WildEarth Guardians

A nonprofit organization

$11,886 raised by 85 donors

59% complete

$20,000 Goal

You can double your impact for the Wild during Colorado Gives. All donations will be matched, up to $30,000!

WildEarth Guardians envisions a world where wildlife and wild places are respected and valued and our world is sustainable for all beings. We believe in nature’s right to exist and thrive and we fight to protect what remains, restore what has been damaged, and build human communities that celebrate diversity and live in greater harmony with the natural world.

Since our founding, Guardians has centered our work on defending the rights of nature by protecting the vulnerable and voiceless and confronting the powerful people and unjust systems that stand in the way. We believe social and environmental justice are deeply intertwined, and that we can and should do more to create a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization and world.

WildEarth Guardians has four main programs:


Our Wildlife program focuses on staving off  the biodiversity crisis, protecting endangered and threatened species, and creating an ethic of coexistence between human interests and native carnivores across the West. Currently in Colorado, our main focus in the Wildlife program is bringing wolves back to the state. We are a leading advocate in ensuring that wolf coexistence measures are incorporated into both the Colorado wolf recovery plan and the public lands resource management plans—both of which will reduce conflicts and increase the number of wolves on the ground.

Wild Places

Guardians promotes healing and restoring public lands across the West while connecting large, protected landscapes for native wildlife—from grizzly bears to bighorn sheep. In Colorado, we are fighting to protect national forests from the impact of motorized vehicles and pushing to remove unmaintained roads that provide unnecessary access fragmenting critical wildlife habitat and degrading streams and rivers throughout the state. We're also challenging domestic sheep grazing allotment approvals to stop disease transmission to vulnerable, local bighorn populations.

Wild Rivers

Living rivers are vital to the diversity of life on Earth. Guardians, we fight to ensure that rivers across the West have a right to their own water. Our primary effort in the Centennial State is protecting the headwaters of the Colorado River. We are fighting new dams and diversion projects that would drain water from this already over-allocated river system, devastate irreplaceable wetlands that took centuries to develop, destroy key habitat for the Canada lynx and other imperiled species, and deplete flows available to downstream agriculture, cities, and ecosystems.

Climate & Energy

Guardians is a leading advocate in the fight to transition our nation off fossil fuels and to embrace a clean energy future. One hot spot in the West is along the Colorado Frontrange, which is suffering through a clean air crisis. We are using a diversity of tactics including legal engagement, political and administrative lobbying, communications, grassroots organizing, and state-level legislative engagement to help clean Colorado's air—and it's working. In May, we shut down a federal plan that would have allowed fracking across 35,000 acres of Colorado’s Western Slope.


WildEarth Guardians protects and restores the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West. We have four programs—Wildlife, Wild Places, Wild Rivers, and Climate & Energy—that bring people, science, and the law together in defense of the American West.

Our Wildlife Program leads the fight to end cruel and senseless wildlife management practices, defend imperiled species, and create policies to ensure that native carnivores thrive.

Our Wild Places Program protects and connects terrestrial and aquatic habitats for native species on federal public lands, while also promoting restoration of these lands, countering a legacy of logging, road building, livestock grazing, and motorized vehicle use on public lands in the West.

Our Wild Rivers Program seeks to restore clean water, healthy flows, and resilient communities—both human and non-human—in river systems across the West.

Our Climate & Energy Program is focused on defending the American West from fossil fuel extraction and advancing solutions that confront the climate crisis and shift to a fossil-fuel-free American West.

Background Statement

Founded as Forest Guardians in 1989, the original mission of WildEarth Guardians' grassroots effort was to fight a logging project on northern New Mexico's Elk Mountain in the Santa Fe National Forest. As the evidence of environmental threats continued throughout the West, Guardians’ efforts and programs expanded as well.

Since then, we've grown to protect the entire American West—with 40 staff, living in eight states across the West. Guardians is proof that a group of committed, visionary, idealistic, and passionate caretakers of the wild can take on the most daunting adversaries—and win.

Colorado is a priority state for WildEarth Guardians in our fight to protect the Wild. Below are eight critical wins or significant actions Guardians has taken in the last 24 months in and near the state:

-This summer, Guardians and our allies prevented new oil and gas leasing across 2.2 million acres of southwestern Colorado’s North Fork Valley. Now the U.S. Bureau of Land Management must supplement its environmental analysis and release an amended plan that takes into account potential harms to the climate from fossil fuel extraction. It must also evaluate at least one alternative that reduces oil and gas leasing.

-In July, Guardians and our allies sued Colorado’s Governor Jared Polis’ administration over its failure to ensure the West Elk coal mine complies with state and federal clean-air laws. The mine, located in the North Fork Valley, is the largest in Colorado and is a massive source of smog-forming volatile organic compound emissions, as well as methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

-In February, thanks in part to a Guardians lawsuit, gray wolves in most of the United States, including in Colorado, regained Federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. The small population of gray wolves that have naturally re-established themselves in Colorado are now protected.

-Last year, 58,000 acres of public land near Dinosaur National Monument were protected from damage, loss of wildlife habitat, and increased air pollution. A federal judge agreed with Guardians' and our allies and overturned a U.S. Bureau of Land Management decision to sell the lands for fracking and drilling—which would have worsened the air quality and increased smog along the Front Range.

-Also in 2021, WildEarth Guardians and partners took legal action against the Forest Service and their revised Land Management Plan for the Rio Grande National Forest. We contest that the Forest Service is failing to adequately protect the endangered Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly and the federally threatened Canada lynx, and failing to adequately manage over-snow vehicle travel on the Forest.

-In April 2020, Colorado Parks and Wildlife made positive steps by banning wildlife killing contests targeting many of the state's treasured wildlife including coyotes, foxes, and prairie dogs. In these contests, participants competed for the highest body count or who drew the most blood and were then rewarded for their butchery. Colorado became the sixth state in the country to ban these cruel events and Guardians is working tirelessly to ban them throughout the West and eventually nationwide.

-In 2020 Guardians also successfully filed suit against the Trump administration's gutting Clean Water Act protections, which give polluters free rein to dump pesticides, mining waste, and other pollutants into unprotected rivers, streams, wetlands, and more.

-Guardians' 2020 lawsuit forced the Trump administration to review climate implications of selling 1.8 million acres of public lands for fracking across the American West. Now the Bureau of Land Management will have to transparently address the true climate footprint of additional proposals to drill in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming before moving forward.

Organization Data


Organization name

WildEarth Guardians

other names

Guardians, Forest Guardians, Sinapu

Year Established





3798 Marshall St. Suite 8
Wheatridge, CO 80033


301 N. Guadalupe, Suite 201
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Service areas

Jefferson County, CO, US


Adams County, CO, US

Boulder County, CO, US

Summit County, CO, US





Social Media