Unfortunately, it’s becoming harder and harder for small media outlets, especially newspapers, to devote resources to such projects. As staffs and budgets shrink, or publications simply fold, we will undoubtedly see fewer stories about issues such as the health of local ecosystems and wildlife populations. That is a shame because, according to a 2006 Pew Research Center report, roughly nine out of ten people who read newspapers read local and community newspapers. And if they’re not covering backyard conservation issues, who will?

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Katherine Bagley is a science, environment and health journalist based in New York City. She is currently working as a reporter for Audubon Magazine.