Wildsouth inspires people to enjoy, value and protect the wild character and natural legacy of the South. They value the natural world and its role in our human communities, science-based advocacy, transparency and operating with integrity, a diversity of opinions and creative problem solving in decision-making, and a respectful worldview.
Wildsouth’s priority areas include:
For us, it all comes back to protecting public lands. Part of that work involves policy. We watchdog the agencies in charge of public lands and we call for sound management decisions. We advocate for restoring wild, natural habitats and against destructive uses, like industrial logging, fracking, and drilling. We also do hands-on stewardship. We organize volunteers to support the Forest Service through boots-on-the-ground activities—from pulling invasive species to serving as volunteer rangers. Each year, Wild South volunteers give over 4,000 hours to protect and restore our national forests.
Our wild habitats are home to extraordinary creatures—from the giant hellbender salamander to the bizarre star-nosed mole. Wild South protects the incredible biodiversity of our region through research, education, and advocacy. We support field research to advance conservation science. We provide wilderness education to over 3,000 kids each year. We increase people’s appreciation of wildlife in many ways—from outings in the wilderness to contests on social media. We also advocate for legal protection for wildlife that needs it. We’ve helped to secure protection for over 50 threatened or endangered species.
We want the strongest protection we can get for extraordinary wild places. That’s Wilderness Area designation—permanently setting aside wild places where there can be no development, no machinery, and no roads. Wilderness areas offer people an unspoiled natural refuge—making them some of our most popular public lands. Wild South is working to create new wilderness areas in the South and to take care of the ones we’ve got. We work with diverse partners to identify the best places for new wilderness areas. Then we rally the public to support them. We also send volunteers into wilderness areas as volunteer rangers.
When we protect natural landscapes, we strengthen our connection to the people who lived here before us. Wild South has partnered with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee to explore and communicate their history in the Southern Appalachians—including an online interactive map documenting over 500 miles of historic Cherokee trails. Wild South has also worked with the National Park Service to map 200 miles of Trail of Tears routes. We study cultural history alongside conservation science. And we embrace cultural values—like good stewardship and a deep connection with nature—as we advocate for wild places and wild life.
The public should have a say in public lands—makes sense, right? Wild South helps keep the public engaged by tracking the agencies that manage our public lands and alerting people when it’s time for input or action. Like when there’s an opportunity for new wilderness areas or enhanced restoration. Or when there’s a threat of industrial logging, fracking, or drilling. We communicate with a network of over 15,000 people, through email and social media. We provide online advocacy tools that link citizens with decision-makers. And we raise the profile of public lands issues through active media outreach.