URBAN ARK CONSERVATION
Urban Ark Conservation is a young, and still yet small 501(c)3 organization founded, in part, by a US Veteran. Our overall mission and focuses are multifaceted, focusing on conservation and habitat protection, but also on sustainability and Veteran’s health.
We started primarily focused on herpetofauna conservation and sustainable agriculture. However, as we began to build up our facilities and started with the agricultural aspect, we pondered how to make the organization as self-sustaining as possible, so that we eventually weren't relying on donations to be able to impose change. We arrived at aquaponics and sustainability, which was soon followed by endangered breeds/species of livestock. Once we realized their need for attention as well, it only made sense to make these endangered animals a focus as well, to have another avenue to contribute to conservation while we are building up funds to contribute to the larger scale conservation projects we’re aiming to establish, which we have framed our organization around.
Herpetofauna and the farm, in our case, can be thought of as mutually beneficial entities. While they don't play a direct role toward one another, the conservation and sustainability practices we utilize on the farm allow us to bring in funds that we can delegate toward herpetofauna conservation work, which is where our roots lie. In addition, keeping the species that we care about allows us to better understand their needs/behaviors, so we can be as informed as possible when we are proposing conservation strategies.
Furthermore, working with the species which we care about allows us to also offer offspring to fellow organizations and zoological facilities, so that more can be on display, and raising the general population’s awareness of their plights in the wild. In regards to sustainability, we’re utilizing property surrounding our facility to test various land reclamation, as well as permaculture, strategies.
One of our goals is to create an entirely self-sustaining homestead on our 11-acre property in Pennsylvania. This facility will be utilized to educate and train sustainability practices as well as hold workshops for veterans suffering from PTSD. We will also be working closely with the Livestock Conservancy, and our chosen heritage stock will be carefully monitored and controlled, keeping our animals healthy, genetically diverse, and maintained in pastured areas.
In addition to these aspects, we’ve begun building a geothermal greenhouse which will be utilized for aquaponics to help supply local small businesses with requested items, which will in turn help fund our work. The geothermal aquaponics greenhouse is a project we will be finely adjusting as needed, as it is something we aim to turn into an annual project; to erect one of a similar style, annually, in a different community within the ranges of the species we’re focusing on, to help build relationships with local communities, and also push to help reduce the rate at which land is cleared for farming in these ranges.
These projects we’re working on on site are also where the Veteran health portion comes to play, as we’re in the beginning stages of planning out arrangements to allow Veterans to come work on the agricultural aspects while they work to get back on their feet. Agriculture has shown to have a great impact for Veterans suffering from a range of anxiety disorders, and our co-founder can attest that it has made a huge difference for him. And this is something we want to use to help as many people as possible.
As we become more established and expand, we also have a number of research questions that we aim to work toward answering. Most of which are looking at the molecular/genetic level of population dynamics, to work toward making amphibian conservation efforts as thorough and effective as possible.
HAVE WE FORGOTTEN
Farming used to be a community effort, someone raised chickens, someone harvested corn, and some kept cows. If you needed certain things you knew exactly who to go to. You met face to face, developed a bond, and everyone came together to share their harvest. There were less E. Coli outbreaks, less salmonella recalls, and the farmer cared for the land surrounding his farm, inviting nature back to create an entire ecosystem on their land.
times have changed
It's 2020, not everyone has the space for farming, nobody has the time to plant, tend, and harvest. We now go to large supermarkets where the transactions are impersonal, and we don’t take the time to meet the person who had their hands in the mud, so we can enjoy the convenience of getting everything right now.
Here at Urban Ark Conservation we are striving to push local grown, organic food to table. Take the time to meet your farmer, to get to know them and the work they put into your food. A good farmer will take the time to get to know your needs, and the needs of your family.
Community is the future of food, sustainability is the security to continue to make that food available, locally, without the disastrous effects that large-scale operations can have on the environment.
Our mission is conservation, and we are at the forefront of a conservation movement. Educating and practicing sustainability has a direct and positive impact on environmental conservation. By practicing things like aquaponics, permaculture, and other sustainable farming techniques, we are directly impacting the environment around us. We are protecting the areas in and around our sustainable farms, inviting wildlife back in to flourish, and producing more food, with less, year round.
We can take these practices to any home, city or country where there could be a food shortage. Teaching, educating, and training those who live there how to sustain themselves.
URBAN ARK CONSERVATION IS HONORED TO THE HAVE THE SUPPORT, MENTORSHIP, AND GUIDANCE OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS
Working together to provide a secure sustainable future!