) on Acres for America, a 10-year, $35 million commitment to purchase and preserve one acre of wildlife habitat in the United States for every acre of land developed by the company. The program has protected critical habitats for birds, fish, plants and wildlife, far exceeding its original goals, according to Walmart. To date, Acres for America has invested in projects in 25 states and the District of Columbia, protecting almost 680,000 acres.
“The Acres for America program exemplifies our commitment to sustainable development, as it directly links our land use to land preservation,” said Jennifer May-Brust, VP of realty supplier management and compliance at Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart, which operates 10,130 retail units under 69 banners in 27 countries. “Our urban restoration projects oftentimes involve volunteers, including our customers and associates, and provide a way for people to connect with and enjoy nature right in their backyard.”
In 2011, Walmart expanded Acres for America to include urban conservation projects in New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and Los Angeles.
“Protecting and restoring streams, woodlands and other natural places in our urban areas is a vital part of the Acres for America mission,” noted NFWF executive director and CEO Jeff Trandahl. “Walmart’s support of these projects directly benefits areas that are home to both wildlife and people, and makes our cities more livable for everyone.”
When complete, the program is expected to be one of the largest public-private partnerships in the United States, and the first time a company has directly tied its land-use footprint to land conservation.