Changing the Tide for America’s Public Lands and Wildlife

Meet President’s Leadership Council Member Larry Piegza

America’s public lands are places where people from all walks of life come together to escape into the natural world. But that experience is becoming harder to capture as our country continues to develop. As a member of the National Wildlife Federation’s President’s Leadership Council, Larry Piegza understands the critical importance of these spaces not only for our wildlife, but for future generations to come.

Growing up in Buffalo, New York, Larry was an avid hiker and Eagle Scout. Those experiences formed the foundation for his love of America’s rich public lands. Larry recognized the value of his own experiences and stepped up personally and with the assistance of his company, eDemocracy.us, to provide resources to protect public lands.

Larry Piegza with National Wildlife Federation staff, Kit and Sharon. Photo: Rowan Foster

He was first introduced to the Federation’s programs in 2017 by his mother when she told him about the Adopt-A-Wildlife Acre program. Established in 2002, the program aids in negotiations between federal land managers and ranchers to retire livestock grazing allotments on public lands. Ranchers receive compensation for waiving their grazing permits allowing land managers to permanently retire the allotments — a win-win for everyone involved. The program also ensures long-term future for traditional western livestock ranching by shifting grazing practices to landscapes where it is more compatible, giving wildlife such as grizzly bears, bison, and bighorn sheep an opportunity to thrive in a conflict-free habitat.

Chinook salmon. Photo: Zureks/Wikimedia Commons

Just a few days after hearing about the program for the first time, Larry, who had never supported the Federation before, joined the Federation to help close a huge deal on the Cape Horn Grazing retirement in the Idaho Sawtooth Wilderness. The Cape Horn allotment hosts one of the largest populations of bighorn sheep in Idaho — spanning more than 85,000 acres that includes critical spawning habitats for steelhead, threatened Chinook salmon, and bull trout. Because of the incredible efforts of Larry and supporters like you, this area is now protected for generations to come.

This past spring, Larry took his commitment even further when his company, eDemocracy.us, provided a significant matching gift in our first ever grazing retirement in Capitol Reef National Park, a treasured red-rock landscape in Southern Utah. He shares,

“Populations of wildlife are decreasing throughout the United States, and I believe that everyone who spends time outdoors should be doing what they can to protect these populations. The American landscape is gorgeous, and I want to make sure my children can enjoy it fully.”

In addition to his partnership with the Federation, Larry’s also passing his passion to the future generations of his own family. Larry’s son partnered with the Federation’s Garden for Wildlife™ program by planting trees in Buffalo Park in New York as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Larry with his family at Cape Horn. Photo: Sharon London

Thank you to Larry Piegza, eDemocracy.us, and all of the supporters who continue to make this valuable program possible for wildlife and future generations to come so they may embark on their own adventures across America’s majestic public lands.

To learn more about our Adopt-A-Wildlife Acre program, please contact Sharon London, Regional Philanthropy Officer for the Northern Rockies, Prairies and Pacific Region at londons@nwf.org or 206-577-7173.

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