Monday, October 13, 2008

13% of earth now protected by environmentalists

The Nature Conservancy turned heads earlier this year by announcing an ambitious plan to protect 10% of the world's total land. This appeared to be a strikingly ambitious land acquisition endeavor; in fact the largest real estate acquisition proposal in history. But with declining land prices and a worldwide credit crunch, the cash-rich Nature Conservancy has often the only available buyer to farmers and landowners who need to sell. It is not surprising that conservation land deals are moving forward at a record pace this year. Still, no one expected to find such a dramatic change in land conservation totals so quickly.

Now Mark Spalding, senior marine scientist with The Nature Conservancy announces that 13% of the world's land surface is now protected open space in a new book "The World's Protected Areas, examines the relationship between people and protected areas". Mr. Spalding says that the amount of protected land is now equivalent in size to the total amount of the world's croplands. It is not clear whether TNC underestimates the amount of land previously under conservation prior to announcing its goal or whether the land acquisition project has progressed beyond its stated goals.

In the past The Nature Conservancy has relied primarily on a strategy of purchasing open land from private landowners and selling the land back to local governments at higher prices. This strategy vaulted TNC the world's wealthiest organizations. More recently, TNC began promoting a conservation easement program that allows farmers and rural landowners to continue to own and use the land, but prevented future development. Purchasing easements is less expensive than purchasing land and may be better for preserving the stability of rural and agricultural communities.

No comment has be issued by The Nature Conservancy about how this recent announcement of 13% will affect its plans for future land acquisitions. It seems reasonable possible given the current worldwide real estate market that environmental groups like TNC could continue to acquire land at a rapid pace and possible boost the total amount of protected land to 15% to 20% of the earth's surface. It seems unlikely that attainment of the 10% goal would deter TNC from future land acquisitions.

Mr. Spalding points out that our waterways and oceans are not equally protected, with only 1/2 of one percent of the world's oceans under conservation easement. Freshwater protection is even lower. This might represent the next major "growth market" for TNC acquisitions with potential consequences on water users and fishing industries. Noting that this major announcement is made by a marine scientist lends credibility to my suspicion that TNC is gearing for an increase in oceanic and waterway ventures. The fact that Mr. Spalding's announcement was strategically published overseas in The Daily Telegraph rather than in more critical U.S. news sources (due to the current political debate on use of offshore oil reserves) also makes me believe that this book announcement is part of a larger strategic maneuver by TNC.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

conservation at any cost

Coverage of The Nature Conservancy's brokerage of Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina mentions by Triangle Business Journal completely ommitted the financial details of the deal. Taxpayers would likely be shocked at the hefty price they are paying for the brokerage services of The Nature Conservancy. Yet if news reporters like this one at Triangle Busines Journal take their coverage facts solely from the press releases put out by The Nature Conservancy, we are certain to avoid focus on the cost to taxpayers or the huge brokerage payments paid for the deals. Clearly The Nature Conservancy relies on a "conservation at any cost" mentality of Americans today to continue to accrue hundreds of millions of profits (sorry, TNC is "non-profit" and non-taxable so we don't call the money "profits"). The ability to sell to taxpayers and governments makes TNC the world's largest and richest land broker.

We are not saying that this deal is not in the best interest of taxpayers or that the motives are suspect, but we are saying that full disclosure and reporting of the financial aspects of these huge transactions is absolutely essential.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Partnering with Poisoners

The Nature Conservancy takes more heat for its partnerships with the largest and most motorious large corporations including:
"Alcoa — massive polluter and consumer of energy
American Electric Power – coal burning (73%) electricity producer
Bank of America — will invest in anything, regardless of impact
BP – oil giant and greenwasher supreme
Cargill – food giant, GMO user on massive scale
Caterpillar – provides military equipment to repressive regimes"

Funding for the Environmentalist Industry

Perception v Reality Blog wrote about the funding of the environmental movement:

"In a dazzling display of raw power, foundations with interlocking directorates funded the Nature Conservancy in 1996 to the tune of $203,886,056, or 60 percent of its annual revenue. Initially the foundations banded together under the name Environmental Grantmakers Affinity Group of the Council on Foundations. Under the umbrella of Rockefeller Family Fund 136 foundations formed the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) in 1987 which has grown to over 200 by the end of the twentieth century. Congressman RichardPombo (R-CA) claimed in 1999 that there are "3,400 full time employees,including leaders who often make $150,000 or more, as well as a small army of outside contractors such as scientists, lobbyists, lawyers, and public affairs specialists" in Washington DC. Citing a 1999 Boston Globe article, Congressman Pombo said: …"foundations invest at least $400 million a year in environmental advocacy and research. The largest environmental grant-maker, Pew Charitable Trusts, gives more than $35 million annually to environmental groups ".....When the additional 2,300 foundations that donate to environmental activism are considered, plus the billion dollars or so contracted to environmental organizations by various agencies of the federal government, the Boston Globe [newspaper] estimates the total funding for environmental activism to be around four billion dollars annually!"

We suspect that the U.S. public is largely unaware of the tremendous size and awesome power of the environmental advocacy industry.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Nature Conservancy Criticized in Montana Meetings

Montana residents criticized The Nature Conservancy when it attempted to drum up public support while continuing to hold closed door meetings on the 320,000 acre Plum Creek project. If completed it would be the largest conservation land deal in the U.S.

This effort is a delicate line for The Nature Conservancy. They want and need public support to continue funding all of their land deals, but if the financial details of a project were made public, then the outcry might be so strong as to crush the deal.

The Nature Conservancy is the nation's largest land broker and they have professional resources that could make our heads spin. The Nature Conservancy is seeking $250 million tax dollars and $260 million in private donations for this project alone. Profits to The Nature Conservancy on the deal were not disclosed. One neighbor said "If it seems like too good of a deal, it might not be. Be careful. Be vigilant.” Another simply said “I think we all smell a rat”.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

At the Mercy of Environmentalists

Recent mainstream news coverage on the possibility of offshore drilling has raised public awareness of how powerful extremist environmental groups like The Nature Conservancy really are. It is becoming increasingly clear that environmentalists are to blame for today's high food prices, the idiotic plan to produce fuel from grain and the stalled U.S. energy industry. These multi-billion dollar organizations hold a virtual stranglehold on our Congress.

Investors Business Daily covered this topic in detail, and it should send shivers down the spine of any clear-thinking American. There groups are as dangerous to our future as any threat on the horizon. While some have already given in (one writer said "you don't want to make enemies with The Nature Conservancy), others should take notice of the the veracity of the attacks against scientists, politicians and anyone else who expresses views contrary to The Nature Conservancy. This should be warning to us all.

One blogger writes "The massive damage these organizations have done is only a prelude to what they're planning as they use the global warming scare to ram dangerous new laws through Congress to allow this or prohibit that". Scary.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Nature Conservancy as an energy broker

The article at points out the pros and cons of drilling for gas and oil on America's protected lands.

One thing that appears clear is that The Nature Conservancy has quite a financial windfall after gathering these lands at rock-bottom prices, gaining funding from public sources and now owing the land on top of the largest energy reserves in North America.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

TNC clashes with Hawaii constitution

The state constitution provides hunting rights for native Hawaiians on state lands. Article 12, Section 7 on the Hawaiian Constitution says "The State reaffirms and shall protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahaupua’a tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the State to regulate such rights." TNC manages much of the native Hawaiian land on Molokai and is taking additional conservation programs that concern local residents.

Locals questioned how TNC was going to work to protect native Hawaiian gathering rights. It is not surprising that they are getting little of no information from The Nature Conservancy about its plans. TNC's mission would appear to be in direct opposition to the state constitution on this issue. Given TNC's history of bullyiny tactics, the residents have good reason to be concerned that their rights will be trampled.


Protecting developers from falling land prices

The Nature Conservancy provides a financial parachute for commercial developers who purchased land but then found that declining real estate markets made commercial development impossible. While American homeowners have to suffer the full effects of recent real estate price corrections, developers find that land trusts are eager buyers to bail them out of financial blunders. See the Wall Street Journal article May 9, 2008 at

Cristina Mestre of The Nature Conservancy is quoted as saying that as a result of the market drop TNC is being approached en masse to buy development rights from owners of large tracts of land. These conservation easements are a relatively new tool in the real estate industry and there are both positives and negatives to consider from the perspective of public policy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spin breeds more spin

A small startup company in Texas called Avasaire Cosmetics announced that a portion of all its sales will be going to The Nature Conservancy. I don't blame them; it is smat marketing. Cosmetics is a competitive business playing almost completely on image and public perception. Market positioning is everything. The Nature Conservancy certainly knows this. Among their greatest achievements is the development of a public image as "the good guy" leading the cause toward worldwide conservation while diverting attention from the corruption within the organization, shady political dealings, bullying of private land owners and a pattern of greed that would make any Fortune 500 company blush. But a small business aligning itself with TNC is certainly a smart marketing move. Unfortunately we all know that brilliant product marketing has lead to some really awful things for our society (think junk foods, video games, bottled water, SUVs, etc.).

I wrote the small company owners to suggest they find a more worthy environmental group to support. There are plenty of them - unfortunately none with the marketing savvy or ability to spin public opinion like TCN.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Landowners Beware

The National Center for Public Policy Research is publicizing a paper "Conservation Easements: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," posted online at The paper details many of the concerns expressed here on this forum and includes stories of individuals and families whose lives have been unturned by the powerful legal resources of The Nature Conservancy. The story also throws light on the issue of The Nature Conservancy's hugely profitable business model that centers on "flipping" conservation easements to the government at taxpayer expense. The underlying issue is that the public is not aware of the huge power that The Nature Conservancy has amassed as the largest and most profitable land broker and their track record in using that power against property owners.

A press release titled "Landowners Beware - The Government's Found a New Way to Control Your Land" was released today.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tax watchdogs criticize The Nature Conservancy deal

Grassley Watch blog criticises the inclusion of $250 million taxpayer funds that goes to The Nature Conservancy under the much-criticized recent farm bill. The "tax refund" to the tax-exempt organization amounts to nothing more than a subsidy.

Citizens Against Government Waste, another consumer watchdog, is also criticizing the federal grant that subsidizes The Nature Conservancy for the purchase of a tract of land known as Plum Creek. See The author refers to The Nature Conservancy as a "gazillionaire environmental group".

The Republican Study Committee says:
"The Plum Creek Timber Company is attempting to sell the land to the “Nature Conservancy” – which the Washington Post exposed as the “world’s richest environmental group, amassing $3 billion in assets.” The earmark would allow the Nature Conservancy to claim a $250 million “tax refund,” providing incentive for the group to purchase the land from Plum Creek. The tax refund would be provided even though the Nature Conservancy is a non-profit group that does not pay taxes".

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Georgia Governor profits from land deal

Georgia’s Governor Purdue is implicated in a land scandal where apparently he “flipped” land in 2006 for a substantial profit that was located adjacent to the Oaky Woods land development project. The Nature Conservancy tried to buy the land at less than market value with a government-issued restriction on its use that would have made it useless to developers. The Governor refused to pave the way for the deal proposed by The Nature Conservancy. Perhaps he wondered why The Nature Conservancy should be the sole entity to profit from the government’s power to control land use. The land was then sold to developers instead at a much higher price; apparently about three times what The Nature Conservancy was trying to negotiate. The Governor made a profit of more than $450,000 on land that he owned for a mere 18 months.

We all recognize the value of setting aside natural lands for preservation. But the strategy commonly employed The Nature Conservancy employs to acquire land at less than fair market value hurts the land owners, the local community and ultimately the state’s taxpayers. The practice has been hugely successful in helping The Nature Conservancy pile up billions in tax-free profits on land deals throughout the nation. Local taxpayers pay the price as this land is immediately removed from the community’s tax base that is used as the primary source of funding for schools and roads. To add insult to injury, this land is often re-sold back to the state to be used as a park at substantial profit for The Nature Conservancy. While this is not an excuse for the Governor's behavior, the TNC actions to secure profits in land acquisition deals are no more acceptable than flipping land by an investor with inside control.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Nature Conservancy vs. Native Americans

In 2006 The Nature Conservancy won a legal action to force the Pala Band of Mission Indians to pay them $545,000 for unknowingly violating a provision of the Clean Water Act. The tribe had allowed members to conduct a mining operation on tribal land and the water runoff affected neighboring land owned by The Nature Conservancy. When the Nature Conservancy took legal action, the Native Americans were outgunned in terms of legal representation and legal defense funds. When the verdict was announced Tribal leaders did not know how they would raise the money to pay the multi-billion dollar Nature Conservancy from their over-strained budget. The Nature Conservancy does not need the money from the lawsuit and admitted that it planned to use the money to buy even more land near the reservation.

Apparently The Nature Conservancy’s commitment to preservation does not include preservation of the welfare of Native Americans.

See for an article reporting the legal settlement.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Florida Thrills The Nature Conservancy

Florida legislature voted to fund open land purchase programs by going $300 million into debt. The Daytona Beach New Journal reported that the cost was only $25 million – the cost to finance the debt. This comment sounds like the logic of a teenager with their first credit card. The money will be raised by making further cuts in health services to Florida residents.

The paper quotes The Nature Conservancy’s political lobbyist Janet Bowman saying "We are thrilled," "We are ecstatic." She should be. She just won her employer a $300 million pool of funds that can be used for land brokerage deals that can be leveraged into even much more money using partnership arrangements with local governments around the state.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Montana land deal gone bad

Today’s (4/13/08) Bozeman Daily Chronicle, a newspaper in Southwest Montana, brings up an old deal attempted by the Nature Conservancy in 1992. The Nature Conservancy was trying to negotiate a deal to buy 165,000 acres of land inside the Gallatin National Forest for logging and development. Ted Turner was supposed to finance the deal. Apparently news leaked to the public which caused the deal to fall apart.

The article raises more questions than it answers. What was so objectionable about The Nature Conservancy’s development and logging plans? Has the same development strategy been carried out in any of the many other properties owned by The Nature Conservancy around the world? What was the financial draw for investor Ted Turner?

Little news from the 1992 deal is available online. If any readers have any information on this, we would love to hear.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Conservation easements

The Battle Creek Enquirer reported "Nationally, conservation easements are gaining popularity. The 2005 National Land Trust Census, compiled by the Washington, D.C.-based Land Trust Alliance, reported 37 million acres were protected across the country by local and state land trusts and by such big-name conservation groups as The Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited. Although some easements protect urban gardens and local parks, most are focused on wildlife habitat, open space and wetlands, according to the census."One commenter wrote "What happens to this land?" - a very reasonable question. The answer is no one knows for sure. Conservation easements are a fairly new experiment in real estate. We assume permanency but our courts have shown willingness to allow the custodian to modify use of trust assets under an increasingly wide range of circumstances. The review on the effectiveness of conservation easements remains unwritten.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Will whistleblower protection work at non-profits?

Would additional whistleblower protection help curb illegal practices at non-profit organizations like The Nature Conservancy?

In 2002 new laws known as Sarbanes-Oxley made sweeping reforms designed to curb the tide of management corruption in for-profit companies. One of those provisions was legal protection for employees who report wrongdoing by their employers. The logic was that insiders are most likely to see corruption and have access to documentation that would be needed by enforcement to correct the actions. But the law does not apply to non-profit organizations.

The CPA Journal recently covered the views of some people who feel that Sarbanes-Oxley should be extended to cover non-profit organizations. The trouble is that majority of employees at The Nature Conservancy fundamentally support the organization’s mission of acquiring the world’s undeveloped land at taxpayer’s expense, even when that means stepping on landowner rights or bullying municipal governments. The fact is that The Nature Conservancy is so large and so powerful that it is virtually uncontrollable by any overseer, including the federal government. Prior investigations by Congress and the IRS documented misdeeds but failed to result in any meaningful changes or punitive actions. It seems unlikely that additional charges by whistleblowers would result in any different outcome.

While whistleblower protection may be an effective means of corruption control at smaller non-profit organizations, it is unlikely to make much difference at The Nature Conservancy.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Nature Conservancy in Virginia water conflict

A Nature Concervancy attorney is accused of conflict of interest while working for on the opposite side of a battle over water. A Charlottsville Virginia public official "points out that besides serving on the Airport Commission, Edwards is an attorney who works for the Nature Conservancy, the organization most fervently pressing the pipeline/reservoir plan".

Criticism of The Nature Conservancy continues in The Hook newspaper:
"Founded in 1951, the Conservancy shot to fame during the 1970s for its philanthropic approach to saving the environment. Rejecting traditional eco-approaches of bully pulpit (Sierra Club) or colorful demonstration (Greenpeace), the multi-billion-dollar-endowed Conservancy focused instead on simply paying for eco-salvation by purchasing easements on threatened properties and sometimes buying land outright.

But, as revealed by a series of investigative articles in the Washington Post five years ago, that free-market approach veered toward free-wheeling, particularly when the Conservancy made below-market land sales to donors and developers. Today, a chastened Conservancy bills itself as a "science-based" organization.

Such scientific interest is evident locally in the Conservancy's role as architect of the controversial $143 million water plan, which public records show it hopes to use as a national model".

Cashing in on global warming

Cattle Network takes a light-hearted approach to criticizing The Nature Conservancy, poking fun at the way the orgnization is cashing in on environmental concerns about global warming.

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Bait and Switch"

Another community falls victim to The Nature Conservancy's real estate development scams in whay one resident calls "bail and switch" in this letter to the editor at

Writing about Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park plans, author Clint Maderos sums it up nicley: "The campground will take out prime agricultural land in Chico (food, people!) and take out more of our county tax base while adding costs. The concerns of neighboring property owners are not being properly addressed. My property rights, property values, and quality of life will be reduced without compensation by this state incursion, all made possible by the hefty "benevolence" of the Nature Conservancy."

Welcome to the club Clint.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Nature Conservancy is No Charity

Green-machine blog wrote today “Some groups are far more efficient than others. The Nature Conservancy, for example, spends just 10 percent of donor contributions on fund raising, while the Sierra Club spends 42 percent, according to the American Institute of Philanthropy.Pope, the Sierra Club director, said it's not a fair comparison. The reason? Donations to the Conservancy and most other environmental groups are tax-deductible -- an important incentive for charitable giving. Contributions to the Sierra Club are not, because it is a political organization, too. "We're not all charities in the same sense," Pope said. "Our average contribution is much, much smaller."”

Gee, do you think so?

Has anybody noticed that the almost $1 billion per year in revenues from land deals makes public donations a tiny and almost irrelevant part of The Nature Conservancy’s financial picture? Apparently Pope was being politically sensitive in his comments but his lack of tenacity does not help people understand the glaring distinction here. TNC is a non-profit, not a charity. One glance at TNC’s financial statement tells you this is an ordinary non-profit organization. TNC is the world’s largest land broker and one of the wealthiest organizations (including all for-profit comapnies) in the world. TNC receives hundreds of millions each year from governments worldwide. Most of its public donations of land are tax-driven as part of wealthy land owners' estate planning, not from the pure goodness of the donor. The Nature Conservancy is not a charity by any stretch of imagination.

Another distinction that should be made is the purpose of the fundraing. Most non-profit organizations raise money in order to financially survive and continue their operations. Not The Nature Conservancy. TNC raises money through highly publicized community activities because it is good PR and especially effective at diverting public attention away from its more significant and controversial financial operations. Fundraising, it turns out, is a great way to create spin. Keep the community fundraising event on the ront page and bury the corruption investigations in the back pages.

The Nature Conservancy’s management has been compared to the world’s most ruthless for-profit corporations yet, these actions are well hidden behind the parade of public fundraising by the do-gooders across America.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Nature Conservancy Sells land in NY

Television channel 13 (CHAM) in Albany NY reported on 3/19/08 that The Nature Conservancy has sold more than 15,000 acres of rural land in New York State to private owners this month for $1.2 million. No information was available on the profit made by The Nature Conservancy on the land deal nor whether taxpayer funds had been previously been used to acquire the property. The Nature Conservancy is under fire worldwide for selling land that had been donated or purchased with taxpayer funds to private and commercial entities at substantial profits. Worldwide revenues from land deals topped $1.3 billion in 2007 making The Nature Conservancy the world’s largest real estate broker.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ivory-billed Woodpecker Scandal

A well-orchestrated scam by The Nature Conservancy was documented by Fox News in an article titles “Woodpecker Racket?” after it was discovered that the organization made over $10 million windfall on recovery efforts for the extinct Ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas. The article says that The Nature Conservancy almost got away with the scheme in 2004-2006 until “Florida Gulf Coast University ornithologist Jerome A. Jackson criticized the evidence put forth to support the conclusion that the Woodpecker wasn’t extinct after all — including a four-second video of an alleged sighting which garnered widespread media attention; several other anecdotal sightings; and acoustic signals purported to be vocalization and raps from the Woodpecker” in early 2006. Still, the Nature Conservancy reaped $10.2 million in federal taxpayer funds for the conservation project that were originally intended for a more meaningful purpose.

The event led at least one blogger to conclude “The Nature Conservancy is a Fraud”.

Certainly The Nature Conservancy has become an expert in converting our knee-jerk responses to preserve the environment into wealth for its own coffers. The Nature Conservancy collected over $1.3 billion in revenue in 2007 and spent only about ¼ of this on environmental programs. Until the public realizes the long pattern of corruption, scandal and social manipulation ingrained within The Nature Conservancy’s corporate management, we will continue to be duped by the organization’s “do good” outward appearance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

copycat uses The Nature Conservancy strategies to bilk taxpayers

Other so-called environmentlist are catching on to the financial tactics used by The Nature Conservancy to rake in some profits for themselves. Not surprisingly, The Nature Conservancy criticixes other who who the same land brad and development rechnigues that they pioneered wordwide into a multi-billion dollar fortune.

The Baltime Sun reports about a land deal completed a few years ago "Two years ago, the Horseys partnered with David Sutherland and his land-preservation company, the U.S. Land Alliance, to buy a property known as the Kudner farm in Grasonville for $20 million. Last year, U.S. Land Alliance sold a 271-acre piece of the farm to the state and Queen Anne's County for $5 million. The deal generated controversy because the price was higher than two state appraisals and because Sutherland, who used to work for a nonprofit land-conservation group, had served on Gov. Martin O-Malley's transition team. "

This deal has it all - overlapping management, insider deals, overinflated sales at taxpayer expense - all trademarks of The Nature Conservancy. But God forbid anyone else try the same - simply blast them on the destructive effects on the environment.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Nature Conservancy turns to Social Media to Spin Public Opinion

Faced with mounting criticism of its corporate policies, greedy financial operations, and declining use of outdoor recreational facilities, The Nature Conservancy has turned to a new media for gaining public support: social media. The Internet is a powerful tool for reaching young adults who embrace the concept of environmental conservation yet may have little experience in land management or municipal finance. This age group is likely to be more friendly toward The Nature Conservancy based on its environmental programs. These people are less likely to be aware that environmental programs are a minor portion of The Nature Conservancy’s overall operation that primarily generates its $1.3 billion annual revenue from land brokerage and deals with for-profit companies. Users of Web sites like Facebook, Digg and Stumbleupon are more likely to be impressed with the popular opinion of The Nature Conservancy among their peers and less affected by adverse opinions of the organization expressed in mainstream news media.

The efforts are paying off, according to an interview with marketer Jonathon Colman. The Nature Conservancy has become a leading expert in using the Internet’s social media to spin public opinion and market the world’s most powerful non-profit organization.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bake Sale for The Nature Conservancy

This past week U.S. newspapers reported a handful of fundraising efforts to benefit The Nature Conservancy, ranging from art exhibit with a dinner to a community bake sale. Clearly this is a win/win effort. The Nature Conservancy benefits from the positive media publicity and the particants benefit from the feeling of having done something worthwile to help preserve our natural environment. Yet the stated financial impact of these efforts is negibible. The Nature Conservancy is one of the largest and most profitable organizations in the world. with $1.3 billion in revenue in 2007. The Nature Conservancy's revenue is already three times more than it needed to fund all of its worldwide programs. Unlike many non-profit organizations, its revenues do not come primarily from donations, but rather primarily from profits on real estate transactions in selling land back to taxpayers at inflated prices. In fact, The Nature Conservancy is by far the largest and most profitable real estate broker in the the world.

If The Nature Conservancy does not need the revenues from a community bake sale, then why are such intensive efforts put into organizing and publicizing such charitable community events? The Nature Conservancy is well aware of the value of media attention and public opinion and employs an large staff of PR and marketing experts specifically to cultivate this favorable public image. It may cost them thousands of dollars in marketing to promote a community finction that raises a few hundred dollars, but the larger value to TNC is the positive pubic image that it wants to cultivate, however misleading it may be.

The well-intentioned people behind these local fundraising efforts are likely not aware of the financial operations of The Nature Conservancy. It is hard to believe that the public would make charitable efforts to support The Nature Conservancy is they were aware of the full scope of this $100+ billion money-making empire. If these local artists and bakers could see the larger picture, they may well feel that they have been "used" and duped by The Nature Conservancy. Certainly there are plenty of non-profit organizations in need and deserving of the community's financial support, but The Nature Conservancy is not one of them.

For more information, see the financial report of The Nature Conservancy published on its Web site at

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

TNC brokers most expensive debt for land deal

The Nature Conservancy served as a broker of a land deal between the United States and the Costa Rican government that is called the most expensive debt swap deal ever at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. The Costa Rica government owed a debt of $26 million to the U.S. that was forgiven in turn for a pledge to prevent development in the rain forest. While nobody argues that preserving the rain forest is a worthwhile goal and some people think this is a great idea (see

The kicker on this deal is that the U.S. taxpayers will also fund the conservation project managed by The Nature Conservancy for the next 16 years. No information was available on how much The Nature Conservancy earned on the brokerage transaction or how much their fees will be for the ongoing management of the project. The Nature Conservancy is the world’s richest non-profit organization due to its success in arranging these profitable deals at the expense of governments and ultimately its taxpayers.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

massive land purchases creates hostility

The Nature Conservancy has attracted billions of dollars of private money from wealthy people and World Bank environment cash to buy or lease national parks and tracts of land in poor countries around the world. The Nature Conservancy is then allowed to collect money for property use, employ police, build hotels and, in many cases, dictate how land inside the parks should be used, and even whether communities can live or hunt there. This causes hostility among the people who live there. Some foreign governments that eventually caught on to the long term effects of this type of massive land sale and denounce these actions as "eco-colonialism".


Wednesday, March 5, 2008 condemns The Nature Conservancy

The article at at is a well researched and well written indictment of The Nature Conservancy.

Monday, March 3, 2008

"How to Bilk Taxpayers 101"

The Nature Conservancy helps Florida municipal governments like Santa Rosa County bill taxpayers for $1.8 billion for over half a million acres in Florida. See the story at This is a dream come true for local government officials whose ambitious career dreams of domination are bounded only the petty coffers of their community budgets.

There is absolutely no doubt that The Nature Conservancy is the "go to guy" when it comes to preparing grant applications for public funds to acquire land. They have made billions of dollars in these deals and have the very best political resources that money can buy.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Nature Conservancy violates non-profit laws

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee investigated The Nature Conservancy for assisting trustees and insude managers to profit from land deals brokered by the nation's largest non-profit real estate organization. During the Senate investigation The Nature Conservancy's president admitted receiving a $1.5 million dollar mortgage at a minimal interest rate. Although this violation and other admissions clearly violated laws regarding non-profit organizations, The Nature Conservancy was allowed to continue operating with its non-profit status.

See a discussion of the investigation in this law firm's newsletter:

IRS fails to stop The Nature Conservancy

The IRS audited The Nature Conservancy following Congressional outrage to land deal schemes reported by the Washington Post in 2003, but the audit did not result in a repeal of the non-profit status of the TNC as many had expected. By late 2005, the powerful attorneys of The Nature Conservancy announced that the billions of profits on land deals would remain tax free. To this day, every dollar of profit in real estate brokerage and development made by The Nature Conservancy is exempt from tax simple because the stated purpose of the organization is tax exempt.

How it all begins

See the harmless article at that shows how it all begins. Who would suspect that The Nature Conservancy is positioning to aquire distressed land in Alberta, sell off the timber and drilling rights and then sell the back to public agencies at an inflated price. All in the name of conservation!

FOR SALE - Lodge in TN

FOR SALE - New Real Estate listing from The Nature Conservancy

Peaceful retreat in the heart of a 100-acre nature preserve. Property includes a 4,000-square-foot furnished lodge with five bedrooms, each with private bath; a two-bedroom partially renovated cabin; hiking trails; and a fishing pond. $239,900.

Surrounding farmland has already been sold by The Nature Conservancy to a commercial farmer. Previously the Dungannon Development Commission, a private management firm, handled the rental of the lodge but now a new provate owner is sought. See more information about the sale of Rikemo Lodge at

Some people continue to refuse to acknowledge that The Nature Conservancy is one of the world's largest and most powerful developers and real estate agents.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Staten Island CA land deal scandal

California Assemblyman Bill Maze is leading the charge to request that the U.S. Attorney’s office investigate a shady 9,200 acre land deal at Staten Island. The California state auditor found serious problems with the deal. The state auditors most recent report dated February 21, 2008 blasted the state agency that awards this type of grant is published at, following an investigation and previous report in 2007. The audit found problems with the appraisal that shifted the bill to taxpayers and created unreasonable profit for The Nature Conservancy.

Maze is also concerned as to why California taxpayers should pay the bloated price. "It is unclear to me why The Nature Conservancy, which has over $4 billion in assets and made over $1 billion in revenue last year worldwide, needed grants by the taxpayers of California to purchase the island”. The state legislature is learning the hard way and perhaps too late, that The Nature Conservancy is powerfully efficient at manipulating state-sponsored programs for its own benefit. See more at

Unfortunately, such sly maneuvers are standard tactics for The Nature Conservancy, as other municipal governments across the U.S. and around the world have learned the hard way for decades.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Why The Nature Conservancy opposes biofuel

Some people are finally catching on to the fact that biofuels are no ecological bargain because the carbon cost to produce the fuels is worse than the effect of burning the equivalent amount of petroleum. The Washington Post covered this topic today.

But why is The Nature Conservancy on the front line of publicity for this issue? It is because they are so deeply committed to protecting our environment, of course. Or maybe not.

There is an old investigation tool that all news reporters should know: When any organization pays for a research study and then pays to promote the result of that study, ask yourself why and follow the money trail.

Consider that the push toward biofuels is now making many thousands of acres in the U.S. and around the world FINANCIALLY VIABLE for their owners. The Nature Conservancy thrives on buying land at bargain prices from starving famers and landowners and has made hundreds of millions of dollars buying land from financially distressed sellers around the world. Cheap land and distressed sellers are their stock in trade. The demand for biofuels rasies prices of land acquisitions and threatens The Nature Conservancy's monsterous land acquisition and development enterprise.

The Nature Conservancy Burns Forests in Arkansas

Some ecologists think that controlled burning of forests is good thing. Some parents think that spanking kids is a good thing. Some people even think that weapons of mass destruction will be discovered before the troops pull out of Iraq. One thing for sure - on the forests issue, that is – is that controlled burns are good for growing commercial lumber. The Nature Conservancy makes tons of money selling timber on land it owns and it is no surprise they jump on the burning bandwagon. If some bird hunters say burning is ecologically good for their sport, so much better in the press releases. The Nature Conservancy burns their own land, state land, military bases, other people’s land - hell, they can’t be too discriminating if they are actually going to meet their goal of burning 16,000 to 18,000 acres in Arkansas again this year. Don’t believe it? See the news report at Arkansas reporters, are you really buying this?

Newcomb New York poised to be next victim

Despite years of criticism about the profits The Nature Conservancy makes selling land back to local municipalities, Newcomb New York is poised to become its next victim. Their newspaper at reports that town officials have already decided to buy land from The Nature Conservancy for development, even though the price is now yet known. The Newcomb supervisor says "It’s in the interest of the town to try to set aside as much private land for housing and whatever business or industry purposes". Really? Would the people he represents agree? Not likely unless they are builders or developers.

Hey Newcomb real estate agents, here's a tip on a sucker. They will commit to buy property without even discussing price!

Birth of The Nature Conservancy Scandal Blog

The phrase "wolf in sheep's clothing" could not be more appropriate. The Nature Conservancy is the richest environmental group in the world with over $3 billion in land and financial assets. The non-profit organization grew by pledging to save precious places but for years has been embroiled in one scandal after another that make most news reports of corporate or political corruption seem mild by comparison. The organization raked in hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars with strong-armed tactics at the expense of family farmers and municipal governments across the country. Yet many people, particularly young activists, are unaware of The Nature Conservancy's shady operations and continue to patronize The Nature Conservancy based on shiny press releases put out by the organization's expert public opinion marketing machine. There is simply not enough coverage of the damage this organization has done and continues to inflict in our country and across the globe.

This blog was born to expose the truth about a true public enemy.