International League of Conservation Writers

Writing to inspire the love of nature and a passion for its protection

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Wilderness in America

The Iternational League of Conservation Writers is a forum to bring writers together from around the world who are writing to promote wilderness, nature, conservation, or using other means to protect and restore the natural areas, habitats, animals, and plants of our planet. ILCW will present periodic writing awards to authors who excel in this field.

ILCW Members Are Eligible to Use  David R. Brower Office for Conservation Writing
Come write, do research, and be near wild and
protected areas in Colorado while working in the
David R. Brower Office of Conservation Writing.

Sit at the same desk used by Dave Brower.
There is no cost for ILCW members to use the office. 
For information click  here.

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we aredoing to ourselves and to one another.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi


New Anthology
2047: Short Stories from Our Common Future

Kimberly Christensen, ILCW member (USA), has a story in a new anthology about life thirty years from now. 2047: Short Stories from Our Common Future, edited by Tanja Rohini Bisgaard, is a short-fiction anthology of ten international authors, giving their perspectives regarding how we might—or might not—adapt to the changes around us in the year 2047. Kimberly’s story Still Waters, takes place after the extinction of the J-pod orcas, genetically-distinct marine icons that roamed the waters of the Puget Sound, and how Pythia and her wife Janie who struggle to make sense of a world filled with loss and grief. For Janie, the loss threatens to drown her in the still waters of despair. Pythia must confront her own response to their extinction, and find her way through the uncharted territory of environmental loss in a changing world. For more information about the anthology, click here.

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Trophy Hunting May Drive Extinctions
In a National Geographic article by Stephen Leahy (ILCW member, Canada), he makes the point that trophy hunting may drive extinctions as the genetically superior animals are desired by hunters for their physical robustness and the size of their horns. But in taking the herd’s genetically superior members the lesser robust males are left to sire the future progeny and may not pass on the genetic vigor needed to tough out the challenges of climate change. To read the article, click here.

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Keep Bikes Out of Wilderness
133 Conservation Groups from across America have asked Congress to block attempts to amend the Wilderness Act to allow for the use of mountain bikes in designated Wilderness Areas. For more information, read here.

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Proposed Dams May Damage Serengeti Ecosystem
The River Mara is the only permanent source of water for herds of wildlife that migrate between Kenya and Tanzania. Currently Kenya is proposing several dams on the River Mara and its tributaries that would lead to reduced water flows possibly imperiling the lives of many of the animals of the Serengeti in Tanzania. For more information, click here.

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Mission LifeForce: Criminalizing Ecocide
Mission LifeForce is a growing international movement of Earth Protectors based on a legal document, the Earth Protectors Trust Fund document.  It is like a crowdfund, a petition and a legal Trust all rolled into one, and it's extremely powerful.  In fact, it's the missing piece - making climate and ecological justice possible where nothing else has. For more information, click here.

Mexico Creates Largest N. Am. Ocean Reserve
The Guardian reports Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto decreed a protection zone around the Revillagigedo Islands (242 miles / 390 km) southwest of the Baja California peninsula. The protection will ban fishing, mining and the construction of new hotels on the islands.
For more information and to view a short film of these spectacular islands, click here.

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WWF Names New International Board President
World Wildlife Fund has named Pavan Sukhdev as the new president of the WWF International Board. Mr. Sukhdev served as special advisor and head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative from 2008 to 2011.
For more information click here.

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Blood Lions® partners with
Blood Lions, the organization that is shedding light on the canned hunting and predator breeding industry in South Africa, is partnering with, a crowdfunding philanthropy platform. “Through these online channels we have been able to highlight and expose all the issues around the predator breeding and canned hunting industries in a manner that has been vital for decision-makers in the public and government arenas worldwide,” said Nicola Gerrard, Blood Lions® Digital Media Manager. “One challenge that we continue to face is on the awareness front around animal interactions. Volunteers and tourists continue to feel that their personal interactions at these cub petting and breeding facilities is somehow different and not, in fact, exploitative and commercial in nature. To have join the campaign is another major boost to ensure these messages are driven hard. The public, our networks and partners continue to play a key role in exposing the truth behind cub petting, predator breeding and canned hunting." For more information click here.

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Wolves Return to Rome
In September wolves were spotted living near Rome, the first time in nearly 100 years. It’s ironic because the city’s namesake Romulus and Remus, his twin brother, were suckled by a she-wolf who saved them from starvation. Killing wolves in Italy was encouraged until 1971 when they were given protective status. It is believed that the wolves are feasting on wild boars that currently roam the countryside in large numbers.
Source: European Wilderness Society

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NPS report: water bottle sales ban had ‘significant’ benefits

From The Hill
An internal National Park Service (NPS) staff report concluded that an Obama administration effort to ban sales of bottled water at some parks had “significant environmental benefits.” The report was released more than a month after the NPS rescinded the policy, which had been opposed by the bottled water industry and some Republicans.

In the report prepared in May, NPS staff estimated that on an annual basis, at least 1.32 million disposable plastic water bottles, and up to 2.01 million, were not purchased due to the 2011 policy. That saved up to 111,743 pounds of plastic, 141 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases and 3.4 billion British thermal units of energy, the NPS report estimated, based on the 23 Park Service units that submitted data.
The results demonstrate “the program has significant positive environmental benefits that encompass the entire life cycle” of disposable bottles, and that officials at the parks themselves support the program, the report said. In a preface to the 16-page report, the agency distanced itself from the conclusions, saying it was prepared to help leaders understand the policy and it “lacked the data necessary to ensure the report’s findings.”
Nonetheless, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) used the report to call forthe NPS to reinstate Obama’s policy.

Corporate Accountability International used the report to criticize the bottled water industry’s advocacy. “The bottled water industry has led a years-long campaign against this commonsense policy, all to protect its bottom line. The fact that Trump administration officials knew the benefits of this policy back in May but still decided to rescind it last month, sure looks to me like the bottled water industry’s lobbying dollars at work,” Lauren DeRusha Florez, associate campaign director with the group, said in a statement.

“While we will continue to encourage the use of free water bottle filling stations as appropriate, ultimately it should be up to our visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated during a visit to a national park, particularly during hot summer visitation periods,” Acting NPS Director Michael Reynolds said. Click here to see original.
Source: No Water No Life Weekly Drop newsletter

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Nature: one of the most under-appreciated tools for reigning in carbon
A new study shows that better global land stewardship—conserving and restoring wild habitats and practicing more sustainable farming—could get us more than one-third of the way to the Paris climate mitigation targets. Nature may not be the most sexy tool in the shed, but it has tremendous power to move the climate change needle. In principle, the authors say, natural climate solutions could remove 23.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere each year. Read more.
Source: No Water No Life Weekly Drop Newsletter

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Mali Elephant Project wins 2017 Equator Prize
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and partners have recognized the Mali Elephant Project, and 14 other local and indigenous communities from Africa, Asia, and Latin America as winners of this year’s Equator Prize. The winners have used innovative solutions for tackling poverty, environment, and climate challenges.

In a drought-prone zone rife with resource conflicts and violent extremism, the Mali Elephant Project brings together various ethnic groups to effectively manage local resources and protect an internationally important population of 350 endangered African elephants. Through the formation of community-based natural resource management committees, the provision of additional income through support for women’s groups engaged in sustainable harvest of non-timber forest products, and anti-poaching measures involving 'eco-guardian' youth community members, the initiative has reduced poaching of elephants in the 32,000 km² area, improved social cohesion between different local communities, and contributed to peace-building efforts by providing alternatives to joining extremist groups. Communities have created rules for local use of natural resources, set aside forests for elephant use, formed pasture reserves, and designated seasonal water sources to be shared by people, livestock, and elephants.

The Mali Elephant Project is empowering local people to stand up to international poaching networks and protect one of the last of just two remaining desert elephant herds. 

  • Elephants are safer when local communities are empowered to maintain balance with nature
  • The Mali Elephant Project helps communities improve their natural resources and prospects for the future
  • Young men earn prestige and honor as they protect the herd.

Llearn more about the Mali Elephant Project
Listen to Dr. Susan Canney, Project Leader of the Mali Elephant Project and ILCW member (UK), talk about how they noticed the elephants plight and together with the surrounding communities have worked to keep the elephants safe from poachers and human encroachment.

For a list of all 15 Equator Prize winners for 2017

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Study Shows Youth Need Educated in Water Use

No Water No Life has compiled the data from their 2016 survey that tested the awareness of where those in the U.S. get their water. The findings were startling where 28% of the under-18-year-olds admit to wasteful water use and 71% of this same group believed they would have enough water even in times of drought. To read the entire article click here.

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New film about Thoreau’s “Walden” from Ken Burns

A beautiful film about Henry David Thoreau's book "Walden" produced by Ken Burns with many familiar faces and voices. See it in full now (about 22 min).
Thanks to the Walden Woods Project.

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 The Hudson: A River at Risk -- Upcoming Screenings
Jon Bowermaster, ILCW member (USA) and filmmaker has set up a series of screenings about the Hudson River and the environmental dangers it encounters. To see if there is a screening near you (or to schedule one) click here.To see the film trailer click here.

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February 16-28, 2018

Serengeti Photo Safari: Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti Migration
Boyd Norton, ILCW member and winner of the Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography, is leading his 31st photo tour to Tanzania. You will see the Ngorongoro Crater, as well as the stunning Serengeti Animal Migration at its peak. Special for this tour: a presentation from the director of the Serengeti Preservation Foundation about the many projects underway and the current threats to this wonderful ecosystem. For more information, and to view the itinerary. click here.

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 April 21-May 2, 2018

Weaving Words and Women: A 12-day Peruvian Adventure
ILCW member Page Lambert will take adventurous women to the high Andes of Peru next April. There will be writing, markets, incredible food, horseback riding opportunities, Inca ruins, and more. For details, click here.

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25-28 October 2018

Wildlife Film Festival, Rotterdam









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Featured Video

Working Together to Solve Big Problems

More than 40 years ago, during South Africa's bleak and racist apartheid era, two men joined forces to bring the white rhino back from the brink of extinction. These men, a white and black South African, Ian Player and Magqubu Ntombela, went on to found the WILD Foundation to foster international collaboration for the protection of nature and the defense of our wild planet. WILD continues the legacy of its founders, embracing ambitious new solutions that achieve on-the-ground results for wilderness and the natural processes that serve all life. Solutions that include you. Join the movement to defend wild nature!

Previous Featured Videos

Member Writing

Campaign to End Poisoning of Oceans
By Carolyne Tomno (ILCW member, Kenya)

A major campaign to end the dumping of waste in our oceans is underway. For too long the ocean has been treated as bottomless dumping ground for plastic, sewage and other waste.

Chile, Oman, Sri Lanka and South Africa have joined UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign against marine litter and ocean pollution, announcing measures including plastic bag bans, new marine reserves and drives to increase recycling. The four countries announced their support during the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.

The head of the UN Environment Erik Solheim has hailed the countries for supporting clean seas. He says the countries are showing the leadership needed in order to end this abuse, and protect the marine resources on which millions depend on for their livelihoods.

The Minister of Environment for Sri Lanka, Anura Dissanayake, says the country, is taking bold action to turn the tide on plastics. We have banned plastic bags and are now working to reduce the number of plastic bottles in the country. We want to be a green and blue beacon of hope in Asia and do everything we can to keep the seas clean.

South Africa will step up its beach cleanup program and prioritize action on tyres, electronic waste, lighting and paper and packaging. This includes extended producer responsibility for plastic packaging.

Nearly 40 countries from Kenya to Canada and Indonesia to Brazil have joined the #CleanSeas campaign, which aims to counter the torrents of plastic trash that are degrading our oceans and endangering the life they sustain. The countries account for more than half of the world’s coastline.

Legislation to press companies and citizens to change their wasteful habits is often part of broader government strategies to foster responsible production and consumption – a key step in the global shift toward sustainable development.

Humans have already dumped billions of tonnes of plastic, and we are adding it to the ocean at a rate of 8 million tonnes a year. As well as endangering fish, birds and other creatures who mistake it for food or become entangled in it, plastic waste has also entered the human food chain with health consequences that are not yet fully understood. It also harms tourist destinations and provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying diseases including dengue and Zika.

The #CleanSeas campaign aims to “turn the tide on plastic” by inspiring action from Governments, businesses and individuals on ocean pollution.

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Midnight at the oasis

By Rebecca Lawton ILCW member (USA)

Once oases supported human evolution. Now, our addiction to fountains, pools and palms threatens our survival

Seen from the air, the single verdant parcel of land with its straight borders and sharp edges resembles a green postage stamp pasted on a great expanse of manila envelope. Inside the boundary, a screen of trees hides a palatial estate, acres of emerald turf, a paved circular driveway, and an extensive array of tumbling, marble fountains. Outside the rectangle, a hot, rock-strewn fan of tan alluvium extends unvegetated and unwatered for half a kilometre to another such parcel, then another, then another. Toward the city centre eight kilometres away, residences cluster closer together but emulate the lush feel of the outlying estates with their surfeit of palm trees, water features and improbably green turf.


Rebecca Lawton is a fluvial geologist and former river guide who writes about water in the West. Her latest book is Steelies and Other Endangered Species: Stories on Water (2014). She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Book Reviews

Mexicanos por naturaleza (Mexicans by nature)
By Carlos Galindo-Leal
Hardcover, 206 pages
Editorial Paralelo 21 and Mexican Ministry of Culture 
Size: 28.2 cm x 22.2 cm x 2 cm

As the popular saying goes, "If you don´t know an animal, don´t touch its ears".
This book is a great opportunity to get to know Mexican biodiversity: bacteria, fungi, plants and animals all part of our natural richness which continues to amaze us. It is a trip to the heart of our natural heritage, written by one of the most prestigious scientists and science communicator of Mexico: Dr. Carlos Galindo-Leal, Director of Science Communication at the National Biodiversity Commission.

The book includes 36 independent chapters, from bacteria to whales, focused on selected groups (orders, families) of fungi, plants and animals. The table of contents is designed as a phylogenetic tree. In every chapter, taxonomic, ecological and cultural information on the group is described, particularly with relation to Mexico. Two chapters describe the main evolutionary steps that distinguish the major plant groups and animal groups. The final chapter closes with our ever present relation with nature.  Mexicanos por naturaleza is beautifully designed using photos and old scientific illustrations. 

"My conclusion is that this is a very special book for several reasons: first, although it is written by a biologist specialized in the ecology of mammals, he has made a monographic treatment of the groups of organisms (both plants and animals) included in the book; for those who work in the area of biology, this is more a practice of taxonomists than ecologists. Second, there is a fortunate mix of two obsessions of Dr. Galindo: to always include common names of the species of which he is writing about, and second, to use as many Mexican popular sayings, as possible, even if is not obvious how they relate. These two aspects, plus the writing style of Carlos, makes the readers interested in his narration, and specially makes them understand their content. If a growing number of Mexican citizens of all ages are inspired by the narrative and visual design of this book, Carlos Galindo will have reached his central objective: to attract and educate Mexican society to be knowledgeable of the nature of this privileged country."
 --Dr. José Sarukhán, Tyler Price 2017  

Dr. Carlos Galindo Leal will be speaking about his book at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, Sunday, November 26.

For more information about this book click here.

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Bernard Quetchenbach
Accidental Gravity
Residents, Travelers, and the Landscape of Memory
2017, Oregon State University Press
Paperback, 248 page

The compelling essays in Bernard Quetchenbach’s Accidental Gravity move from upstate New York to the western United States, from urban and suburban places to wild lands. In the first section of the book, he focuses on suburban neighborhoods, where residents respond ambivalently to golf-course geese and other unruly natural presences; in the second section, he juxtaposes these humanized places with Yellowstone National Park. Quetchenbach writes about current environmental issues in the Greater Yellowstone area—wildfire, invasive species, ever-increasing numbers of tourists—in the context of climate change and other contemporary pressures.

Accidental Gravity negotiates the difficult edge between a naive belief in an enduring, unassailable natural world and the equally naive belief that human life takes place in some unnatural, more mediated context. The title refers to the accidental but nonetheless meaningful nexus where the personal meets and combines with the universal—those serendipitous moments when the individual life connects to the larger rhythms of time and planet.

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Daniel Hudon
Brief Eulogies for Lost Animals: An Extinction Reader
2017, Pen & Anvil Press
Paperback, 138 pages

In this collection of one hundred brief eulogies, science writer and poet Daniel Hudon gives a literary voice to the losses stacking up in our present-day age of extinction. Natural history, poetic prose, reportage, and eulogy blend to form a tally of degraded habitats, and empty burrows, and of the songs of birds never to be heard again. Since the year 1500, nine hundred species have become extinct, yet their stories are not being told. This loss is a crisis in human values as our relatives on the tree of life are disappearing under our watch and because of our actions. There are no historical parallels here. Aldo Leopold said, “For one species to mourn another is a new thing under the sun.” In terse yet evocative writing, one hundred extinct animals from around the world are brought to life, from the freshwater mussels of Appalachia to the shrub frogs of Sri Lanka, and from the honeycreepers of Hawaii to the hopping mice of Australia, bringing the enormity of the present biodiversity crisis within our grasp. These animals deserve to be remembered, and with this book we can not only remember and mourn them, but honor them as well.

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Calls for Work and Retreats

Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment is accepting all forms of place-based creative nonfiction (personal essays, research nonfiction, lyric writing, postcards, montage & mosaic, epistolary essays, reportage, memoir, and more) for its annual Notes From the Field writing competition. Deadline is December 31, 2017 and full guidelines are here.
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In Layman's Terms, an online journal "...dedicated to encouraging a new appreciation of science, technology, and the natural world for the average person..." is looking for poetry and creative nonfiction that showcases Innovation, including ingenious designs, technology, structures, or other inventive solutions to problems, whether made by humans or found in nature. Deadline January 7, 2018 and full guidelines are here.
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The Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers grants one $5,000 award annually for literary or creative nonfiction (no fiction or poetry) that  "...combines an engaging individual voice, literary sensibility, imagination and intellectual rigor to bring new perspectives and deeper meaning to the body of desert literature..." Deadline is January 15, 2018, and full guidelines are here.
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Everything Change Climate Fiction Contest 2018 is looking for science-informed short stories (all genres including speculative, realistic, literary, experimental, hybrid forms, and more) that illustrate, explore, or illuminate the impact of climate change on humanity and/or the Earth. One winner ($1,000 prize) and nine finalists ($50 each) will be published in an online anthology. Deadline is February 28, 2018, and full guidelines are here.

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Tallgrass Writers Guild and Outrider Press is seeking poetry and prose for their 2018 anthology focused on "the stars, "  whether "...Astronomy, celebrities and fame, constellations and myths, celestial navigation, fighters 'seeing stars' and more..."  Deadline is March 31, 2018, and full guidelines are here.

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Alluvian accepts creative nonfiction, science journalism and science narratives, cartoons and art, and/or narrative analysis of data related to sustainability, climate change, the environmental sciences, the human engagement with nature, or other topics about the environment. Authors must be an undergraduate or have graduated with an undergraduate degree within the last 18 months.

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The Fourth River has launched Tributaries, a weekly, online publication of "...the brief and the inspiring, that which sustains and takes us through unexpected courses..." Nature or placed based short prose (500 words ), one poem, or one piece of visual art can be submitted here.  Each week we will feature a new piece on the front page of web site.

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Thank you to Adrienne Ross Scanlan (ILCW member, USA) for the “Calls for Works and Retreats” information. To subscribe to her newsletter, click here.

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ILCW now on Facebook 
ILCW members, please check out the ILCW Facebook page and add content.

Tell us what you are working on, what changes you see in the area of conservation (good and bad) in your area, include news from you: have you recently won any awards or accolades? Have you recently published a new book or article or perhaps finished a piece of art, performance piece, photo that glorifies the natural world? This page is for you, please enjoy and generate interest in ILCW and what we do.

ILCW facebook

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 Looking for Creative People Who Appreciate Nature Do you have a friend or a colleague who is passionate about Nature and believes that we should protect what we have for future generations? ILCW welcomes all creative people (not just writers) who use their talent to bring awareness to the plight of our natural world. Have them apply to be an ILCW member at

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Do you have news?

Let us know if you have won an award, written a new book, or launched a creative endeavor to bring awareness to conservation. Chances are the ILCW membership is not aware of these things, so be sure and tell us. Send items

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