Outstanding Partnerships: KEEN and Oregon Wild; Redefining Corporate Engagement

Photo: Daniel Pierce

KEEN has redefined what corporate engagement means for Oregon Wild.  While many large companies tend to shy away from controversial issues, KEEN dives right in.  KEEN has used its resources and contacts in Portland, OR to both support Oregon Wild's efforts and draw new supporters into the organization.

KEEN has been incredibly involved with Oregon Wild, providing both financial and organizational support.  KEEN awarded Oregon Wild a two year, $10,000 grant directed toward advertising, recruiting and training volunteers to lead the Oregon Wild Hikes Program.  The Hikes Program connects the general public with places Oregon Wild is working to protect and providing exposure to wild land advocacy to a large cross-section of people.

KEEN has also contributed incentives to new and continuing supporters of Oregon Wild, providing KEEN shoes as a reward to volunteers and donors who make a significant commitment of time or financial support.

KEEN has held a number of community events for Oregon Wild and provided discounts at their Portland retail store, "The Garage", as a way to drive attendance to these events.  During one such event, KEEN used social media channels to promote Oregon Wild's work by offering customers the opportunity to make a donation by simply saying "Oregon Wild" at checkout.  This week-long campaign netted more than $2,000 in contributions.

KEEN has also been a leader in using their business voice to stress the importance of protected wild places for a healthy economy.  KEEN has been able to educate other Portland-based businesses and grown support for organizations like Oregon Wild around the region.

KEEN's engagement with Oregon Wild is an example of how companies can leverage their resources and connections to support conservation work on every level.

VICTORY: 55,000 acres on the Roan Plateau Protected from Oil & Gas Development

Roan Plateau East Fork Canyon        Roan Plateau, East Fork Canyon

In 2008, the Conservation Alliance funded The Campaign to Save Roan Plateau and their efforts to secure lasting protection for the Roan Plateau's spectacular, undeveloped public lands.  For the past four years, The Campaign to Save Roan Plateau, along with other Conservation Alliance grantees including Rocky Mountain Wild and Colorado Mountain Club, have worked with a diverse coalition of sportsmen, wildlife, recreation and conservation organizations, as well as with local governments and citizens, to protect the Roan Plateau from the impacts of natural gas drilling. 

Last week a federal judge in Denver handed down a ruling on a lawsuit to protect the top of the Roan Plateau from oil and gas drilling.  Judge Marcia Krieger found that the Bureau of Land Management failed to look at all the environmental impacts from opening the top of the Roan Plateau to drilling and failed to consider alternative plans, such as protecting the outstanding natural values on the Roan.  This ruling results in the protection of 55,000 acres of public land.

This ruling is a huge success and confirms what conservation organizations and local citizens have been saying all along:  the Roan Plateau is a unique and biologically rich place which deserves careful consideration before being compromised by roads, pipelines, and tanker trucks.  The Roan Plateau is one of the top biological "hotspots" in Colorado, housing rare wildflowers, great mule deer herds, and one of the last genetically pure strains of Colorado River cutthroat trout.  A second look by the BLM before they lease it is a victory for the beautiful wildlife and scenery that grace Colorado's West Slope.

 "This is a victory for the people and wildlife of Colorado who value clean water and open space.  The BLM now has a chance to go back and fix the problems with this plan to protect these values," said Scott Braden, Conservation Director of the Colorado Mountain Club.

For more than 25 years, REI and Appalachian Mountain Club have been partners with complementary missions.

       Trail Maintenance Workshop with REI and AMC

Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and Recreational Equipment, Inc (REI) have been working together since 1987.  This long lasting partnership is due in large part to their complementary missions.  AMC promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of mountains, forests, waters and trails of the Appalachian region, while REI seeks to inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. 

An outdoor business giving back to the outdoors.

A conservation organization protecting the places we play. 

The relationship between REI and AMC represents an example of how an outdoor business and an environmental non-profit can have a mutually beneficial partnership. 

REI has provided grants, in-kind donations, and matching employee gifts, along with sponsoring in-store events to benefit the work of the Appalachian Mountain Club. 

REI's support doesn't stop with financial support.  Vice President of REI Gear and Apparel, Lee Fromson, has served on AMC's Board of Advisors since 2006, lending a business voice and working to further the role of AMC in the Appalachian region.

REI has also worked closely with AMC to develop the next generation of adventurers. For many years, local REI stores in the Boston area actively supported the AMC's Youth Opportunities Program a youth development initiative that engages more than 20,000 at-risk urban youth in outdoor wilderness adventures each year. More recently, REI stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have nominated AMC for grants to support volunteer trails skills and stewardship training sessions for adults.  

As a result of REI's support and involvement, AMC has been able to expand programs, educate and inspire more individuals, and protect the Northeast's last wild places – giving REI's customers outdoor spaces in which to recreate and explore.

Take Action Tuesday: Friends of Nevada Wilderness Partners with KEEN Footwear to Clean Up Mt. Charleston

       Photo: Mark Vollmer

Conservation Alliance Grantee, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, is teaming up with the Conservation Alliance Pinnacle Member, KEEN, and the Zappos Family to give picnic and camping areas in the Mt. Charleston Wilderness a makeover. The Mt Charleston Wilderness is located in the Spring Mountains of Southern Nevada.

Over 100 volunteers will be taking part in this stewardship day, preparing five popular recreation areas within the Mt. Charleston Wilderness for the summer season.

"We love seeing all the volunteers from KEEN and the Zappos Family out here," said Kurt Kuznicki, Southern Nevada Program Director for Friends of Nevada Wilderness. "It's going to be great weather, a great day to make a difference volunteering in the wild!"

At the end of the day, Friends of Nevada Wilderness will have an awards ceremony to honor last field season's top volunteers from the Zappos Family, Danielle Cotte and Elyse Briski. Volunteers will also be treated to a Dutch oven cooking demonstration and delicious samples prepared by Stewardship Program Director Pat Bruce.

This is the third year Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the US Forest Service has partnered with KEEN and Zappos for a day of restoration in Mt. Charleston. The annual project is sponsored by the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership.

Check out the official photos and video from the day at on Thursday morning!

How you can take action to protect Nevada's last wild places:

Protect Nevada's Wild Forests – Take action to help Friends work with the Forest Service to protect it's remaining wild roadless areas.

Defend Gold Butte – Here is your chance to help defend the wild beauty of southern Nevada's 350,000-acre Gold Butte region.

Other Opportunities

You can also make a difference by joining other great folks on wilderness stewardship trips where you learn to heal the land (and have a good time!).

More Volunteer Opportunities – Use your skills or contacts to help protect Nevada's wild places.

CLIF Bar and Winter Wildlands Alliance Partner Up To Strengthen The Voices of Backcountry Skiers and Snowshoers

CLIF Bar and WWA

For the last five years, the partnership between Winter Wildlands Alliance (WWA) and CLIF Bar has been strengthening the voices of backcountry skiers, snowshoers and others who enjoy quiet winter recreation. 

This partnership goes above and beyond; providing in-kind product for partners and events, cash sponsorship of outreach activities and awareness raising through joint marketing campaigns. 

This is a true partnership – two organizations working side-by-side to make a difference in the opportunities available for winter recreation and protecting the places we play.

CLIF Bar's Meet the Moment Campaign, an interactive community-driven initiative encouraging CLIF Bar fans to share photos of their defining" moments" , raised awareness of Winter Wildlands Alliance, funds for the organization and culminated in a Day of Action to benefit winter recreation opportunities for two key wilderness areas.   CLIF Bar employees, Winter Wildlands staff and local volunteers joined forces to work on the Winter Wilderness Stewardship Project, an effort to promote a better backcountry experience for all winter travelers.  The crew got their hands dirty, digging sign-post holes, marking boundaries and installing educational kiosks at trailheads near Idaho's Jedediah Smith Wilderness and Winegar Hole Wilderness.  On a single day, the group racked up 216 hours of volunteers hours – all in the effort to help protect the places we play, in the wintertime.

CLIF Bar also contributes to the Winter Wildlands Alliance through their 1% for the Planet membership and through the membership in The Conservation Alliance – which has granted $165,000 to Winter Wildlands Alliance over the past eleven years.

CLIF bar has also highlighted their relationship with Winter Wildlands Alliance at the point of sale to help raise awareness of their efforts to protect wildlands for winter recreation. Throughout the Fall seasons of both 2011 and 2012, 1% of net sales proceeds of the CLIF Bar Seasonal energy bars directly support WWA.

CLIF Bar is also the top sponsor of the Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival, a winter themed film series that travels to more than 80 locations each year, raising funds for grassroots organization working in their local communities to preserve our winter environment.

CLIF Bar is a true partner in the work of Winter Wildlands Alliance and their efforts are apparent in the success seen by the work of Winter Wildlands Alliance.

"We are a more effective organization because of CLIF Bar's partnership and support" says Mark Menlove, Executive Director, Winter Wildlands Alliance. "They are critical to the work that we do, the people we reach, and the protection of our winter wild places."

Take Action: Speak Out to Defend Canadian Wild Places

           Photo: Joe Riis

The Conservation Alliance funds organizations working to protect threatened wild places throughout North American.  In Canada, there are many such places.  The Conservation Alliance has contributed more than $900,000 to Canadian organizations working to protect these places.

Our ability to fund Canadian organizations including Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Rivers Without Borders, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Sierra Club BC, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Dogwood Initiative, Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition and Forest Ethics is under threat.

The Canadian federal budget bill contains huge changes to Canada's environmental laws. The changes being proposed range from replacing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act with much weaker legislation to restricting the ability of Canadian environmental non-profits to receive funding from organizations based in the United States.  This limits our collective voice and threatens Canadian wilderness.

It is time to speak out.

To learn about how to make your voice heard, click here.

To learn more about the threats to Canada's last wild places by big oil, click here to read the Huffington Post's Article.

To take action and sign the petition to defend Canada's Environment, click here.

Outstanding Partnership Stories: FootZone Bend makes a big difference in their local community through support of Oregon Natural Desert Association and Deschutes Land Trust

         Photo: Tyler Roemer

No matter the size of a company, all The Conservation Alliance members have equal benefits, equal voting rights, and the equal opportunity to make a difference.

Conservation Alliance member, FootZone Bend, is a small, independently owned business in Bend, Oregon.  FootZone Bend is a local fixture in the Central Oregon outdoor community and has a reputation for friendly service and the local know-how that makes them a trusted source of information in a region geared toward outdoor recreation. 

When we asked Teague Hatfield, president and owner of FootZone Bend, why he is a Conservation Alliance member, he responded simply, "Because it makes sense."

Teague's membership in The Conservation Alliance is just a start to his commitment to conservation.  Teague, and the entire FootZone staff, are active members of their community and see the value in protecting natural landscapes because it is important to the beauty, the lifestyle, and the economy of Central Oregon. 

Protecting Bend's backyard is at the core of FootZone's business.  They continuously raise awareness and speak out in support of important conservation initiative; including the efforts of Conservation Alliance grantees Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and Deschutes Land Trust (DLT). 

The Conservation Alliance has funded Oregon Natural Desert Association for their work to protect Oregon's high desert as Wilderness, namely on Steens Mountain, in the Oregon Badlands and in the Lower John Day River Basin.

The Deschutes Land Trust has received funding from The Conservation Alliance for their work to protect Skyline Forest from residential development and preserve it as a community forest to be enjoyed by hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and equestrians.

Teague volunteers countless hours each year on behalf of both these organizations.  He sits on ONDA's board of directors and was instrumental in developing a report on the economic impacts of Wilderness on Central Oregon.  Teague also traveled to Washington, D.C. to provide testimony on the need to protect the Oregon Badlands as Wilderness, which was designated as such in 2009.

FootZone Bend holds awareness raising events in their retail store, showcasing the conservation efforts of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness and the Whychus-Deschutes proposed Wilderness.  They help raise funds for ONDA through the annual sale of the "Wild Desert Calendar", featuring brilliant photography of Oregon's high desert landscape.

The Dirty Half Marathon, a half-marathon trail running race organized by Footzone, is a direct benefit for the Deschutes Land Trust, and has raised more than $112,000 for Land Trusts' work to protect and bring awareness to the risks of development on Bend's community forests. 

Teague believes strongly in the value of strategic alliances and shares his vision with the FootZone staff. 

The result is a true collaboration between FootZone staff and its partners, where the local community is the ultimate winner. 

Teague, why are you committed to conservation?

Because it makes sense.

Enough said.  

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