Partner Spotlight: The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy Sheds Light on a Farm’s Climate Footprint

The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive. Founded in the U.S. through grassroots action in 1951, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has grown to become one of the most wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than a million members and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff and over 400 scientists, we impact conservation in 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct, on-the-ground conservation and 39 through partners.

In Illinois, over 60 TNC staff work across the state towards our 2030 goals to protect biodiversity and tackle climate change. TNC Illinois’ Ag, Science, and Policy teams work collaboratively with ag stakeholders across the state to implement soil health and conservation drainage systems. With roots in the Mackinaw River Watershed, TNC has been promoting ag practices that protect water quality since the early 2000s!

TNC-Illinois was one of the 7 founding members of the Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership in 2017. TNC brought critical funding and capacity to implement ISAP’s first Advanced Soil Health and Conservation Drainage Trainings. Today, TNC staff serve on ISAP’s Education & Science committees.

Megan Baskerville, The Nature Conservancy’s Illinois Director of Agriculture, with ISAP partners on site at a constructed wetland installation (second from right).


This summer, TNC worked with fellow ISAP member American Farmland Trust, along with Wisconsin Land & Water and the Wisconsin Department of Ag and Consumer Trade Protection (WI-DACTP) to create a resource to assist farmers and landowners in understanding their farm’s climate footprint. This succinct handout details the types of emissions typically found on midwestern row crop farms and possible pathways to reduce those emissions. This resource underscores how sustainability on the farm connects to the Paris Agreement, the global accord that seeks to avoid the worst effects of climate change by cutting global CO2 emissions 45% by 2030.

In 2021, TNC also led the development of IL’s Climate Assessment, a first of its kind, state-wide assessment to explain the most up-to-date information on how climate change is expected to affect Illinois. TNC’s Karen Petersen, IL’s Climate and Energy Program Manager, and Dr. Maria Lemke, IL’s Director of Science, played active roles in bringing together more than 40 scientists and technical experts from across the state to show how human health, agriculture, water supplies, and ecosystems across the state are at risk without immediate, lasting action.

From tackling climate change to providing food and water sustainably, TNC is committed to working with local communities to identify solutions guided by science. Grounded by decades of local on-the-ground experience, we maximize our ability to affect change by bringing together real-world solutions, policy expertise, sustainable financing and collaborative partnerships. ISAP is a great example of a collaborative partnership in Illinois delivering real resources to farmers and advisers adopting soil health and conservation drainage practices on their land.

ISAP Coordinator