The idea of conservation has been in the popular mindset for decades. As humans begin to recognize their immense impact on the natural world, they begin to view the environment itself as their most precious resource. While researchers and scientists may be the most vocal supporters of conservation efforts around the globe, these efforts are most effective when enacted at the local and community level.

Community conservation is a way for local groups to take ownership of the natural resources that surround them, and derive cultural meaning and character from them. That’s why it plays such a crucial role in our work as part of the Red Rocks Initiatives for Sustainable Development. But for those new to the idea, the concept might be a nebulous one. To ensure that our supporters and allies alike understand the value of community conservation and the role it plays in the Virunga massif region, we thought we’d explore how it makes a positive impact on the groups we work with every day.

Defining Community Conservation

Typically, when we think of conservation, we might imagine a landscape devoid of humans. After all, much of the impact on the health of the global environment has been caused by human activity. However, community conservation takes a different approach.

Community conservation views people as part of the environment and indeed views the two as inextricably linked. The process of community conservation begins by bringing together the various voices in a group, then starting a dialogue. By discussing the needs of the community, the rule that the landscape plays in defining the group’s culture, and what the environment can offer without exhausting itself, communities can better care for their resources.

Why Community Conservation Matters

At a small level, we see community conservation efforts at work every day. Neighbors will clear the trash out of a nearby park so their children have somewhere safe to play. To promote the growth of beautiful new plants, gardeners might plant flowers that attract bees. A group advocates for the value the mountain gorilla brings to their community.

At its most fundamental level, caring for a resource is in the best interest of everyone who is near it. For the communities in the Virunga massif region of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, caring for the flora and fauna in the area offers them an impressive list of benefits. From economic opportunities to sustainable tourism practices, and more, caring for the landscape enriches these communities and uplifts them.

How Red Rocks Employs Community Conservation Practices

Like many other organizations, the Red Rocks Initiative has found success in collaborating with local groups to help maintain and protect a natural or cultural resource. To help create more opportunities to encourage the community conservation of the Virunga massif region, we offer a number of volunteer abroad programs.

You’ll have the chance to visit this amazing region and take part in health, education, and economic programs that help local populations thrive. From teaching in schools to helping with land management practices in a reserve, our volunteer abroad programs are a great way to help others better care for the resources that matter most to them.

In addition to our volunteer programs, we also promote arts and culture conservation efforts through the creation of art galleries, establishing chances for communities to share the dances and music that defines them, and organizing regional games that help to build peace.

Champion Community Conservation With the Red Rocks Initiative

By promoting community conservation programs in the region, Red Rocks ensures that local groups are the stewards of the natural landscape around them and serve as its greatest champion. This helps to maintain the flower and fauna in the region, providing opportunities for valuable research to occur.

If you’d like to support our efforts, we invite you to make a generous donation to our cause.