Defenders of Wildlife has established The Tracks You Leave Behind newsletter to share highlights about our work, legacy giving ideas and the stories of those who have completed their own gifts.


Where Science, Technology and Policy Meet

Defenders of Wildlife has a long history of pioneering solutions to protect North America’s biological diversity while focusing on endangered species and sensitive landscapes. To further this work, Defenders launched the Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI) in 2016.

CCI uses science, technology and policy to improve conservation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other laws.

To increase the effectiveness of conservation, CCI:
•    publishes papers on their innovative work in world-class scientific journals;
•    develops cutting-edge technologies that can be used to determine if land
     developers are complying with their ESA permits; 
•    critically assesses policies to identify needs for conservation.

Among CCI’s many accomplishments is the development of the first system that automatically detects changes in habitat by using free satellite data. This approach is easier and cheaper than traditional habitat monitoring. Ultimately, resource-strapped agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will be able to use the tool to monitor essential habitats for wildlife. CCI is also expanding its use of story maps—interactive narratives that engage users and provide geographic context—to share new monitoring results.

In 2020, CCI plans to collaborate with FWS on the applications of a novel tool developed by CCI to share critical mapping information for ESA-listed species. CCI will also continue to work to better protect key habitats on federal public lands. 

To learn more about how CCI is taking conservation to the next level, visit