SGI's 5 Programmatic Priorities

The Southeastern Grasslands Initiative (SGI) is a developing non-profit conservation organization based out of Austin Peay State University’s Center of Excellence for Field Biology (Clarksville, TN). We will step up and be a leader in Southeastern grasslands conservation at this critical time, when there is a growing realization that something must be done to reverse the tide of grassland biodiversity loss and that something must be on a scale that is of yet unparalleled. Momentum is building but we need more, and it needs focus and direction…there is no time to lose.  We have identified 5 programmatic priorities for SGI.


I. Leadership

SGI will pave the way in identifying priorities for grassland conservation across 23 states and numerous ecoregions of the southeastern U.S. and in providing solutions to achieve successful conservation using a multifaceted strategy. 

II. Resource Center

SGI will provide key resources to inform conservation of Southeastern grasslands. First, we are working with partners to develop an interactive database of Southeastern grasslands. Second, we will offer our expertise via online materials, training, courses, and consultation. Third, we are working to develop a physical headquarters at Austin Peay State University that will serve as an educational and conservation center that will feature a museum of Southern grasslands, research greenhouses, seedbank facility, botanical garden, classroom, and research facilities.

III. Education & Outreach

SGI will work with our partners across our 23-state focal region to develop a grassroots grassland conservation army. In doing so we will build local volunteer teams in dozens of cities/communities across our region. We already have more than 200 volunteers in 51 cities among 15 states.

IV. Policy & Advocacy

SGI will work with our partners and leaders from local to national levels to advocate for and to develop sound policies that promote greater awareness and enhanced conservation of our Southeastern grasslands.

V. Granting Program

The majority of current conservation funding in the Southeast is being directed toward funding the conservation of forests, wetlands, and aquatic resources. SGI is fighting to get philanthropic donors and corporate sponsors to realize that in spite of the fact that Southeastern grasslands support an overwhelming majority of the biodiversity of the Southeast, there is very little funding dedicated to grassland conservation in region. SGI aims to work with the philanthropic and corporate communities to develop a granting program administered by SGI that will fund grassland conservation projects across our 23-state region. Currently, there are no sources of funding to support much of the critical work that desperately needs to be performed. We want to fight on behalf of our dozens of partners in conservation across the southeastern U.S. to change that.