Earth Day is quickly approaching! April 22nd is a yearly reminder that the environment plays a significant role in our lives, and it’s up to us to ensure that clean air, land and water are available now and for future generations. Earth Day dates back to 1970, where 22 million Americans participated, and today, it’s observed in 175 countries. It’s a time to celebrate the environment, and educate ourselves on the issues that threaten the planet’s wellbeing. On this day of global recognition, some people choose to volunteer while others dive deep into recycling. You can also celebrate by taking the time to acknowledge the achievements and efforts of environmental defenders, like some of these phenomenal organizations listed below, and select one of them as your nonprofit of choice while shopping with Giving Assistant.

1. Bitter Root Water Forum

Serious about protecting the lifeline of the world, the Bitter Root Watershed Forum (BRWF) is a nonprofit focused on the restoration and education related to a watershed in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana – an area known for its jaw-dropping views and picture-perfect backdrops. On the education front, the BRWF starts ’em early with an Earth Stewardship Program that includes hands-on lessons, playing ‘Water Quality Jeopardy’, and field trips for over 300 students in Ravalli County. The Future Irrigators of the Bitterroot Program connects students to the outdoors, where they learn about protecting fisheries and conservation methods.

The BRWF actively defends the water resources in the Bitterroot Valley through restoration projects that elevate water health. In an effort to support, clean and celebrate their local waters, the group hosts outdoor events to raise money for river clean up, such as the Run for the River 5K, as well as organizes clean up parties where volunteers learn more about the importance and methods of ecological conservation.

2. Green Umbrella

What started as an organization geared towards preserving and restoring the unending diversity of plants and wildlife in the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana area has since expanded to include projects in clean air and other eco-friendly causes. Green Umbrella has a goal to elevate their region as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the U.S. by 2020. With a commitment to promote the beauty of outdoor recreation and instill nature awareness in adults and children across 10 counties in the area, this nonprofit is known for lending eco-friendly startups and organizations a helping hand, which includes support for the following:

  • Red Bike: a bike-share program that promotes cleaner air and provides affordable, healthy, green transportation
  • Taking Root: tree conservation responsible for the planting of almost a ½ a million trees
  • Outdoor Adventure Clubs of Greater Cincinnati: molds future generations of environmental advocates by nurturing an appreciation for healthy recreation; teens explore nature’s playground through hiking, camping and fishing.
  • Tri-State Trails: the creation of multi-use trails, on-road bike lanes and hiking trails support cleaner air practices and an improved quality of life for residents

3. Marine Conservation Institute

Calling all water babies! Without the efforts of organizations, like the Marine Conservation Institute, the largest life support system in the world would fall victim to pollution, destructive fishing techniques, and loss of amazingly unique ocean life. As defenders of global waters, the Marine Conservation Institute identifies marine protected areas and maintains the most complete online databases in the world. They pinpoint fish habitat conservation zones, forge sustainable seafood partnerships, and advocate for critically endangered animals. Marine Conservation Institute also welcomes the public to nominate great MPAs for Global Ocean Refuge awards and to help spread the word about GLORES.

To ensure future generations have a chance to enjoy the hypnotic waters, tropical coral reefs and exotic marine creatures of the deep blue sea in places like California, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Institute also uses donations from eco-warriors such as yourself to promote sustainable tourism.

4. West Sound Wildlife Shelter

Here’s a nonprofit for the animal lover in you. The Washington-based West Sound Wildlife Shelter combines quality care with public outreach and education to make sure that injured, orphaned, and sick wildlife get a new lease on life. They’re the ones you call when you see an injured critter by the side of the road. They’ll do their best to patch it up and make sure it’s ready to return to its natural habitat. Rowdy raccoons and other wild animals becoming a nuisance at home? They’ll give you non-lethal advice on possible solutions.

Wildlife ambassadors, like turkey vulture Remi (aka “Princess”), Sunny, the great-horned owl and Opal, the Virginia opossum, are on hand to educate with live animal presentations that local groups can book. The Shelter cares for more than 1,600 wildlife patients yearly, and your donation can go towards the rehabilitation of their next animal ambassador.

5. Rhode Island Environmental Education Association

Education is essential for spreading the word on the importance of protecting the planet, and the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association (RIEEA) is no stranger to utilizing the power of knowledge. Fueled by a network of individuals, teachers, schools, state agencies and other organizations devoted to increasing the environmental awareness of all adults and youths in the state, RIEEA makes its mark in many ways.

This nonprofit has a solid reputation for getting families and students excited about the outdoors, as seen in the workshops hosted through a recent Land & Water Conservation Summit partnership. RIEEA workshops and training equips educators with the information and tools needed to teach the value of earth-friendly practices. They also award professional development scholarships to members. Past collaborations have also included hosting an Environmental Leadership Seminar with the Department of Education at Brown University.

6. LandTrust for Central North Carolina

With 25,000 acres already protected, the Land Trust for Central North Carolina is dedicated to the conservation of the natural escapes, breathtaking landscapes, historic sites, and wildlife refuges in a 10-county region of the state. Because of the LandTrust, it’s possible for you to hike Catawba Ecological Preserve Trail, birdwatch at Dunn’s Mountain Park, indulge in wildlife photography at Eagle Point Nature Preserve, and swim Barnes Creek at Jumping Off Rock. The LandTrust’s Three Rivers Canoe & Kayak Race Series raises money through an ultra-scenic event where participants get a chance to (re)visit the region’s unique wildlife and woodlands atop refreshing waterways. They also host an annual Naturalist Day that includes a morning hike and native plant exploration, with music provided by neotropical migrant songbirds. Your donation to The LandTrust could help conserve the additional 10-15,000 acres of land they’d like to protect in the near future.

Want to get active for Earth Day? You can participate in a clean-up day, install a bird feeder, plant a tree, or buy locally sourced foods. And, it’s also the perfect time to support an environmentally friendly company or nonprofit by putting your shopping power to good use. All you have to do is share all or some of your cash back with Mother Nature when you shop 36 brands like S’well, Backcountry, and Clarins participating in our Earth Day Double Cash Back Event from 4/17- 4/23!