Readers frequently ask for names of reputable conservation groups they might join, so here are some suggestions to begin the new year. Before joining any organization, however, visit its web site or write for information to make sure you are comfortable the each group's philosophy and goals.
Annual membership dues vary, but most are less than $40.
UAmerican Cetacean Society, P.O. Box 1391, San Pedro, CA 90733; www.acsonline.org. Established 1967. Works to protect marine mammals, especially whales, dolphins and porpoises.
For trees: UAmerican Chestnut Foundation, P.O. Box 4044, Bennington, VT 05201; htpp://chestnut.acf.org. Established 1983. Promotes the restoration of the American Chestnut, once the dominant tree in the eastern deciduous forest.
Funds research to combat the blight that nearly wiped out this tree in the early 1900s. UAmerican Rivers, 1025 Vermont Ave., SE, Suite 720, Washington, D.C. 20005; www.amrivers.org. Established 1973. Works to protect, restore and conserve America's river systems.
UBat Conservation International, P.O. Box 162603, Austin, TX 78716; www.batcon.org. Established 1982. Documents and publicizes the value of bats worldwide; promotes bat research and conservation.
UConservation International, 1919 M St., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036; www.conservation.org. Established 1987. CI's mission is to conserve the Earth's living heritage, our global biodiversity, and to demonstrate that human societies can live harmoniously with nature by working with indigenous peoples and organizations.
UCornell Lab or Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850; http://birds.cornell.edu. Established 1917. International center for study, appreciation and conservation of birds. Home base for Project FeederWatch and The Birdhouse Network.
UHawk Mountain Sanctuary Association, 1700 Hawk Mountain Road, Kempton, PA 19529; www.hawkmountain.org. Established 1934. Maintains the 2,400 acre Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and promotes the conservation of birds of prey. A great place to visit in eastern Pennsylvania in spring or fall.
UIzaak Walton League of America, 707 Conservation Lane, Gaithersburg, MD 20878; www.iwla.org. Established 1922. Promotes the conservation and enjoyment of soil, water, air, forests, and other natural resources.
ULady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (formerly the National Wildflower Research Center), 4801 LaCrosse Ave., Austin, TX 78739; www.wildflower.org.
Established 1982. Promotes the conservation and re-establishment of native plants on private and public land through research and education.
For the birds: UNational Bird-Feeding Society, P.O. Box 23, Northbrook, IL 60065; www.birdfeeding.org. Established 1990. A club for backyard bird lovers, the NBFS reports news, backyard feeding tips and member input via its newsletter. UNatural Resources Defense Council, 40 West 20th St., New York, NY 10011; www.nrdc.org. Established 1946. UThe Nature Conservancy, 4245 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203; http://nature.org. Established 1951. Committed to preservation of biological diversity by protecting natural areas and the life they harbor. The Nature Conservancy buys natural areas and protects them forever. In many areas, local and regional conservancies do similar work.
UNorth American Butterfly Association, 4 Delaware Road, Morristown, NJ 07960; www.naba.org. Established 1993. North America's first organization dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of butterflies.
UPurple Martin Conservation Association, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA 16444; www.purplemartin.org. Established 1987. Dedicated to the conservation of the purple martin through research, management, and education.
URoger Tory Peterson Institute, 311 Curtis St., Jamestown, NY 14701; www.rtpi.org. Established 1984. The Institute strives to create a passion for and knowledge of the natural world in the hearts and minds of children by inspiring the study of nature in schools and communities.
UWilderness Society, 1615 M St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20036; www.wilderness.org. Established 1935. Devoted to protecting and preserving America's wilderness, wildlife, forests, parks, rivers, and shorelines and fostering and American land ethic.
Invertebrate group: UXerces Society, 4828 Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97215; www.xerces.org. Established 1971. Committed to the protection of invertebrates as major components of biological diversity. For people who love & quot;bugs. & quot;