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Congratulations to One Tree Planted on winning the new Defender in the Environmental category and congratulations to all our finalists for entering As well as watching the winning submission, please visit the websites of our winners and finalists and support their causes. Missed the live stream announcement? Watch it now and see all the nonprofits that won the new Defender.


The Beaver Island Association (BIA) represents the combined interests of our members on issues that affect the fundamental character and beauty of Beaver Island. The BIA works with local governments to support property owners’ views, concerns and investments by: providing a forum for discussion of island governance and property taxes; representing membership concerns through township government liaison; supporting preservation and wise use of natural resources, plants, and wildlife of Beaver Island; collaborating with tribes, environmental organizations, schools, and government agencies; proposing environmental conservation policies and/or methods; sponsoring environmental education programs and public lectures and presentations; monitoring and controlling invasive species and cleaning up beaches and campgrounds; and helping with forest fire prevention.


The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation protects the health of local lakes, rivers and streams for everyone who depends on and enjoys them. Millions of people get their drinking water and electricity from the Catawba River. As an independent watchdog for our waterways, Catawba Riverkeeper acts as the voice of the river and the people who rely on it. Our three pillars include: education, engagement and protection. Education encompasses all learning programs for kids and adults. Examples include field trips, summer camps and the Riverkeeper Learning Series. Engagement includes litter cleanups, kayak rentals and eco-tours where people form connections with the river. Lastly, protection includes all technical work like water testing and advocacy. Catawba Riverkeeper staff travel throughout the 26-county, 2-state, 5,000 square mile river basin, from the mountains of North Carolina to the swampy, Southern end of our watershed.


Florida International University’s Institute of Environment is dedicated to combating environmental crises that devastate ecosystems, disrupt communities and destroy natural resources. We conduct research across many environmental topics and disciplines, all related to saving our planet and its species. We develop realistic and scalable solutions to the environmental crises we face today and that can serve as the scientific foundation for preventing future ones. One of our premier initiatives is the Florida Everglades, a 30-year effort to save one of America’s most iconic and imperiled ecosystems. The FIU Foundation was established in 1969 to encourage, solicit, receive and administer gifts for scientific, educational and charitable purposes for the advancement of Florida International University and its objectives.


One Tree Planted, based in Shelburne Vermont, is an environmental charity on a mission to make it simple for anyone to help the environment by planting trees. We are dedicated to making it easier for individuals and businesses to give back to the environment, create a healthier climate, protect biodiversity and help reforestation efforts around the world. Started in 2014, we have more than doubled the number of trees planted year over year and in 2021 will plant over 30 million trees. We work with amazing reforestation partners across 43 countries who help us get trees in the ground. These projects restore forests after fires and floods, create jobs, build communities and protect habitat for wildlife.


Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) is a statewide nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to motivating and enabling people to be active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources. Since 1984, VOC’s award-winning volunteer, youth and leadership training programs have engaged nearly 125,000 people of all ages in caring for Colorado’s outdoors – a total donated labor value of $25 million. We also help other groups develop and grow their own volunteer programs to help meet Colorado’s growing stewardship needs and foster statewide, cross-industry collaboration to elevate awareness and identify unique solutions to our state's most pressing environmental challenges.