Bay City non-profit featured in NYC exhibit for work converting empty city lots to natural habitats

When you think of a land conservancy, it’s not often that you think of the city. When protecting the natural world, it’s often the wilderness, the rural, and bucolic that becomes the focus of many a conservation group.

But for the Bay City-based non-profit Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, it’s their conservancy projects in the region’s urban areas, in addition to the 6,000 acres of rural land already under their protection, that has garnered regional and, even more recently, national attention.

Baltimore Oriole on Saginaw Bay Birding TrailThe SBLC’s mission to convert approximately 1,500 vacant parcels in Saginaw from overgrown lots to wildflower prairies, creating natural habitats for pollinators, is currently featured in the Fringe Cities: Legacies of Renewal in the Small American City exhibit at the Center for Architecture gallery in New York City.

"We’re a small non-profit based in Bay City, so this is all slightly surreal but also somewhat validating. We work hard on our projects here, in Saginaw, and around the region," says Zachary Branigan, executive director for the SBLC.

"It’s humbling and somewhat of an honor. It’s not every day that a small non-profit from Bay City gets recognized on a national level so it’s huge for us. And it’s good for morale."

The exhibit itself focuses on four American cities and their efforts to solve problems wrought by the United States and its federal urban renewal programs of the mid-20th century. MASS Design Group, which curated the exhibition, selected Easton, Pa., Spartanburg, S.C., and Poughkeepsie, N.Y. in addition to Saginaw.

Immature Bald Eagle in Tree at Michigan Sugar Trails on Middlegrounds Bay City 2It’s the latest in a string of recognition for the conservancy’s Saginaw project. The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy was also recently featured in an article in the U.S. News & World Report.

"I hope it helps us increase the delivery of our mission," Branigan says. "It can be a reward for our hard work but also a jumping-off point."

Learn more about the Land Conservancy on its Facebook page and website.

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