Who We Are and How We Operate

Defenders of Wildlife believes in the inherent value of wildlife and the natural world. 

We value all species and habitats whether or not they are recognized as having utilitarian or aesthetic value to humankind. We believe that we will better achieve our mission to conserve all native plants and animals in North America in their natural communities if we live by convictions that guide all aspects of our work. Our values statement sets expectations for how we interact with each other, guides relationships with partners and supporters, and shapes our interactions with those who hold differing opinions and beliefs.

We are “One Defenders,” committed to working together under the highest standards of honesty and integrity to achieve transformative goals for our members, supporters and the plants and animals we seek to conserve. We strive to:

  • Recognize and act on our belief that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures.

  • Collaborate with all who share our commitment to wildlife conservation and challenge those who act against the interests of wildlife and biodiversity conservation.

  • Honor the contributions of our members and supporters.

  • Balance idealism with pragmatism.

  • Be fair, honest, open-minded, collaborative, respectful and accurate in all our interactions and communications.

  • Always use the best available science and technology to inform and guide our decisions, but recognize that these critical tools may not always be the sole driver of our actions.

  • Measure our performance by the achievement of lasting solutions consistent with our mission, vision, goals and priorities.

  • Use our resources wisely, thinking big and maximizing the impact and effectiveness of our advocacy work.

  • Embrace innovation and be willing to take responsible risks to advance wildlife conservation.

  • Routinely assess our successes and our disappointments, learning from them and adapting our strategies and tactics as necessary.

  • Minimize our impact on wildlife and the environment by conserving resources in our daily work.

Defenders of Wildlife embraces the values of fairness and equity in society—including our workplace and our movement. We are committed to providing a professional, fair and safe workplace free of harassment and discrimination. Our greatest strength is our skilled, talented and dedicated employees; we care about their welfare and professional growth—and will always listen to their suggestions for improving our decision-making processes and operations. We foster empowerment at all levels of our organization through clarity of authority and accountability. We value the unique perspectives and backgrounds of our colleagues and work to expand the diversity of our workforce, board of directors and coalitions. More than co-workers, we are teammates and partners in our mutual goal of respecting our planet and all who live on it. 

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