Lisa Weinstein, Turner Foundation

TITLE: Program Officer, Safeguarding Habitat

FUNDING AREAS: Animal and wildlife conservation, terrestrial and marine habitat conservation

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: Weinstein is going to look toward bigger state- and national-level projects to fund rather than local and community projects.

PROFILE: Lisa Weinstein isn't one to do things halfway. Before joining the Turner Foundation she was the assistant chief of the Nongame Conservation Section of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, where she brought the department into the 21st Century by adding a "Click & Pledge" fundraising system to the Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund. The fund provided massive support to groups providing research, restoration, and ecosystem conservation efforts, in order to attempt to save the more than 1,000 threatened plant and animal species in the state.

Per the Turner Foundation's website, here is Weinstein's bio:

"Lisa Weinstein is the Program Officer for the Safeguarding Habitat program. Prior to joining the Turner Foundation, Lisa worked for Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources as an Assistant Chief of Nongame Conservation. She also worked extensively in the environmental education field in both government and the non-profit sectors, as adjunct science faculty at a number of colleges and universities, and is a former president of the Georgia Environmental Education Alliance. Lisa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from Michigan State University and a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison."

Like the crux of much of Weinstein's previous work, the Turner Foundation's Safeguarding Habitat Program also focuses on protecting existing wildlife habitats. It does this by "investing" in proven projects at the federal and state levels, emphasizing support for wildlife protection initiatives in states; mainly South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Montana, New Mexico, and Alaska. But some of the largest grantees belie that claim.

But remember the key word in the above: "investing." Weinstein and the Turner Foundation don't look to grant money to groups who simply have a good idea. They want to invest in proven strategies that maintain wildlife ecosystems and habitat, and help them spread to more areas, offering significant protection across a wide area.

One of the largest projects receiving support from the Safeguarding Habitat Program is the Wild Salmon Center, whose mission is to identify the best wild salmon ecosystems in the Northern Pacific area. Once identified, the program attempts to understand what makes them healthy systems, and use that knowledge to develop scientific strategies for protecting them. The Wild Salmon Center's reach goes beyond the United States and Canada; it is also helping to provide protection for the Russian Far East's potentially very important watersheds, which could conceivably have a major impact on other regions.

Through Weinstein's leadership, the Turner Foundation also provides significant support for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, in the form of a $100,000 grant annually. This group takes what it calls a "holistic" ecosystem-level approach to wildlife resource management, by balancing the need for recreational activities by visitors and the economic vitality of surrounding communities with an ecologically sound approach to protecting the ecosystem on both public and private land.

Weinstein and Turner have also granted $265,000 to the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Fund and a $300,000 grant to the League of Conservation Voters, and makes annual grants of $100,000 each to the Montana-based Greater Yellowstone Coalition (to support their advocacy of a holistic approach to ecosystem-level sustainability, by focusing in a science-based management of the Yellowstone region’s public and private lands), and the Oregon-based Wild Salmon Center, in support of that group's mission to  identify and protect  the best and most important wild salmon ecosystems of the North Pacific region.