As we think about Earth Day and what to do to celebrate the Earth, what do we think about “celebrating?” The science tells us that we’ve lost more habitat and species in the past 10 years than in the past 100 years. We’ve heated our planet up to a tipping point past which if we don’t stop it will not be habitable here for vertebrates and life as we know it. And we’ve put so much plastic in the ocean it numbers more than species of fish.

So what do we celebrate? I want to challenge you to “not celebrate,” but “act.” More important than festival-going, animal species posting or nature enjoying is “action.” Celebrate by taking actions to save lands, wetlands and coastal prairies.

Join us, and take action. Help us save 120 acres to add to the Coastal Heritage Preserve. You can be a part of this place by contributing $10 and becoming “One In A Million.” Every dollar you donate leverages $26.12. Imagine how any action could be more impactful, more local and more important to wildlife.

In the next 60 days, Artist Boat will work to close on two pieces of land to protect “forever” on West Galveston Island. Each parcel is a $1.36 million effort, meaning to save 120 acres costs more than $2.7 million. We have raised the following funds for these 120 acres:

• $2 million in grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department;

• $150,000 from The Brown Foundation;

• $125,000 from the Galveston Bay Estuary Program;

• $30,000 from the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory;

• $32,000 from the Galveston Bay Foundation;

• $16,000 from the Great Texas Birding Classic;

• $67,250 from local foundations and donors that committed to give if the grant was awarded;

• $223,750 through individuals who designated donations to the Coastal Heritage Preserve, the new Be One In A Million Campaign and small grants; and

• $50,000 from the Galveston Preserve at West Beach.

This totals $611,950 in matching funds toward this effort to match the $2 million in grants.

We have about $100,000 remaining to raise to purchase these 120 acres to bring the preserve to 820 acres of the visioned 1,400 acres from bay to beach on Galveston Island.

The Coastal Heritage Preserve is enjoyed by thousands of middle-schoolers annually in our kayak and habitat restoration adventure programs, and the public is welcomed at the Oppenheimer Bird Observatory. As the preserve grows, we dream of installing an oak mott, federal Americans with Disabilities Act trails and piers to wetlands, a 3-mile hike and bike trail from 8 Mile Road to 11 Mile Road and one day a nationally significant Gulf Coast Environmental Education Center.

No donation is too small or too big. Become One In A Million and join our effort. Your donation protects habitats for over 315 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish that have been identified in the Coastal Heritage Preserve and lands we will save. Many of you have already help save 700 acres. We have more to do. You can donate on Artist Boat’s website. Please learn more about Be One In A Million by watching our video or calling us at 409-632-0388.

Karla Klay is executive director and founder of The Artist Boat.

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(4) comments

Bailey Jones

[thumbup] Buying land to set aside in perpetuity is an investment in the legacy that we leave behind for future generations. There will never be more land available to set aside than there is right now - don't wait!

Carlos Ponce

Bailey will start by removing his house creating a "green zone"!

Martin Connor

Mr. Ponce, quit being a troll!!!

Carlos Ponce

Not trolling, Martin. You know what I'm doing as I've told you before.

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