CREE is locally powered conservation. We are a conservation model that is built on belief in the ability of local people and communities. We see long-term investment in local leadership and capacity as the best long-term strategy for achieving natural resource conservation. Since our founding in 2007, we have achieved positive outcomes for both environment and livelihoods due to the dedication and creativity of the leaders CREE invests in. Our projects take inspiration from the founder of ecology, Aldo Leopold, and his Land Ethic. Therefore, we cultivate individual and community pride in natural resource stewardship and our goal is local responsibility for the conservation and resilience of an ecosystem that supports both wildlife and economy.
CREE invests first in the environmental leader and not a project, wildlife species, or landscape. Through championing local environmental heroes, we prioritize people and relationship first in order to achieve on the ground project objectives later. Therefore, a country’s work focus is what the leader sees as the answer to the most pressing natural resource management issue in his or her community. Idea conception comes from the community itself, as does leadership. In this sense CREE is able to work with minimal financial resources and achieve much on the ground success because the dedication of our staff goes beyond a paycheck and the work addresses core community needs for a sustainable and bright future.
CREE works where we have a history and trusted relationship with a community leader. Cultivating community relationships takes time and resources, therefore, we only work where we know a local environmental leader and we let this relationship dictate the global span of our projects as opposed to a bio-geographical prioritization scheme. This is why we work in Cameroon but not the Congo for instance. CREE projects do not work in protected areas, rather we focus on buffer zones near national parks or other protected areas, as well as human-occupied lands rich in biodiversity that serve human health and well-being.
CREE practices ‘rights-based conservation’, which is conservation that doesn’t violate human rights and takes human needs into account as a priority in natural resource management.
A triple bottom line of livelihoods, respect for human rights, and the environment. CREE is a unique environmental organization because of its human rights and poverty alleviation focus, making it a leader in the environmental field in addressing problems traditionally tackled only by humanitarian organizations. Since its inception, CREE has worked in Guyana, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Our solutions are diverse in scope and depend on our leaders’ vision. As such, livelihoods generation, eco-tourism, improved agricultural techniques, climate change adaptation, ecosystem resiliency and human-wildlife conflict minimization are priorities. Being a grassroots organization, we look to change peoples’ lives for the better at the village level long-term.
CREE IS A REGISTERED 501(C)(3) TAX-DEDUCTIBLE NONPROFIT CHARITY