Auto-mobile manufacturer company, Volkswagen, have teamed up with The Conservation Fund to protect and preserve over 1,500 acres of land in the United States, in a hope to help conserve both nature and wildlife. This is part of an ongoing initiative to protect and restore forestland in the Unites States. The areas of land which will be protected are located within the Cherokee National Forest, in Polk, Cocke and Monroe counties, as well as around the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant in Tennessee. With combined efforts, the teams at both Volkswagen and The Conversation Fund hope to help preserve wildlife habitats, improve water quality, provide additional recreational access and environmental education for the wider community.
This will benefit both the wildlife that resides there as well as being beneficial for local communities, providing more access to more green spaces and nature. There are many potential benefits to spending more time in nature, several studies have suggested. Mental health organisation, mentalhealth.org has reported findings that support this claim, stating that research has shown us how nature can generate a ‘multitude of positive emotions’. These emotions can range from calmness, joy to creativity and also help to improve concentration levels.
The conserved areas of lands that are located in Monroe, Cocke and Pol counties are now open for public use, allowing people to get involved in activities such as wildlife viewing and fishing, as well as other recreational activities. Each conservation site will protect a variety of ecologically important systems, including a critical habitat, the Conasagua River. This river is home to several endangered muscle and fish species, therefore its conservation will be largely beneficial for the wildlife living there. It will also help to protect other animals, such as the black bear, as the added protections will allow many species to thrive undisturbed in their natural habitat.
Overall Volkswagen donated a generous amount of $1.25 million to The Conservation Fund, with a portion facilitating the protection of the large proportions of land, whilst the other proportion was given to five charitable organisations.
“Forests are one of the most important life-sustaining systems on the planet because they play an integral role in cleaning the air we breathe and water we drink, absorbing harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and offering natural habitat for wildlife to thrive as well as opportunities for people to explore the outdoors,” said Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund.