When looking at our world today, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. I definitely do. And to often have that feeling that you want to help save our planet and the environment in some way but you are not sure exactly how to do it.The outdoor industry is one industry that should have the answers to these questions at their finger tips. We are actively encouraging our consumers to get out there and enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. With that encouragement we should also be helping individuals find a way to give back, protect, and restore the places they are recreating in. And we, those who work in the outdoor industry, should be the ones setting the example.
This past week the outdoor industry and The Conservation Alliance answered the call. On Friday January 9th, The Conservation Alliance launched the first ConservationNEXT Backyard Collective event. ConservationNEXT is a program of The Conservation Alliance working to connect individuals in the outdoor industry with the work of organizations that receive financial support from the Alliance. The Backyard Collective is a roaming series of on the ground events that connects outdoor company employees to volunteer opportunities run by environmental organizations in their area.
At 9:00 am employees from The North Face, Camelbak, Clifbar, REI, Mountain Hardwear, Ahnu Footwear, and Wilderness Press joined together at Martin Luther King Shoreline Park in Oakland, California to help restore the native wetlands. Save The Bay, a local bay area nonprofit, helped organize the volunteers who spent the morning collecting 103 pounds of trash and the afternoon planting 864 native seedlings in the park.
Volunteers gathered for a midday barbeque and volunteer fair where representatives from Conservation Alliance grantees: California Wilderness Coalition, Friends of the River, Friends of the Inyo, and The Wilderness Society shared information about their organization and ways for volunteers to further their environmental conservation efforts.
"The event was a great success" said Brook Shinsky, co founder of ConservationNEXT and employee of The North Face. "ConservationNEXT set out to engage individuals of the outdoor industry with environmental organizations in their communities. The Backyard Collective is a great example of companies and people working together to not only further support the work of Conservation Alliance grantees but to get out in their own backyard and help support local environmental initiatives. It was a truly inspiring day."
ConservationNEXT.com provides people with opportunities to take online action in support of conservation. The Backyard Collective moves that action to the field, and helps people get their hands dirty in their own communities. Be sure to visit ConservationNEXT.com, become a NEXTer, to find out when the next Backyard Collective is coming to your hometown.