KEEN Partners With Mercy Corps to Help Nepal

Mercy Corps rushes to distribute urgently needed supplies to victims of Nepal’s deadly earthquake.

Our friends at KEEN Footwear took quick action after the devastating earthquake in Nepal by setting up a fundraising partnership with Mercy Corps. For the past three years, KEEN has made an annual commitment of $50,000 to Mercy Corps’ global disaster response efforts. In response to the crisis in Nepal, KEEN is also encouraging people to contribute to Mercy Corps, and will match $10,000 in online contributions (in addition to their own $50,000 contribution). Click here to go directly to KEEN’s fundraising page at Mercy Corps.

Here’s a note from Jennifer Schmidt at Mercy Corps:

I wanted to reach out as Mercy Corps is responding to the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal late Saturday morning, killing thousands of people and causing wide-spread destruction in the capital city of Kathmandu and in hard-to-reach rural areas. As tremors continue to shake the region, the toll of casualties and full scale of devastation is still not clear. Officials estimate at least 8 million people have been affected in some way.

Mercy Corps has a large and experienced team on the ground in Nepal – over 90 team members – mostly locals who deeply understand regional needs and context. Our immediate priorities include clean water, food, hygiene and temporary shelter. We’re already at work and distributions of emergency relief supplies began today. Seasoned Mercy Corps responders from around the world are on their way to join our Nepal team to address immediate needs, which include bringing aid to hard-to-reach areas, and starting to focus on longer-term recovery plans. One of the things that sets us apart is not only our immediate response work and ability to reach even the hardest to reach people, but also our commitment to systemic change following a disaster – to helping communities build back better. So even in the early days where we’re focused on water, food, shelter and hygiene, we meet needs in a way that makes communities stronger. 

More about our response at

Ambassador Profile: Vince Mazzuca, Marketing Manager, Ruffwear


Conservation Alliance Ambassadors are the next generation of key influencers and leaders in the outdoor industry, they care passionately about protecting the wild places we play, and they serve as a conduit for spreading the word about Conservation Alliance programs and grantee activities within their respective companies.

Conservation Alliance Ambassadors volunteer their time, going above and beyond the duties of their full-time jobs at member companies.  Our ambassadors are passionate outdoor enthusiasts, and exceptional people.  We are excited to introduce them to you over the next few months.  To kick off the series, we’d like you to meet Vince Mazzuca from Ruffwear

What made you want to be an Ambassador for The Conservation Alliance?

The results and the people. I have worked for member companies since starting my career in the Outdoor Industry and have always been in awe of the direct impact that the grant funds have on regional conservation initiatives.

As for the people, the staff and volunteers associated with The Conservation Alliance are the best.

Where would you like to see The Alliance in another 25 years from now? 

I would love to see The Alliance become a household name, recognized by the consumer and trade alike across multiple industries. Within the outdoor industry, we are pretty familiar with The Conservation Alliance, but the importance of conservation is not limited to our industry. We all benefit from the work that the Alliance and grantees are accomplishing.

What areas of conservation are you most passionate about? 

Preservation and access. Preservation is so important for keeping our wild places wild. At the same time, access is just as important. People find their connection to our wild places by experiencing them. Without personal connection, it is easy for people to be complacent with conservation issues. I, personally, would not have the connection that I have without having spent nights in alpine meadows under the stars.

Favorite outdoor activity?

If I only have the choice of one activity, it is climbing. I like all types of climbing, but am most inspired by long days in the mountains on alpine routes.

Favorite Wilderness or national park?

I don’t think this can truly be answered. I have been to some amazing wild places, but the diversity of these places makes them impossible to compare against each other. I have fond memories of climbing trips to the Eastern Sierras, the Adirondacks, the Northern Cascades and all over the south east.

What is a recent book you read that you recommend?

I am actually currently reading a book about the start of the Best Friends Animal Society Animal Sanctuary in Southern Utah, nestled next to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It is a pretty incredible story of a band of friends coming together to purchase 3,000 acres of wildspace to set up the world’s largest no-kill sanctuary for all kinds of animals. I spent at week at the Sanctuary recently as was blown away by the work they are doing to improve the lives of homeless animals, train them and find them a new home.  “Best Friends: The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary” by Samantha Glen.

End Quote: Words of motivation to get others inspired. 

Get involved! There are many ways to get involved with The Conservation Alliance. We are always looking for new Ambassadors and folks willing to provide a little assistance with regional events like Backyard Collectives and Wild Drinks, as well as events at trade shows like Outdoor Retailer. It’s fun, it makes a difference and the people are awesome.

Ibex Donates 10% on Earth Day


Shop online today at and support the protection of the places we love to play. Ibex is donating 10% of all online sales on Earth Day, April 22, to The Conservation Alliance. This donation will go directly to grassroots organizations working to protect wild places in North America.

Here at the Alliance, our favorite Ibex pieces are the men’s and women’s OD Heather T’s. These best-selling tee’s are made from 18.5 micron New Zealand merino wool, making them super soft, quick-drying and lightweight.  Best of all, if you buy one today, almost $10 of your purchase will go directly to The Conservation Alliance grant fund.

Ibex’s commitment to conservation goes far beyond paying annual Conservation Alliance membership dues.  The CEO of Ibex, Ted Manning, serves on the Board of Directors for the Trust for Public Land, a land trust that creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Conservation Alliance Ambassador and Ibex Supply Chain Manager, Chelsea Pawlek, recently joined The Conservation Alliance Advocacy Committee.  Chelsea is currently working on a top-secret graphic tee that will promote a project funded numerous times by The Conservation Alliance. She also organizes fundraising events at Outdoor Retailer benefiting the Alliance.

In addition to loving Ibex for making great wool clothing and for their generous support, we love Ibex for their sense of humor.

Ibex is one of three companies raising money for the Alliance during the month of April. If you work for a member company and would like to participate in a fundraising event in April 2016, please contact Serena or Josie.

2015 Backyard Collective: Ventura, CA


Last week we kicked off our 2015 Backyard Collective event series in Ventura, CA.  We’re excited to host five more events this year in the Bay Area, Boulder, Seattle, Portland and Bend.

130 volunteers joined us for our first Backyard Collective event of the year, from member companies including; Patagonia, Deckers Outdoor, Toad & Co, REI, and Elemental Herbs. The Conservation Alliance teamed up with local nonprofit Ventura Hillsides Conservancy to organize a day of invasive species removal and restoration as part of a pivotal transition into the second phase of a large restoration project along the Ventura River.

The group made a lot of progress,  removing at least 3 acres of Arundo Donax (Giant Reed) and the last 3 tons of trash in the Ventura River estuary.  The Ventura Hillsides Conservancy is now excited to be switching to traditional habitat restoration involving non-native, invasive vegetation removal and planting native plants thanks to the hard work of these volunteers.

Ruffwear Celebrates Earth Day–All Week Long


This is a great week to gear up your pup!  For this entire week, Ruffwear is donating 10% of all online sales at to The Conservation Alliance. While Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22, Ruffwear is celebrating by raising money for our grant fund all week long, “because Earth deserves more than one day.” This donation goes above and beyond Ruffwear’s annual membership commitment.

Ruffwear’s first product, called the Quencher™, is the original collapsible food and water bowl for dogs. Ruffwear’s line of innovative and high performance dog gear has grown steadily since 1994, but the Quencher™ continues to be one of the top sellers.  Buy one today and $1.99 of your purchase will go directly to the grassroots organizations working to protect wild places.

Since Ruffwear joined the Alliance in 2007, the employees take every opportunity to participate in Conservation Alliance events.  A hard-working team always shows up to the Backyard Collective here in our hometown of Bend, OR.  Ambassadors participate in our advocacy trips to Washington, DC and serve on one of our board committees. Ruffwear also raises money for the Alliance at Outdoor Retailer trade shows. We appreciate the generous and ongoing support from our friends at Ruffwear.

Ruffwear is one of three companies raising money for the Alliance during the month of April. If you work for a member company and would like to participate in a fundraising event in April 2016, please contact Serena or Josie.


Summer 2015 Funding Cycle: Call for Nominations

Magpie River, Quebec  Photo: Boreal River

Nominations for our Summer 2015 funding cycle are due Friday, May 1. We rely on our member companies to identify organizations whose work meets our funding criteria, and nominate them to submit a grant request. All Conservation Alliance grants go to organizations working to protect specific wild places for their habitat and recreation values. Each member company may nominate up to two organizations per funding cycle. If your company is a member, please submit your online nomination no later than Friday, May 1. Each organization that receives a nomination will be formally invited to submit a grant request. We are planning to disburse $850,000 during this funding cycle. Please help us find great organizations worthy of our funds!

New Member Announcement: Cairn

Photo: Jim Klug

We’re excited to welcome Cairn to The Conservation Alliance. Cairn is a monthly subscription box company for outdoor enthusiasts based in Bend, OR. Each box is a selection of gear, apparel, food/energy, skincare, and emergency/medical products. Join us in welcoming Cairn to the Alliance!

Limited Edition CamelBak Bottles Benefit the Alliance

Ditch disposables and support the Alliance when you buy the new CamelBak CHUTE 1L Conservation Alliance Water Bottle. $5 of every bottle will go directly to our grant fund, which supports grassroots organizations working to protect wild places.  This limited edition bottle will be available on while supplies last.

The CEO of CamelBak, Sally McCoy, has been a part of The Conservation Alliance since our inception in 1989.  Sally and the entire CamelBak team consistently find ways to go above and beyond their annual membership commitment to support the Alliance.  They raise money at Outdoor Retailer shows, sponsor Alliance events, nominate organizations to apply for funding and participate in Backyard Collective events.

CamelBak is one of three companies raising money for the Alliance during the month of April. If you work for a member company and would like to participate in a fundraising event in April 2016, please contact Serena or Josie.

Ambassadors Represent The Conservation Alliance in Washington, D.C.

It is very powerful to witness firsthand the strength of a united industry. Once again, the Conservation Alliance harnessed the power of its membership base and sought to influence the political arena in Washington D.C. As a Conservation Alliance Ambassador (select individuals from membership companies who take special interest in the Alliance’s work) I was honored to join the Conservation Alliance Staff and Board Members in their efforts to state their case for and educate our representatives on current conservation initiatives and policies.

This was my second visit to D.C. with the Conservation Alliance and I am still astonished at the amount I learned regarding the basics of advocacy, our political system, and how new legislation is implemented or altered. Our first day was wholly dedicated to a crash course in politics specifically related to conservation policy as well as gaining a pulse on the current political atmosphere (which was vastly different from the year prior). This education has been so valuable to me. I admit I am not the most politically savvy individual. I always vote for the big guy and intermittently vote on the local level, but this has always been such a foreign world to me and for the most part I have been rather complacent. Day two, when we had the opportunity to sit down with various representatives, enlightened me to the dynamic world of politics and the many influences that guide (or perhaps misguide) our elected leaders.

After our training and armament of knowledge, we broke up into groups based on region and specific initiatives and set out to make a case for conservation with select representatives. As an avid outdoors person, I was certainly shocked by the unawareness of some individuals and what their perception of conservation entailed and how low on some agendas these initiatives were. Some individuals are not too keen on hearing about a beautiful clean river and the effect it has on our soul, however, we did catch their attention when speaking in the language of our businesses and quantifying our overall impact as an industry. The Outdoor Industry is a powerful industry. The amount of money we pump into the economy and the amount of jobs we create ACTUALLY surpasses that of the oil and gas industry. Every year, Americans spend $646 billion on outdoor recreation and the industry creates around 6.1 million jobs. (Thank you OIA for the stats!) Although these facts and fifteen minutes of conversation are hardly enough time to have full catharsis and create a sworn new friend of the environment, it was at least enough time to plant a seed of interest.

We all know that without the right nourishment a seed will not grow. Our elected representatives are not always aware of nor can they possess a deep knowledge in every field, which is why it is so tremendously important that WE educate them. There is much to be accomplished on the grass roots and political levels. Legislation plays such a strong and vital role in the management of our wild places and sacred spaces. From the urban parks in Oakland, CA to the recently appointed National Monuments, all of these places have received special legislation and designation because they at some point were special enough to someone. If I had to identify one take away from this trip, I cannot emphasize enough that every voice can and does matter; you just need to use it… and it is so much louder when we all come together.

Mary Maliff
Director, The Forest Group
& Conservation Alliance Ambassador

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