Collaboration between partners leads to the creation and renewal of the young forest habitat that so many kinds of wildlife need. Partners pool resources, efficiently use funds, and devise new and innovative approaches to conservation. They conduct strong science to constantly improve our knowledge of how and when wild animals use different habitats – and where we must create young forest to benefit all wildlife.

Please scroll down our list of partners below. To learn how to add your group’s name to this growing coalition, contact conservation professionals working to make and renew young forest in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Midwest.
Back To Top

Federal Agencies

"WMI and its partners have helped halt the rangewide decline in the population of the American woodcock by making habitat over the last decade," says Dan McAuley, USGS biologist. "Based on Singing Ground Survey data, we've seen no decline during the last 10 to 12 years. Through several telemetry monitoring studies, we've observed a dramatic increase in woodcock numbers in areas where habitat is actively being created." The USGS is a science organization that provides impartial information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, the natural resources we rely on, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and usable information.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service and its partners use Farm Bill conservation programs to improve wildlife habitat through sustainable agriculture, including forestry activities and forest management practices. The NRCS works with private landowners and land managers to create habitat for a wide range of mammals, birds, and reptiles that need young forest.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's mission is to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The agency's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program offers technical and financial assistance to private landowners for voluntary habitat creation and restoration on their lands. The Service also manages the National Wildlife Refuge System, protecting 150 million acres of land and water nationwide for wildlife habitat and public enjoyment, with at least one refuge in each state. The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program provides grants to states for habitat acquisition and management, research, species and habitat monitoring, education, and other conservation efforts that help wildlife.

Native American Tribes

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, known as the People of the First Light, resides in Mashpee on Upper Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Tribe’s Natural Resources Department continues the Mashpee Wampanoags' role as stewards of the Tribe's ancestral lands.

Non-Governmental Organizations

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust was founded in 1966 to conserve the natural, scenic, and historic land and water resources of Lyme, Connecticut. The organization maintains hiking trails and leases agricultural lands; acquires and manages properties; promotes scientific study of natural resources; and hosts educational events for its members and the public. Of the New England cottontail restoration effort and the Young Forest Project, LLCT Environmental Director Sue Cope says: "Providing and protecting habitat for wildlife is a key part of the LLCT mission, and we believe these habitat restoration initiatives are essential to the future of wildlife conservation."

The American Forest Foundation (AFF) is a national forest conservation organization that works with and through family woodland owners to sustain healthy wood supplies, clean water, and habitat for at-risk wildlife species. Through recent research, AFF discovered that Northeastern forests are lacking both necessary young forest and older, more-mature forest habitats. With the right tools, information, and resources, family woodland owners across the region can help enhance these forest habitat components for the many bird and other wildlife species that depend on them.

Founded in 2003, Woodcock Limited is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the welfare of the American woodcock. The group works with local, state, and national organizations and agencies to create, restore, and maintain the young forest habitat that provides cover and food for woodcock and many other kinds of wildlife. Woodcock Limited participates in habitat and species research and supports the development and use of educational materials to increase public awareness and understanding of the American woodcock and its habitat needs.

Woodcock Limited focuses on creating a mosaic of sustainable habitat for both resident woodcock populations and woodcock during their spring and fall migrations. Over 60 additional wild species benefit from this work, including ruffed grouse, wild turkey, bobwhite quail, golden-winged warbler, and white-tailed deer. As a relatively new conservation organization, Woodcock Limited has a need for new members and is looking to form new chapters in states and provinces within the migratory corridors of the woodcock. The organization currently has chapters in New England, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and Louisiana, with more states working toward establishing chapters.

The WCS Queens Zoo is in Queens, New York. As part of the effort to conserve the New England cottontail, the zoo breeds rabbits in captivity for release into the wild in areas of suitable habitat. Queens Zoo is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society. WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

The Wells Reserve at Laudholm is a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Wells Reserve operates programs in coastal research and monitoring, environmental learning and decision-maker training, and land and water resource management. The Wells Reserve also manages the woodlands and wetlands, the dunes and grasslands, and the flora and fauna at Laudholm Trust.

Roger Williams Park Zoo is supported and managed by the Rhode Island Zoological Society and is owned by the city of Providence. The zoo works to educate visitors and to conserve the earth’s animals, plants, and other natural resources. Since 2010, captive breeding specialists have been breeding New England cottontails at the zoo, to boost the numbers and genetic diversity of existing wild populations and to allow conservationists to start new cottontail populations on lands where rabbit habitat is being made.

Audubon Connecticut – an operating unit of the National Audubon Society – is one of Connecticut's premier conservation and environmental education organizations. Audubon Connecticut works to carry out the Audubon mission, protecting birds, other wildlife, and their habitats through education, research, advocacy, and land protection.

Connecticut Audubon Society conserves Connecticut’s environment through science-based education and advocacy focused on the state’s bird populations and habitats. CAS manages 19 wildlife sanctuaries, preserves over 2,600 acres of open space, and educates over 200,000 children and adults annually.

The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to provide public enjoyment, conserve habitat and working lands, and sustain communities. Founded in 1974 to protect significant landscapes in New York State, OSI has partnered in the protection of nearly 2.2 million acres in North America from Alabama up the spine of the Appalachians to southeastern Canada.

Audubon New York was established in 1996 to support National Audubon Society activities in New York State. Audubon's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity.

Quail Forever is dedicated to the conservation of quail, pheasants, and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education, and land management policies and programs.

Pheasants Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail, and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education, and land management policies and programs.

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation works to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, medical research and child well-being, and environmental conservation.

The Wildlife Conservation Society works to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. WCS currently manages about 500 conservation projects in more than 60 countries.

American Bird Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC works to safeguard the rarest bird species, restore habitats, and reduce threats, unifying and strengthening the bird conservation movement.

The Quality Deer Management Association is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to ensuring the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat, and our nation's hunting heritage. QDMA promotes education of hunters and non-hunters toward a better understanding of wildlife management and the stewardship and appreciation of all wildlife.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is an independent, nonprofit organization responsible for maintaining, overseeing, and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program, whose unique fiber-sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers' lands.

White Memorial Foundation takes in 4,000 acres of fields, water, and woodlands in the hills of northwestern Connecticut. The area includes the White Memorial Conservation Center, an environmental education center and nature museum.

Created by Congress in 1984, NFWF is one of the world’s largest conservation grant-makers, working with both the public and private sectors to protect and restore our nation’s fish, wildlife, plants, and habitats. The Foundation supports conservation efforts in all 50 states, U.S. territories, and abroad. Grants – more than 12,600 since the Foundation's founding – are made through a competitive process and awarded to some of the nation’s largest environmental organizations, as well as some of the smallest. NFWF focuses on using the best science to get results and build a better future for the world.

The Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society strives to preserve our sporting traditions by creating healthy forests for ruffed grouse and American woodcock. RGS biologists work with private landowners and state and federal agencies to improve lands for grouse, woodcock, and other wildlife that need similar habitats. Local RGS chapters organize and run habitat-related, hunting, and fundraising events.

The National Wild Turkey Federation is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our nation's hunting heritage. Through partnerships with state, federal, and provincial wildlife agencies, NWTF has helped restore wild turkey populations throughout North America. "We try to create young forest for a broad range of wildlife from woodcock and warblers to black bears, while keeping the habitat needs of wild turkeys in mind," says Doug Little, NWTF Northeast conservation field supervisor. "That includes making thick cover for hens to nest in. The Young Forest Project is vital to wildlife habitat conservation. A tremendous number of wildlife species rely on young forests for critical aspects of their life cycles. Partners and landowners working together to create young forest cover are making significant progress, and we are proud to be a part of this team."

The Wildlife Management Institute strives to restore and ensure the well-being of North American wildlife populations through exacting science and carefully crafted partnerships. WMI endorses the validity and importance of science-based wildlife management and seeks to promote biological diversity through applying the principles of ecology.


Many partners are working to save the New England cottontail across this rabbit's six-state range: federal and state agencies, wildlife organizations, private companies, towns and municipalities, land trusts, universities, Native American tribes, and foresters helping people manage their land. Partners seek to create young forest and shrubland so that the New England cottontail continues to thrive in its native region.

Private Corporations

Northeast Forest and Fire Management, LLC, specializes in managing pine barrens and other early successional habitats. The company, based in Sandwich, MA, works to restore and maintain rare and declining habitats by preparing forest and fire management plans, managing timber harvests, conducting vegetation treatments (including invasive species management), and helping to plan and carry out prescribed burns. Staff members also present workshops and training on a variety of wildland fire and land management topics. Clients include land trusts, municipalities, federal and state agencies, and numerous private landowners.

The Lyme Timber Company LP is a private timberland investment management organization that focuses on the acquisition and sustainable management of lands with unique conservation values. The Lyme Timber Company is a recognized leader in sustainable forest management and is committed to practicing high-quality forest stewardship, with particular attention to conserving soil, water, and wildlife resources.

Private Land Trusts

The Monterey Preservation Land Trust works to preserve natural resources and open spaces principally in the Town of Monterey in Berkshire County, western Massachusetts. MPLT focuses on maintaining productive farmland; protecting waterways, ponds, and lakes; and setting aside forestland for multiple recreational activities.

Narrow River Land Trust works cooperatively with private owners and local communities in the Narrow River watershed to protect water and agricultural resources, wildlife habitat, and open space for recreation. Through conservation easements, donations, and fee aquisition of land, the group ensures that land and resources are protected now and for future generations.

The Nantucket Conservation Foundation is a non-profit land trust that owns about 9,000 acres of protected land on the island of Nantucket, 30 miles off the southern coast of Cape Cod. Its mission is to assist in the preservation of Nantucket’s character by permanently conserving, maintaining and managing natural areas and habitats and to encourage an appreciation of and interest in the island’s natural resources. The Foundation’s Department of Science and Stewardship undertakes habitat restoration and management, studying the effects of these activities on both rare and invasive plant and animal populations, and conducts research that contributes to the development of property conservation management plans.

The Scarborough Land Trust conserves land for people, for wildlife - forever. The Scarborough Land Trust’s mission is to conserve land where natural resources, scenic vistas, and historical significance offer unique value to the local community. To date, the Land Trust has protected more than 1,200 acres in Scarborough for public benefit.

Avalonia Land Conservancy is a land trust in southeastern Connecticut dedicated to acquiring and conserving natural areas. "We realize that actively managing our preserves is essential for creating a diversity of habitats, including a young forest component," says Beth Sullivan, Stonington Town Committee Chair and Steward for ALC. "We're working to help all wildlife, and to promote the future health of the land and all species upon it." ALC holds more than 3,400 acres of land, preserved in perpetuity as natural open space, and believes it is essential to protect natural resources for the benefit of wildlife, our present generation, and generations yet to come.

Orenda Wildlife Land Trust is a private nonprofit working on Cape Cod and throughout Massachusetts. Orenda acquires land to be held in perpetuity as wildlife sanctuaries, and assists others in protecting open space for wildlife. Orenda manages 14 wildlife sanctuaries totaling 330 acres and has been a partner with other land trusts in protecting nearly 800 acres of land.

The Trustees of Reservations preserve, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts. The Trustees care for more than 100 special places – more than 25,000 acres.

Berkshire Natural Resources Council is a non-profit land conservation organization working throughout the Berkshires in Massachusetts to protect farms, forests, streams, and ridgelines – the great landscape features that give the region its clean water, fresh air, local produce, healthy wildlife, and outstanding recreational opportunities. BNRC owns and manages 8,600 acres and protects an additional 10,011 acres through conservation restrictions.

York Land Trust and its members value the need for a healthy natural environment to ensure the social, economic, and overall well-being of the Greater York/Mount Agamenticus Region of Southern Maine. York Land Trust works to conserve and protect lands of ecological, historic, scenic, agricultural, and cultural significance.

Becket Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization that owns and operates an historic quarry site and a forest preserve in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. It was founded by a group of citizens concerned with protecting the Town of Becket's rural character, natural resources, and ecologically sensitive areas.

Working from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land offers a range of services to meet the conservation needs of the 21st century. The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, so that everyone has the chance to connect with nature, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come.

State Agencies

Training facilities for the Massachusetts National Guard are located on Upper Cape Cod at Camp Edwards and Otis Air Force Base. Camp Edwards includes areas of scrub oak that are home to what is probably the healthiest population of New England cottontails, a species whose range has contracted and whose numbers have fallen over the last half-century. Staff biologists use prescribed burning to create dense habitat for cottontails and other wildlife. By monitoring rabbits equipped with radio-telemetry collars, the researchers study how New England cottontails use and move about in scrub oak and pitch pine habitats.

The Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources is part of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The Division strives to provide the people of New York the opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of the wildlife of the state, now and in the future.

The Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies works to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in 17 eastern states. Working together, the Association’s member agencies ensure that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice in the region.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife, in the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, works to ensure that the freshwater, marine, and wildlife resources of the state are conserved and managed for equitable and sustainable use.

The Department manages Connecticut's wildlife to maintain stable, healthy populations compatible with both habitat carrying capacity and existing land use practices. The Wildlife Division, in cooperation with other partners, oversees a Young Forest and Shrubland Initiative to help restore those important habitats.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, also known as MassWildlife, is responsible for the conservation – including restoration, protection, and management – of fish and wildlife resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the public. The Division works to balance the needs of people and wildlife so that wildlife will be available for everyone's enjoyment today and for future generations.

“Many different kinds of wildlife have been declining for decades because of an ever-dwindling amount of young forest in the Granite State,” notes habitat biologist Jim Oehler with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. “We work with our conservation partners to actively manage forests through timber harvesting, mowing, and prescribed fire, in order to create important young forests and shrublands. We firmly believe that support from private landowners and the general public is imperative in our efforts to safeguard our state’s biodiversity, and to keep common wildlife common and help bring back animals whose populations have been falling.”

The Department carries out a wide variety of conservation programs focused on maintaining abundant game resources, as well as managing non-game wildlife and restoring endangered species. The Department's mission includes protecting and enhancing Maine's inland fisheries and wildlife, while at the same time providing for the wise use and enjoyment of those highly valued resources now and in the future.

Universities and Colleges

The College of Environment and Life Sciences at the University of Rhode Island strives for excellence in teaching, research, and service. The Wildlife Genetics and Ecology Laboratory (WGEL) is a conservation genetics, population genomics, and applied ecology laboratory in the Natural Resources Science Department at URI. The WGEL is funded by and works closely with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife to help inform management decisions for wildlife. The lab uses genetic tools to support management decisions for captive-bred New England cottontails housed at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, RI, and Queens Zoo in Queens, NY. The WGEL also uses genetic tools to estimate the population size and gene flow of wild New England cottontail populations, and uses applied ecology techniques to study the diet, habitat, and movements of wild New England cottontails.

The University of New Hampshire's Woodlands and Natural Areas Committee manages the university's woodlands and natural areas for educational purposes, research opportunities, and public benefit to the students and citizens of New Hampshire and beyond.

“New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the country,” says Haley Andreozzi, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Wildlife Outreach Coordinator. “More than 80 percent of those forests are owned by private landowners, so we depend on these individuals to provide wildlife habitat and help manage our state’s forests. Extension foresters and wildlife specialists provide research-based education to landowners, helping them make informed decisions concerning their land, which often include managing for a diversity of wildlife habitat. Creating and renewing young forest provides important habitat that is currently underrepresented on the landscape, and helps in our efforts to keep common wildlife common and to conserve wildlife whose numbers have been falling.”