There are numerous government and private agencies that are in place to protect and oversee our natural resources and valued species. As citizens we need to realize the role we play in conservation and how we can help these agencies do their best.
MAKE RESPONSIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS
While it's heartwarming to think that just sending a check will promote conservation, it's important to know what will be done with that money. While you research public agencies that receive gifts, make sure you see a run down of how the money is spent. Most agencies in conservation rely heavily on volunteers that are willing to devote time to the cause which decreases the need for cash toward administration cost.
In general a red flag should appear if more than one third of your donation is spent on "administration". Even though the agency may do great work consider if you would rather donate to a place that places more money toward the cause.
BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE THINGS YOU SEE
If you see a crime or possible threat against the conservation effort report it. Rangers, Law Officials, and the Environmental Protection Agency can't police the entire country 24/7 They truly rely on citizens to let them know when there is trouble. This doesn't always mean big things like poaching, or dumping toxic waste, they can be small heads up on potential problems.
Unusual odors or even a notice that there are greater mosquito populations on a trail you walk on daily are indications that something is not right. It could just be that a nearby property is having septic problems or there has been a sudden change in a wetland habitat that caused a sudden major mortality rate among bug eating frogs.
BECOME A PART TIME OR OCCASIONAL VOLUNTEER
A good agency wants people who care and can do the work. Even government agencies need people to take bird counts, provide water samples, and really get out there to promote public awareness about conservation. Many efforts only require a small amount of your time.
DO YOUR PART
You don't have to go to extremes and freak out about a lost candy wrapper in the wind, or stop using pesticides completely. But do make an effort to maybe pick up that plastic bag that isn't yours blowing around in the parking lot, or perhaps try some of those organic bug deterrents on your garden and lawn. Big or small, we all play a role in conservation, and we all can steps toward a healthier environment.