The World’s Largest Intact Temperate Grassland.

For this updated I wanted to highlight some of the work the Nature Conservancy is undertaking in Mongolia.

Racing to raise money for non-profits is something that most riders do, and it is encouraged by race organizers the Adventurist. Since its beginning riders in the Derby have helped to raise $652,302.82 for non-profits.

When I was first accepted into the race I knew right away I wanted to work to raise funds for a non-profit (having spent my entire professional life working for non-profits this was an extremely easy decision to make). It was important to me to find an organization that was working in Mongolia so the money I was donating would go directly to supporting the people and environment that were impacted most by the race. Growing up on the Chesapeake Bay and working for The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy I have always been a strong supporter of land conservation, and the need to protect the land and water that us as humans depend on but often neglect.

The Nature Conservancy is often viewed as the gold standard in land conservation. The size and scope of the organization gives them the impact necessary to make real change happen. When I learned they had a program in Mongolia focused on land conservation and supporting nomadic cultures it was the perfect opportunity. The funds I raise for the race will go towards – Building a Sustainable Future in Mongolia, A Campaign to Protect Cultural Heritage by Conserving the World’s Largest Grassland

Grasslands are central to nature and culture in Mongolia. They span 80 percent of the country (over 300 million acres), an expanse larger than California and Texas combined, and include the world’s largest intact temperate grassland. With limited development and few roads or rail lines to disrupt migration, these lands provide a rare refuge for wide-ranging wildlife such as argali sheep, gazelles, snow leopards, saiga antelopes, wild ass and white-naped cranes.

Mongolia’s grasslands also support one of the world’s largest remaining nomadic cultures, with more than 200,000 families — approximately one-quarter of the country’s population — relying on herding livestock for their livelihoods.

Today Mongolia’s grasslands face unprecedented challenges. A flagging economy and growing outside demand for the nation’s mineral wealth has increased interest in mining, and a new government is poised to issue exploration licenses across a remarkable 20 percent of the country. Overgrazing is degrading grasslands as herders struggle to make a living while meeting growing demands for livestock products. And climate change is exacerbating drought and extreme cold weather events, which further stress ecosystems and can be deadly to wildlife and livestock.

To address these challenges, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is increasing the scope and scale of their work in the region. During the last decade, TNC worked with local partners to develop the science needed to inform the government’s extraordinary goal to protect 30 percent of the country, and they developed a model for collaborative grassland management in the Eastern Steppe. Now TNC is expanding its efforts to help communities develop economically while maintaining sustainable herding practices. And they’re continuing to inform development approaches that will help balance economic growth, livelihoods and conservation.

While intense development pressure looms, there is still optimism. With a rich nomadic culture tied to the health of their lands, Mongolians have a long history of valuing conservation and sustainable land management, and the Conservancy has the partnerships and expertise needed to help conserve grasslands important to nature and people on a national scale.

You can learn about TNCs Mongolia program here - . Thank you for supporting me in this race and supporting the important work happening in Mongolia.

Rachel Roman