Nature and Culture International

Protecting endangered ecosystems in partnership with local communities and governments throughout Latin America

aka Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional   |   DEL MAR, CA   |  www.natureandculture.org

Mission

Our mission is to conserve biologically diverse landscapes in Latin America, in concert with local cultures, for the well-being of the planet.

Ruling year info

1998

President and CEO

Matt Clark

Director of Programs and Strategy

Renzo Paladines

Main address

1400 Maiden Lane

DEL MAR, CA 92014 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

33-0773524

NTEE code info

Forest Conservation (C36)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We are in a race against time. Our planet’s most vulnerable communities and ecosystems are facing the extreme effects of climate change. Devastating habitat destruction, species extinction, and biodiversity loss threaten people, wildlife, and wild places every day. The Latin American eco-regions in which Nature and Culture focuses are home to 50% of the world’s species, the source of water for millions, major carbon sinks that mitigate global climate change, and the traditional territories of numerous indigenous groups whose cultures have evolved in tune with these special places. Until major governments finally take the lead, we must conserve these critical landscapes.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest – roughly the size of the continental United States. It is home to 10% of all species on the planet, and produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen. Around 400-500 indigenous tribes call the Amazon rainforest home, and about 50 of these have never had contact with the outside world.

We are working with governments and communities in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon to protect these vital forests for the benefit of the entire planet.

Population(s) Served
People of Latin American descent
Indigenous peoples

The Andes Mountains contain some of the greatest levels of biodiversity on Earth due to the extraordinary number of species found in its cloud forests and high altitude ecosystems. Many of these species are endemic – found nowhere else in the world – making this one of the world’s number one priorities for biodiversity conservation.

However, the Andes’ vital ecosystems are threatened by unsustainable practices that provide poor economic returns. One major threat is the destruction of forests for cattle grazing, after which the soil is depleted. Recently, these forests have become increasingly threatened by logging and today, just 5% to 25% of the original forest cover remains in most areas.

We are protecting the vanishing cloud forests of the Andes, known as a global biodiversity hotspot, by partnering with local communities and governments in central Ecuador to conserve these precious forests.

Population(s) Served
People of Latin American descent
Indigenous peoples

Nature and Culture protects a number of tropical deciduous forests - an endangered ecosystem with heavy rainfall for part of the year followed by a marked dry season. Our Alamos reserve in Mexico protects the northernmost tropical deciduous forests in North America, of which only 15% remains. This area supports the highest diversity of birds in Sonora, five species of wild cats including the jaguar, puma and ocelot, and 79 species of amphibians and reptiles. We also are working to conserve the Tumbesian dry forest in southwestern Ecuador and northern Peru that is home to sixty endangered bird species and many endemic plant and animal species.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People of Latin American descent

Páramo grasslands are high-altitude ecosystems situated above the timberline but below the permanent snow line. Their vegetation is composed mainly of grasses, shrubs, and giant rosette plants. Recently, we have seen a surge in interest by municipal governments to protect these landscapes, which are often threatened by unsustainable agriculture, in order to secure a clean water supply for their people.

Population(s) Served
People of Latin American descent

Where we work

Awards

Best in America - certified by the Independent Charities of America 2008

Combined Federal Campaign

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Acres of land that gain formal protection status

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Newly protected acres per year within private, communal, or government reserves. We not only achieve these new protections, but ensure long-term sustainable management of each existing protected area.

Total number of acres placed under legal protection.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of acres legally protected by private, communal, or government reserves.

Number of people receiving safe drinking water from community systems

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of people with newly protected water supplies based on the acreage we protected this year.

Number of new protected areas declared

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of existing protected areas managed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of carbon emissions prevented (estimated by CO2 equivalent)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of members from priority population attending training

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Relevant trainings include environmental education workshops, fishery management workshops, reserve guard patrol and monitoring workshops, etc.

Number of active water funds

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We and our donors dream of creating vast protected areas in the heart of the planet’s greatest natural and cultural diversity.

We believe conservation success is defined by helping nature thrive so the people who depend on it can too. It means a forest where the towering trunks of old-growth trees remain so that jaguars can still walk the ground at dawn. It means communities where children no longer get sick after a strong rain because they have protected one of their most precious assets: water. It means a place where our own children can find joy in the living forms that will still endure.

To accomplish this, Nature and Culture International is concentrating our efforts in 13 large-scale eco-regional landscapes, or what we call mosaics. We aim to safeguard at least 50% of the land area of each mosaic, collectively covering about 30 million acres of wild places – including some of the largest carbon reserves and the most species-rich ecosystems in the world.

These mosaics connect protected areas which are vital for the survival of nature and all that it provides us with – clean water, food, medicine, and a stable climate. However, designating a protected area is not enough. To thrive, it needs oversight, planning, and funding, which we monitor as Vital Signs.

Our goal is that each large-scale mosaic meets the following criteria:
1. Is officially recognized by the State or an international entity.
2. Contains conservation areas which all have a clear and recognized legal status by the State.
3. Has sound governance mechanisms and natural resource plans to ensure that public, community, Indigenous, and private entities are responsible for the management of its conservation areas.
4. Has a detailed multi-year action plan to guarantee the good state of conservation of the mosaic’s reserve areas.
5. Has a financial mechanism, such as a water fund program, which guarantees economic resources for the conservation and management of the mosaic’s protected areas.
6. Has a monitoring and control mechanism which tracks the conservation status of natural ecosystems and assesses the effectiveness of conservation measures being implemented in the mosaic.

Our methods are simple: Build trusting relationships so that we can work hand-in-hand with local Indigenous groups, community organizations, and governments from the village to the national level to develop strategies to conserve their surrounding ecosystems.

When Nature and Culture contemplates a new protected area, we think through its whole life cycle: from legal creation to financing to governance and long-term management with local community associations. We build our presence for the long term to implement large-scale initiatives that integrate conservation into the framework of each country in which we work.

These bottom-up strategies result in conservation programs that work for the long term. Since our founding, Nature and Culture has not had a single protected area reversed.

Nature and Culture has also contributed to building new strategies, most notably municipal water funds, which utilize a fee for usage model that is dedicated to conservation. The fee, applied to water bills, is used for watershed protection and reforestation activities that in turn provide meaningful benefits to local populations. In Ecuador, these efforts are now helping to launch new “water protection areas” to integrate large watersheds of public interest into the National System of Protected Areas.

Nature and Culture International has always taken a holistic approach to our work. It’s embodied in our very name - nature and culture - two co-equal parts so intertwined as to always be mentioned in the same breath.

Our drive to conserve lands, with the support of the local people, has proven highly successful. Indigenous peoples are the best stewards of their ancestral lands. We employ our unique expertise in GIS mapping, legal, and government approval work to offer support to strengthen land tenure, establish community conservation areas, preserve native cultures, and generate income sustainably. Because our staff members live in the places they protect, they are able to build strong relationships within their communities to better understand and protect the surrounding ecosystems.

Along with our effective strategies, part of our success has been the values that have driven our organization, among staff and Board alike. We strongly believe that we are most successful when we strive to embody the following six values in all our programs:


Locally Driven — Our programs emerge from envisioning with local people how they and their grandchildren can continue to be linked to lands that provide fresh water, clean air, cultural touchstones, and sustainable livelihoods for themselves and the planet.


Funds to the Field — We spend our donors’ money where it can be used most efficiently to pursue our mission. We maintain a small international team to provide administrative and fundraising support to the national and local offices that make the magic happen.


Commitment — We are passionate about the places we work and the people we work with. Our programs are designed for the medium and long term to allow for course corrections and to invest in the relationships that are critical for lasting conservation outcomes.


Agile, Innovative, and Entrepreneurial — Given the challenges we face, we must continually develop new effective responses that help others recognize and reap the value of protecting their lands, waters, and cultures.


Inclusive — We reach out to diverse communities and cultures in our programs and strive to ensure that our staff reflect this diversity as well.


Adapt and Share — Our time is fraught with change, so we must continually reflect on our work, learn from our successes and mistakes, adapt our programs, and share our most successful strategies.

Since 1996, our dedicated community of staff, Board members, donors, and numerous partners — rural and Indigenous peoples, local governments, and community and fellow nonprofit organizations – have saved over 22 million acres of endangered ecosystems in Latin America. As we look to the future, we will continue to strengthen the Vital Signs in each of our mosaics and to look for smart ways to put the pieces together to protect even larger landscapes.


That’s why we are…

1. Creating the framework for an Andean Corridor, stretching almost 3.3 million acres, from the Andes of central Ecuador to northern Peru that will be managed as connected habitat within a single mountain ecosystem. Located in the Tropical Andes, this project will protect one of the most biologically diverse places on our planet, which safeguards about one-sixth of all plant life in the world and contains the largest variety of amphibian, bird, and mammal species. It includes the Andes’ eastern slope, which is considered the world’s number one biodiversity hotspot due to its species richness and diversity. Its ecosystems regulate the natural cycles that produce and renew the planet’s air, water, and climate.

2. Supporting an Amazonian Platform to coordinate the sustainable management of three massive provincial protected areas of lowland Amazon rainforest in southeastern Ecuador. This project will bring local governments and Indigenous nationalities together to create 11 million acres of continuous, protected forest in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

3. Safeguarding key water resources for Indigenous and local communities by creating national Water Protection Areas which are sustainably managed by implementing a financial “trust” mechanism. In some regions, the communities pay into a fund to access the clean water supplies and this fund pays for the protection and conservation of the water protection area. The trust fund mechanism provides a financial incentive and ensures that the local people are able to support themselves and their communities while protecting their water sources from mining.

The challenge will be to scale up without losing our local roots, which is why our community partnerships are so important.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Radio communications,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback,

Financials

Nature and Culture International
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Nature and Culture International

Board of directors
as of 3/3/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Sue Hart


Board co-chair

Sheldon Engelhorn

Ann Hunter-Welborn

Sheldon Engelhorn

Charles Smith

Ivan Gayler

Susan Hart

Marcia Angle

Adriana Casas

Annie Dunne

John Evey

Daniela Uribe

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/21/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data