Founded in 1999, the Institute adopted a motto that serves as a corollary to Henry David Thoreau’s aphorism, In Wildness is the Preservation of the World. While Thoreau’s admonition has served as a credo for rural, pristine nature, our motto—In Livable Cities is Preservation of the Wild—reflects our work to create livable and lovable cities. By ensuring parks, trails, and natural areas are integrated into the urban landscape people will have access to nature where they live, work, and play. Creating well designed, nature-rich cities, where people want to live will, in turn, protect Thoreau’s rural landscapes.

We pursue our mission through:

Kelly Punteney

Collaboration: We maintain a lean organization by partnering with other nonprofits, government agencies, and the private sector. Since our founding we have sought to be a catalyst to create highly successful collaborations to achieve our mission.

Education: The Institute’s board and staff are highly engaged in educating elected officials, agencies, and the broader community about the economic, social, and ecological values associated with urban greenspaces through blogs, articles, field tours, and myriad other educational efforts.

Convening: One of the most effective ways to achieve our mission is to bring together like-minded organizations and agencies to share best practices, inspire one another, and create a collective agenda through symposia, conferences, regional summits, and other venues for sharing ideas.

Leadership: Our board and staff have the technical expertise, decades long experience in the public policy arena, and commitment to taking a leadership role in promoting access to nature, healthy watersheds, and an ecologically healthy urban environment in the Portland-Vancouver region.