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See the curated media list below to learn more about NatureServe.

To speak with one of our experts—or for more information about what we do and how we work—please contact Samantha Belilty (954-655-2984).

Most Popular Media Hits

Trees Across the U.S. Face Dire Threats, New Report Shows
AUGUST 28, 2022 | PBS

A new report warns that at least 1 in 9 tree species in the U.S. are at risk of extinction. Trees face a host of threats including invasive species, deadly disease and climate change. The data comes as part of the most comprehensive threat assessment ever collected on U.S. forests. Host Geoff Bennett interviews the scientists involved in this study.

Why Trillium Have Become the Poster Child for Endangered Native Plants
MAY 25, 2022 | The New York Times

The plight of any native species is cause for concern, but with trillium there is another layer — almost an emotional factor. Their distinctive, early flowers charm us, making them a kind of poster plant for other species in trouble, ambassadors for an interest in growing and conserving natives.

A Fifth of World's Reptile Species Deemed Threatened With Extinction
APRIL 27, 2022 | Reuters

"This global assessment is a key beginning to understanding reptile conservation needs. Now we know where the priorities are and what the threats are that we need to ameliorate. There is no longer any excuse for leaving reptiles out of conservation planning and implementation efforts worldwide," said Bruce Young, co-leader of the study and chief zoologist and senior conservation scientist at NatureServe.

This Map Shows Where Biodiversity Is Most at Risk in America
MARCH 3, 2022 | The New York Times

To identify concentrations of imperiled biodiversity, scientists created models for more than 2,200 species based on where they are known to exist and their habitat needs. The research and the related maps were a partnership between NatureServe and its network of state partners, Esri, and the Nature Conservancy.

Media Hits Continued

When an Extinct Species Is Found Alive, What Happens Next?
November 1, 2022 | The Scientist

Finding a creature in the wild that had been considered long gone brings hope—and quite a bit of uncertainty. NatureServe Cheif Botanist Wes Knapp shares the complicated questions he and colleagues had to answer after rediscovering a lateleaf oak, which was thought to have been lost in 2011.

In this episode of Environmental Professionals Radio, hosts Laura Thorne and Nic Frederick speak with NatureServe Chief Botanist Wes Knapp about the work NatureServe does, extinct plants, and stories from the field.

The Curious Case of the Missing Extinctions
OCTOBER 13, 2022 | Outside/In Radio

NatureServe's Sean O'Brien and Wes Knapp guest star in this episode of Outside/In to help answer why it's so difficult to officially declare an animal extinct. Along the way, producer Taylor Quimby compares rare animals to missing socks, finds a way to invoke Lizzo during an investigation of an endangered species of crabgrass, and learns about the disturbing concept of “dark extinctions."


Up to 135 U.S. Tree Species Face Extinction—and Just Eight Enjoy Federal Protection
AUGUST 24, 2022 | Science

Researchers evaluated how endangered each tree is according to criteria developed by the organizations NatureServe and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). As a result of invasive insects, pathogens, climate change, development, and other threats, the team found, 11% to 16% of those trees—as many as 135 species—face possible extinction.

Discovery of Rare Snail Species in Wyoming
AUGUST 1, 2022 |

A group of researchers, led by the University of Wyoming, recently discovered a rare snail species previously unknown to the state. The Rocky Mountain capshell is ranked as vulnerable throughout its range and critically imperiled in Colorado and Montana under NatureServe Explorer, the largest online encyclopedia of biodiversity in North America.

Monarch Butterflies Added To Endangered List
JULY 21, 2022 | Forbes

Few species evoke the awe and wonder that the migratory monarch butterfly commands,” NatureServe CEO & President Sean O’Brien said in a statement with the IUCN. “While efforts to protect this species are encouraging, much is still needed to ensure its long-term survival.

"The majority of species on the planet are plants and insects and other invertebrate animals that we know so little about we cannot even determine the extent to which they are threatened," said Healy Hamilton, Chief Scientist at NatureServe. "And yet those are the very species which help purify our air, filter our water, maintain the health of our soils, pollinate plants we need for food, fuel and fiber, and provide medicines to hundreds of millions of people."


Scientists Rush to Save 1,000-Year-Old Trees on the Brink of Death
JULY 15, 2022 | The Washington Post

We have a second chance to prevent a species extinction,” said Wes Knapp, the chief botanist for the conservation nonprofit NatureServe and a member of the expedition to find the vulnerable bristlecone pine. “That’s really rare, to have a second chance in nature. It means we can move. We can act. That’s what we have to do now.”

Celebrate America With Photos of Our Unique Species
July 1, 2022 | National Geographic

To date, scientists have identified more than 32,000 distinct animal species living in the country. According to NatureServe, an organization that keeps tabs on North American flora and fauna, more than 7,000 of those species are endemic, meaning they’re native to the U.S. and nowhere else—and researchers are certain that’s an underestimate.

Taking Stock of Native Plants, With NatureServe’s Wesley Knapp
JUNE 12, 2022 | A Way to Garden

Do we know what species are already gone–from the small tree that gardeners covet that is extinct in the wild called Franklinia, to various others that are less well-known. And how do we know where to focus our conservation efforts? Listen to this podcast episode, featuring Wes Knapp, Chief Botanist at NatureServe.

These Rare and Endangered Species Call Houston and Harris County Home
MAY 19, 2022 | The Houston Chronicle

Texas has the 7th largest number of species at very high, high or moderate risk, according data from NatureServe, a US non-profit organization that assigns conservation status rankings to plant and animal species. Harris County is home to 88 rare, threatened and endangered species. Of the 88, 12 are native to, and only found in, Texas.

Why Large Numbers of Reptile Species Face Extinction
APRIL 27, 2022 | PBS

Globally, about 20 percent of reptile species are facing the threat of extinction. That's according to a recent study in the scientific journal "Nature." Geoff Bennett takes a deeper look now at what’s driving this extinction crisis and what it could mean for the rest of the world.

Groundbreaking Study Reveals the Most Threatened Reptile Species
APRIL 27, 2022 | CNN

"Reptiles, to many people, are not charismatic, and there's just been a lot more focus on the furry or feathery species of vertebrates for conservation. But through persistence we were able to find the funding needed to complete the study," Bruce Young, chief zoologist and senior conservation scientist at NatureServe and one of the authors of the study.

From King Cobras to Geckos, 20 Percent of Reptiles Risk Extinction
APRIL 27, 2022 | The New York Times

About 20 percent of reptile species risk extinction, mainly because people are taking away their habitats for agriculture, urban development and logging, according to the first global reptile assessment of its kind.  “It’s another drumbeat on the path to ecological catastrophe,” said Bruce Young, co-leader of the study and a senior scientist at NatureServe.

One-fifth of Reptiles Worldwide Face Risk of Extinction
APRIL 27, 2022 | AP News

Worldwide, the greatest threat to reptile life is habitat destruction. Hunting, invasive species and climate change also pose threats, said co-author Neil Cox, a manager at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s biodiversity assessment unit. Six of the world’s species of sea turtles are threatened. The seventh is likely also in trouble, but scientists lack data to make a classification.


Decline in Freshwater Mussels an Indicator of Poor Stream Health in SD
MARCH 27, 2022 | Keloland

Usually hidden beneath the water’s surface, mussels do the quiet work of filtering water in South Dakota’s rivers and streams, helping other aquatic species such as fish thrive. The decline of freshwater mussel populations in waterways in South Dakota and across North America is a major concern on several environmental levels.

Here’s Where Biodiversity is Disappearing the Quickest in the US
MARCH 14, 2022 | Popular Science

When we think of biodiversity, we may reflect on tropical rainforests or coral reefs, where the richness of life is indeed staggering,” author Healy Hamilton, chief scientist at nonprofit NatureServe said in a release, “but our own country harbors globally significant biodiversity. The findings from the Map of Biodiversity Importance show us areas critical for preventing extinction across the nation.”

A Bright Spot on a Bleak Map
MARCH 8, 2022 | Adirondack Explorer

The color scale on the map ranges from dark green to blood red based on how much biodiversity has declined in the continental United States, showing areas of risk for plants and animals threatened with extinction. In the Northeast, the Adirondacks offer refuge to eyes combing the map, with its pop of bright green in the troubling vastness of red.

In the 1990s, the Ecological Society of America (ESA), NatureServe, and federal land management agencies came together to address a significant need: the creation of a systematic vegetation classification system for the US. Its use and implementation by various groups helps to foster interagency collaboration and consistent reporting on the nation’s vegetation resources.


Global Conservation Goals Are Insufficient to Avoid Mass Extinction
JANUARY 19, 2022 | The Globe and Mail

You can have a situation where a country like Canada feasibly meets all of its targets by 2030 … where we do all the right things within our borders, but still, through our trade and consumption patterns, drive massive biodiversity loss in tropical areas,” NatureServe's Mike Gill provides insight on a new report on biodiversity goals.

CSU Launches Natural Resource Map to Reduce Development Surprises
NOVEMBER 8, 2021 | Coloradoan

The Colorado Conservation Data Explorer eliminates the element of surprise with its one-stop shopping map that includes critical natural resource data that can assist in decision making for development planning, energy development, conservation and recreation projects.

Biodiversity Matters to Everyone, So Let’s Protect It
FALL 2021 | ArcNews

It is essential that we all care about biodiversity. As Dr. Healy Hamilton, chief scientist of NatureServe, pointed out in her Keynote Address during the Esri Science Symposium at this year’s Esri User Conference, diversity of life is the foundation of our ecological, cultural, economic, and spiritual well-being.

Conservation Group Visits Vt. on Biodiversity ‘expedition’
OCTOBER 6, 2021 | WCAX

NatureServe CEO Sean O’Brien visits with Fish & Wildlife Department staff in Colchester as the 17th stop of the NatureServe Network Van Tour to understand how Vermont is protecting its wildlife and what threats they face in doing so. Watch the video to see some of the highlights.


1 In 3 Tree Species Face Extinction
SEPTEMBER 10, 2021 | Eurasia Review

One in three trees worldwide are facing extinction, with human use among the greatest threats, according to the first State of the World’s Trees report published by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI).

New Maps Show U.S. Rivers With High Natural Values
AUGUST 23, 2021 | Pew Charitable Trusts

To help policymakers, elected officials, and other stakeholders in the U.S. make better-informed decisions, The Pew Charitable Trusts engaged NatureServe and Michigan State University to build national databases of watershed conditions and barriers that alter the natural flow of freshwater bodies.

Esri Science Symposium Recap: Biodiversity and Our Role in the Ecosystem
AUGUST 5, 2021 | ArcGIS Blog

Chief Scientist Dr. Healy Hamilton presented at the Esri Science Symposium, sharing stories from around the globe on why biodiversity is important and how spatial tools, including those developed by NatureServe, are essential for conservation.

Join us in the Cedar Glades State Natural Area for a VIP Tour
JULY 27, 2021 | Tennessee's WildSide

Scientists who specialize in the study of plants and animals find plenty of places in Tennessee to do their research. The unusual plants you can find in the Cedar Glades remind all of us how important it is to protect and preserve our natural resources.

Hampton cidery raises money for national van tour supporting biodiversity
JULY 17, 2021 | WTKR News

NatureServe’s CEO, Sean O' Brien is driving his van around the country and recently arrived in the 757. "We launched the cider to support NatureServe which is a conservation organization," said Doug Smith, the founder of Sly Clyde Ciderworks.

Ecological Van Tour Makes Stop In Albany's Pine Bush
JUNE 17, 2021 | WAMC Northeast Public Radio

The president of a data company called NatureServe, O’Brien is on the 11th stop of his tour of Natural Heritage Areas to learn about how local organizations are working to conserve natural areas, and to find ways they can better work together.

'Big data' helps direct preservation decisions
MAY 21, 2021 | Bay Journal

Synthesizing huge amounts of biodiversity data — NatureServe scientists processed nearly 100 million data exchanges in 2020 alone — allows decision makers to determine which places are most in need of saving, even if they don’t have an iconic species steering the way toward preservation.

Working Together to Save Plants
APRIL 29, 2021 | AP News

A new partnership between the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) and NatureServe unites expertise in plant conservation and education. Together, the partners will tackle two critical areas of plant conservation while also educating the public about the growing risk of plant extinction.

In a study published in Conservation Biology, NatureServe Chief Botanist Wes Knapp and 15 other researchers from across the United States quantified how many trees, shrubs, herbs and flowering plants have vanished from North America since European settlement. After compiling existing information on presumed extinct species and working with local botanists to vet the data, the group narrowed down a list of 65 plant species, subspecies and varieties that have been lost forever in the wild.