WildEarth Guardians is a New Mexico-based environmentalist advocacy group. The group lobbies and litigates for environmental policies across several western states. It was founded in 1989 as Forest Guardians.
The organization receives federal and state contracts; in 2019, it reported to the Justice Department that one of its employees and a vendor had cheated taxpayers unbeknownst to leadership. 
WildEarth Guardians is an environmentalist advocacy group based in Santa Fe, New Mexico that lobbies and litigates across several western states opposing natural resource projects.
Originally known as the Forest Guardians, the organization began in 1989 to oppose logging in Northern New Mexico. It began an endangered species program in 2001 and a climate program in 2007. 
The organization expanded its influence in the west by merging with other green groups. In 2008, Forest Guardians merged with the Colorado environmental nonprofit Sinapu to form WildEarth Guardians. In 2013, WildEarth Guardians merged with Wildlands CPR, a Montana environmental nonprofit, and with the Utah Environmental Coalition that year. 
In 2019, WildEarth Guardians executive director John Horning said state and federal contracts make up about $1 million of WildEarth Guardians’ $4.7 million budget.  In 2017, it reported receiving $428,690 in government grants. 
A number of environmentalist and far-left foundations support WildEarth Guardians; since 2009, the Wilburforce Foundation, 444S Foundation, Wyss Foundation, New-Land Foundation, and Firedoll Foundation have all contributed to WildEarth Guardians. 
WildEarth Guardians is among the liberal groups suing the Trump administration for changes it made to the Endangered Species Act. Other litigants included Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity. 
WildEarth Guardians helped to stop a Wyoming logging project in June 2019 at the Medicine Bow Landscape Analysis Vegetation Project, which covered 850,000 acres. The proposed logging project would have logged 360,000 acres of the land. The U.S. Forest Service gave into pressure from the Guardians and withdrew the project. 
In May 2019, the group won a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judgment holding that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management illegally approved a natural gas extraction project for the Greater Chaco region. 
In another court victory for the Guardians, a federal judge ruled in March 2019 that the BLM didn’t quantify the climate change impact of oil and gas leasing for a proposed 300,000-acre extraction project in Wyoming. 
In January 2019, the Guardians blocked the U.S. Forest Service from adding 137 miles of new off-highway vehicle trails at the Ochoco National Forest in Oregon. 
The group won a 2017 judgement in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to prevent the mining of coal in the ground in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. 
In 2011, the group, teaming with Center for Biological Diversity, reached a legal settlement with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that pushed the agency to designate 200 more species as endangered or threatened by 2016. 
In 1996, the organization’s lawsuit stopped logging on 21 million acres of National Forest in the Southwest. The same litigation also helped protect the Mexican spotted owl. 
The organization supports a plan to generate 100 percent of energy from environmentalist-approved resources by 2035. 
John Horning is the executive director of WildEarth Guardians. After graduating Colorado College in 1989, where he played football, Horning cycled cross-country and worked for several environmentalist groups before moving to New Mexico and joining the staff of WildEarth Guardians in 1994. 
Carol Norton is the organization’s associate director. Before taking the position, she previously worked for the information technology group of Intel Corporation in Rio Ranch, New Mexico. She also previously helped run a family software business with her father, worked for Apple Computer, and worked in project management for the National Indian Business Association. She is a graduate of Brown University. 
Mimsi Milton is the president of the board of directors of the organization, after a career in journalism and academia. The graduate of the University of Wisconsin worked for PBS, Parent and Child Magazine, the Baltimore Jewish Times, and freelanced for the Washington Post. She later took a position as associate director of development for the Sidwell Friends School, an elite private school in the nation’s capital, and later became associate director of development and alumni affairs for the Kent Denver School in Englewood, Colorado. 
WildEarth Guardians reported allegedly fraudulent overbilling by a longtime employee Jim Matison, director of the restoration program, and outside contractor, Jeff Hamm of Colorado-based Timberline LLC., to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque in May 2019.
The fraud reportedly occurred in state and federal contracts awarded to WildEarth Guardians, for projects such as planting native cottonwoods and willows, reducing water temperatures and preventing damaging algae. The organization completed all the contracted work, but then fake work was added. Horning said the group also reported the matter to inspectors general for the U.S. Interior and Agriculture departments and the Environmental Protection Agency, which had awarded contracts to the group.