With Christmas just around the corner, and Hanukah underway, many of us are scrambling to buy presents for our loved ones. If there’s someone in your life who is passionate about wildlife or conservation, consider a symbolic adoption.
I first learned of this last year, when a dear friend adopted a bat for me. I’m wild about the flying mammals, so I was really touched when I received a certificate informing me that a donation had been made in my name to Bat Conservation International. And I got adorable stuffed vampire bat. (Desmo has since taken up residence in my office, perching above my computer).
Whether you’re looking for a gift for a birder, ocean lover, or outdoors enthusiast, these five organizations offer symbolic adoptions for nearly every eco interest.
A cute burrowing owl, clownish Atlantic puffins, and a striking northern cardinal are among the 16 birds Audubon is putting up for adoption. The recipient receives a beautiful custom holiday card, an e-card with the gift giver’s personal dedication, and a one-year subscription to Audubon magazine. The funds will help Audubon protect birds and their habitats.
Buy it here: National Audubon Society
Bats are hugely beneficial. They pollinate plants, distribute seeds, and keep insect populations in check. This year Bat Conservation International has two of these incredible mammals available: the Sulawesi fruit bat and the eastern red bat. Each adoption comes with a plush stuffed toy, an official adoption certificate, and a complete species profile. The funds go toward combating the devastating White-nose Syndrome, minimizing bat fatalities at wind-energy sites, and other conservation efforts.
Buy it here: Bat Conservation International
The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt and Acre program has something for everyone who loves the outdoors, from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians, the African savannah to Australian woodlands. Since the program began in 1991, $22 million has been raised to protect 600,000 acres across the world. Recipients receive a Nature Gift Card announcing the present, personalized adoption certificate, fun-fact sheet, colorful magnet set, and a one-year subscription to Nature Conservancy magazine.
Buy it here: The Nature Conservancy
[Photo: Simon Williams]
Octopuses. Seals. Sharks. Clown fish. Emperor penguins. Many of the planet’s most iconic creatures rely on the ocean for habitat or food, but these vast waters are in trouble. Oceana offers a mix of adoption packages, which include animal-shaped cookie cutters, plush toys, and adoption certificates. Funds go toward protecting the oceans and the endangered animals that call them home.
Cost: Starting at $30
Buy it here: Oceana
The World Wildlife Fund offers more than 100 symbolic adoptions, with the most popular being tiger, polar bear, and panda. If it seems too difficult to choose just one, the group offers a mix of three—which come in an FSC-certified bucket, of course. There are several kits to choose from, ranging from plush toys to photos to certificates. World Wildlife Fund uses the proceeds to support global efforts to protect wild animals and their habitats.
Cost: Starting at $25
Buy it here: World Wildlife Fund
For more great ideas, check out the 2012 Audubon Gift Guide! Click here, and happy holidays!