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WWF works to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife, collaborating with partners from local to global levels in nearly 100 countries.
Globally, we’re facing some enormous challenges: the loss of biodiversity; a global health and economic crisis due to COVID-19; and the climate crisis. The loss of nature is at the forefront of all these problems. Conservation is one of the most cost-effective solutions to these interconnected crises—and the United States government has a responsibility to lead the way. For decades, the US government has invested in international conservation programs protecting nature for the benefit of our nation’s economy and national security. It’s an issue that the American public and both Republicans and Democrats strongly support.
Every spring, WWF brings supporters from across the country to meet directly with their representatives and staff in support of these critical conservation priorities in the federal budget. With the pandemic closing the physical halls of Congress, we moved online. While this year's Lobby Day was different from years past, participants carried the same energy and passion to their virtual meetings.
107 WWF participants
130 meetings with
Reid, a high school student, has participated in Lobby Day every year since 2017. This year he led the Maryland delegation, which included his brother Davis, a seventh-grader and first-time Lobby Day participant.
“Even if it was over a virtual format, I think that it was a really great experience and really important for us as constituents to make our voices heard. I think that it was really important for us to get out and spread this message of conservation because I think a lot of the time some representatives and senators may forget that they are representing us in Congress and it’s important to remind us that since we as constituents support these ideas, that they should, too. And I think it makes a huge difference for them to hear from us.
I was very happy to have my brother come with us because I have been trying to get him to come with us since last year when he was in 6th grade which was the first year that I took part. The voice of the youth is one of the strongest. I also appreciated that Lobby Day being virtual this year meant that someone like my brother, who may not be as comfortable in person, felt good about participating.”
“It is important to understand the success of Lobby Day as more than ‘the ask.’ Yes, we all went in with a plan of action based on achieving a specific goal: increase international conservation funding. But what we actually did goes beyond that. Part of WWF’s vision is to reconcile the needs of human beings and the needs of others that share the Earth through a belief in possibilities.
Possibilities. Planet. People.
We advanced WWF’s conservation mission by leveraging our personal experiences, our knowledge, our passions—and quite a bit of studying—to engage in conversations about funding and policies that impact the planet and all of its inhabitants on a daily basis. We told our elected officials that the people they are accountable to care about conservation and habitat restoration. We shared stories from our own communities about the negative impacts human actions can have on ecosystems—in some cases tragic stories of their disappearance. When I applied to be a Panda Ambassador, I wrote about my commitment to raising up voices. Our planet communicates silently, in actions rather than words. People need to be vocal about the challenges our planet faces. WWF Lobby Day gives people the opportunity to raise their voices about the possible futures of our planet.”
“The main source of surprise and joy for me was how attentive most of the legislators/staff were in listening to their constituents' concerns. It really showed me that talking to the people who represent me about issues that matter to me really pushes them to care about those same issues. One of the things I was really proud and satisfied with was that I believe we successfully demonstrated how conservation is a bipartisan issue and how rooting for conservation can be beneficial to every single Representative or Senator’s jurisdiction. I expected talking to those who didn’t possess the same political compass as me to be more difficult however I realized that conservation affects the lives of every single one of us and there is nothing political or controversial about increasing the global conservation budget.
This Lobby Day, I invited my twin sister to participate as well. Participating in our first Lobby Day together was so much fun! We practiced our talking points with each other, discussed what happened in our meetings during the breaks, and indulged in a nice big bowl of ice cream after our last meeting. Sharing this experience was truly amazing and we still have conversations about everything we learned and experienced. A seemingly daunting Lobby Day ended up becoming the best bonding and learning experience one could’ve asked for.”
“I came away from the experience deeply appreciative and grateful for our democratic form of government which encourages citizen input, and for WWF for giving me the opportunity to advocate for the environmental issues to which I am so committed. We gave voice to our causes and concerns, and our voices were received in the Congressional offices—and that is what democracy is about. Overall, I found the experience and interactions rewarding, uplifting, and inspirational, and will quite likely try to participate again next year.”