Progress in the Genesee River Wilds Project depends partly on trained professionals, but perhaps even more on volunteers who sacrificially invest their own time, resources, skill, and energy. The most desperate need is always for individuals to negotiate with local landowners and apply for funding grants from outside sources (see pages above for sample agencies, funding opportunities, and links to information that will help you in writing your application). At present, volunteer efforts are most frequently channeled through through the non-profit organization Genesee River Wilds, Inc., allied non-profit organizations such as the Genesee Valley Conservancy and the Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway, various public agencies, and regional and county planning offices. County offices, townships, municipal park programs, village betterment associations, educational institutions, and other organizations also provide channels for volunteer work in localized areas of the Genesee River Wilds. Some of the most important work in the project thus far has been done by small local townships, schools, and single individuals who have taken the initiative to build a small part of their own township’s section of the greenway and riverside nature park system. Contact the officers and board members of the Genesee River Wilds or a collaborating organization to volunteer for an existing program that fulfills the goals of the Genesee River Wilds Project. Or start a complementary program of your own.
The Genesee River Wilds committee is always in desperate need of committed leadership that can bring fresh vision, unique expertise, networking relationships with volunteers and donors in other areas, and other resources that are scarce in the economically challenged and sparsely populated communities of the upper Genesee River watershed. For ideas on how you can help, please contact the individuals listed on the contacts page or at Genesee River Wilds, Inc. However, energetic leaders can also initiate local projects of their own and then apply for grants and funding to move those projects forward. This website provides a one-stop-shop of ideas, links to funding agencies, and the resources needed to do your own research and apply for a grant. Please work with friends, property owners, or officials in a local village board, a township, a school, county office, a university, a club, and others to start your own small part of the project and apply for a grant for it. If everyone does a small part in their own way, the project as a whole will move faster. You can do it!
The Genesee River Wilds Project applies a number of approaches to advance its goals, including negotiating conservation easements and other cooperative agreements with landowners and community officials. But its major strategy is acquiring land that can be protected and developed in ways that enhance the project’s combination of environmental and recreational goals. This is accomplished both by purchasing land and by accepting donated land. Purchasing and developing land depends heavily on donated funds. Donations are also essential to securing matching grants and collaborative aid from external funding sources. Since the project is a coalition rather than a single organization, its basic strategy can be employed by more than one of its partner organizations. These include state agencies, local townships, and allied non-profit groups, including an established regional land conservancy represented on the project committee (see “Contact” page). Donations through a non-profit corporation holding 501(c)(3) status with the IRS also can be made directly through Genesee River Wilds, Inc., at www.geneseeriverwilds.com