The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental organization, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, United States. As of 2021 it works via affiliates or branches in 79 countries and territories, as well as across every state in the US.
Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy has over one million members globally as of 2021, and has protected more than 119,000,000 acres of land and thousands of miles of rivers worldwide.[when?][where?] As of 2014, it is the largest environmental non-profit organization by assets and revenue in the Americas.
The Nature Conservancy developed out of a scholarly organization initially known as the Ecological Society of America. The ESA was founded in 1915, and later formed a Committee on Preservation of Natural Areas for Ecological Study, headed by Victor Shelford. The primary aim of Shelford was to find areas of land that would be beneficial for long-term research. By the 1930s, Shelford and his colleagues such as Aldo Leopold increasingly sought to advocate for conservation. The divide in viewpoints regarding scholarship or advocacy led the Society to dissolve the committee and in 1946, Shelford and his colleagues formed the Ecologists' Union. The latter group eventually took the name "The Nature Conservancy", in emulation of the British agency of that name, which pursued a mission of conserving open space and wildlife preserves. The Nature Conservancy was incorporated in the United States as a non-profit organization on October 22, 1951.
Highest paying job titles at The Nature Conservancy include Associate Scientist, Development Director, and Employee Relations Manager