about the directory

Although Eco-USA's environmental organizations directory includes links to the websites of thousands of groups around the country, it is far from complete. It's not always up-to-date, either. Websites come and go; sometime they get hacked or let their domains expire and next thing you know the link points to something inappropriate.

And of course new organizations form, older ones disband or merge. As always, I appreciate your help. If you know of a necessary change, or want to suggest a listing, please let me know.

Now and then someone writes and wants to know my criteria for inclusion in this directory. I don't have any formal written criteria, don't plan to develop any, and am unlikely to expend energy arguing about the topic. However, I'll offer a few observations based on my 15+ years experience maintaining this resource.

I'm unlikely to link to Facebook pages, especially if visitors need a Facebook account to visit. Same for sites on free hosting services, or sites that exist as subdirectories of some other site, unless the parent site is an umbrella organization with local chapters. I still link to Wordpress sites, for now.

I understand that money is tight and folks are trying to build websites as cheaply as possible, but past experience has shown that such sites tend to disappear or relocate at very high rates, which creates a maintenance burden for me and/or a directory larded with dead links.

I'm especially keen on local organizations that consist of and rely on individual, local members, and not so much on "send your money to us in Washington, D.C. or San Francisco" groups (see the "National Organizations" listings for those). I tend not to list governmental organizations, though there are probably still exceptions somewhere in the directory. So with all that in mind, if an organization seems to fit into the spirit of the directory, I include it.

Another issue frequently arises as I periodically check and update links. I use McAfee to protect against all sorts of bad stuff on the web, and frequently encounter sites that McAfee advises against visiting. In some cases, I see the same warnings when Googling sites.

In days past I used to spend a great deal of time and energy locating contact information for the owners of those sites and trying to let them know that, for whatever reason, their sites were being flagged. In other cases, it appears the sites have been taken over by other parties and used to redirect traffic to dubious destinations.

Of course, many of the folks who maintain sites were glad to be told of the problem. Others couldn't or wouldn't believe there was an issue. They might have been right - I was only reporting what I saw - but finally decided that the incredulity, requests that I somehow fix the problem, or dismissive responses I so often encountered as a bearer of bad news weren't typically worth the energy expended.

So now I just delete those entries when I discover an issue and move on. I'm always open to adding previously deleted links back to the directory, but I don't maintain a list of sites I've deleted for such reasons and don't plan to.

I'm often asked about listing hunting and/or fishing groups. I don't have anything against them; in fact, they are often very important in conserving land that benefits many species, not just their target species. However, I don't include many listings for hunting and fishing clubs and will probably gradually winnow out those to which I still link. Trying to keep thousands of links current is already time-consuming enough, so I've concluded that I'll leave the job of maintaining a directory of hunting and fishing groups to someone else.

Best of luck in your endeavors!

Mike Habeck