The Conservation Alliance is pleased to fund the following organizations for their effort to protect wild land and waterways for their habitat and recreation values. These grants are made possible by 197 outdoor businesses who care passionately about protecting wild places for future generations. Each of these businesses is a member of The Conservation Alliance, and plays a critical role in determining which organizations receive funding. Thank you to all of our members for protecting wild places across North America. Download the complete Summer 2016 Grant Announcement here.
*Discretionary Grant: The Conservation Alliance board has the authority to make discretionary grants not to exceed #10,000 to projects with an urgent and time-sensitive need.
On the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, 400 employees from Portland-based Conservation Alliance member companies and grantees gathered for the 8th Annual Portland Backyard Collective. Almost 1000 volunteer hours were spent improving trails in Forest Park, removing invasive species and cleaning up local parks.
This was our biggest Backyard Collective event yet! We’re proud to see our community doing good work to preserve and protect the open spaces in our own backyard. Thank you to the following member companies and non-profit partners for making it possible: Columbia Sportswear; Leatherman; Yakima Racks; Nau; Outdoor Project; Uncage the Soul Productions; KEEN; Notogroup Executive Search; Brook Hopper Consulting; The North Face; Outdoor Industry Association; Forest Park Conservancy; Wild Salmon Center; American Rivers; Western Rivers Conservancy; WaterWatch of Oregon; Oregon Wild; 1% for the Planet, and Friends of the Columbia Gorge.
A special thanks to our newest member company, Uncage the Soul, for snapping the 100th anniversary photo.
92 volunteers from REI, Filson, Stanley, Brooks, Nikwax, Perpetual Motion NW and Cascade Designs particpated in our 9th Annual Seattle BAckyard Collective earlier this month. Employees from these Conservation Alliance member companies removed 15,373 square feet of invasive species to prepare a new area for planting, spread over 1,800 square feet of mulch and improved half an acre of forest.
A special thank you to Andrea Mojzak and her team at Forterra for organizing the volunteers. Also, thank you to Rick Meade of Nikwax who donated his time and energy to photographing the event.
With a mere five months left in President Obama’s final term, potential new National Monument designations were in the air at The Conservation Breakfast at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake. Featured speaker, wildlife photographer Florian Schulz, gave a stunning presentation that followed the Pacific Coast from Baja to the Arctic, and ended with a plea that President Obama designate the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a National Monument. Doing so would end the decades-long battle over whether to protect the Coastal Plain, or open it to oil drilling.
Prior to Schulz’s talk, the standing-room-only crowd heard from Christy Goldfuss, Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Goldfuss and her team advise the President on conservation policy, and play a key role in determining which landscapes to preserve as National Monuments. During her remarks, Goldfuss addressed National Monuments and the controversial proposals that would protect millions of acres of public land in places like Southern Utah, the Arctic, Grand Canyon, and Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands. “How bold we can be really depends on how loud all of you are in saying that these places matter to the future of our nation,” she said. “Right now it matters. Jump in. Tell us what’s important to you.” So we jumped in immediately with a post card campaign in support of protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Later that day, a collection of outdoor industry business leaders held a press conference to voice support for the proposed Bears Ears National Monument in Southern Utah. Conservation Alliance board member and founder of Black Diamond Equipment Peter Metcalf led the press conference, which included voices from Petzl, The North Face, Patagonia, KEEN Footwear, Osprey, Skull Candy, Armada, Treasure Mountain Inn, Kuhl, POC, Gregory, Rossignol, and Mountain Hardwear. If designated, the Bears Ears National Monument would protect nearly two million acres of land in Utah, including Indian Creek, Grand Gulch, the San Juan River, and the culturally-rich Cedar Mesa.
With the Outdoor Retailer show behind us, The Conservation Alliance will continue to bring our business voice to bear on conservation opportunities. We hope to celebrate some big victories before the end of the year!
Conservation Alliance Ambassadors are key influencers and leaders in the outdoor industry, and they serve as a conduit for spreading the word about Conservation Alliance programs and grantee activities within their respective companies. They 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. Today, we’d like you to meet Laura Schaffer, Social & Environmental Responsibility Manager at Mountain Hardwear.
What made you want to be an Ambassador for The Conservation Alliance?
Conservation is something that’s best accomplished when people and places work together. The Ambassador opportunity is huge because we have a bunch of people within Mountain Hardwear who are hungry to actively engage in preserving the places we all love to play so I get to be the conduit between action makers and people who want to be a part of the action. Working with the Conservation Alliance board and other Ambassadors to lobby on Capitol Hill has been an incredible education in conservation policy and advocacy, and is one way I hope to ensure future generations are able to discover all that our natural spaces have to offer. Our industry’s greatest asset is nature itself and we wouldn’t exist without this earth’s inspiring and resource-filled wild places. Engaging with the Conservation Alliance is the least I can do to give back to all our planet has given us.
What areas of conservation are you most passionate about?
I’m most passionate about driving preservation of places that people find close to home. If we can maintain and grow wild places that are near and dear to people who cherish them, we will be able to conserve so much more down the road. As more and more people realize the incredible value and importance of our land and water, more and more people will become drivers of conservation, which is super important because conservation requires an ongoing commitment. Education drives new experiences, which drives passion and commitment to more education and conservation.
Favorite outdoor activity?
Put me on a mountain with skis underneath me and I am a happy woman. When I’m skiing I feel absolutely fully present – it’s me, the peaks and trees around me, the snow on my cold face, burning legs, racing heart and a whole lot of serenity. The other time I feel this absolutely sense of being in the right place and fully focused on what’s at hand is climbing, my other favorite way to experience the power of our great outdoors.
Favorite Wilderness or National Park?
Oh there are SO many special and unique places. Some of the best days of my life have been spent in the Sawtooths. The Ruby Mountains serve up incredible lines with not a soul in sight. Yosemite is just stunning and near and dear to my heart because it’s where I began to scratch the surface of what climbing could be. And the Wasatch and the Sierra have endless “just go and see where you end up” possibilities.
Most eye opening experience for the need of conservation.
For me, the fundamentally influential experience goes back to my childhood, when our family vacations were all camping trips. This fully shaped who I am today – my desire to explore places off the beaten path and all of the discovery that comes along with that – and it’s imperative that my two year old and her posse are able to have that experience. Threats like the Grand Canyon tramway and the movement to sell federal lands in my beloved Utah make me shake in my boots.
End Quote: Words of motivation to get others inspired.
Our wild places can get along just fine without us, but we’d be nowhere without our wild places. Life is better lived outside, and it’s up to us to make that possible.
Each year we invite Conservation Alliance grantees from the past three funding cycles to nominate member companies for an Outstanding Partnership Award. The award recognizes member companies that go above and beyond in building relationships with Conservation Alliance grantees. Each nomination describes how the company engaged in a meaningful partnership to help the organization succeed in its conservation work. Celebrating these partnerships is a reflection of the community we have helped to build and exemplifies “Outdoor businesses giving back to the Outdoors.” Dan Morse, Conservation Director at Oregon Natural Desert Association, nominated KEEN Footwear for providing outstanding support to the Owyhee Canyonlands Campaign. Dan shares his partnership story below.
It would be difficult to imagine a company making a stronger commitment to conservation than Keen has over the last year. Above and beyond the company’s ingrained conservation ethic and ongoing support for organizations like ONDA, this year Keen upped the ante for conservation across the country with it’s Live Monumental campaign. For the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and the Owyhee Coalition this effort brought critical attention and support to the campaign to permanently protect the Owyhee Canyonlands. And Live Monumental brought equally helpful and appreciated support to four other conservation efforts across the country.
Keen’s efforts for the Owyhee Canyonlands through Live Monumental were and continue to be truly monumental. Kirk, Kirsten, Chris, Linda and a host of others worked tirelessly to increase the reach of communications about the Owyhee, to educate elected officials and to help people across the country learn about the Owyhee. Keen’s work reached not only recreationists, but people from all walks of life who then made their voices heard in support of permanently protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands.
Whether driving a slow, bright yellow RV across the country bringing attention to conservation or actively participating in community meetings, countless conference calls or trips to D.C. Keen showed up for the Owyhee and other areas in huge ways over the past year. The true reward for this tireless work is the successful permanent protection of several of the Live Monumental campaigns and, we hope, at least one more…
That said there could hardly be a company or group of individuals more worthy of recognition for their efforts on behalf of conservation this year. ONDA is deeply appreciative of their commitment and incredibly proud to nominate Keen Footwear for the Conservation Alliance Outstanding Partnership Award.
Each year we invite Conservation Alliance grantees from the past three funding cycles to nominate member companies for an Outstanding Partnership Award. The award recognizes member companies that go above and beyond in building relationships with Conservation Alliance grantees. Each nomination describes how the company engaged in a meaningful partnership to help the organization succeed in its conservation work. Celebrating these partnerships is a reflection of the community we have helped to build and exemplifies “Outdoor businesses giving back to the Outdoors.” Trust for Public Land nominated Ibex Outdoor Clothing for their outstanding support in Vermont and beyond.
Over the past two years, Ibex Outdoor Clothing has been an outstanding partner and friend to The Trust for Public Land. Our relationship with Ibex began in Vermont, their home state. Ted Manning, Ibex CEO, joined The Trust for Public Land’s Vermont Advisory Board in 2014 and has been a committed and engaged member ever since. Of particular note has been Ted’s leadership in the development of our Vermont strategic plan and his ongoing work as a spokesman and champion of the organization’s conservation efforts across the Green Mountain State.
Ted, in partnership with Chelsea Pawlek (Ibex Supply Chain Manager and Conservation Alliance Board member), helped to organize The Trust for Public Land’s National Board retreat, which was held in Vermont last summer (the retreat rotates to different locations across the country each year). Perhaps most notable was their work in organizing and recruiting a panel of business representatives that focused on the intersection of business and conservation. The gathering helped tremendously to deepen our relationships with the business community in Vermont and beyond, and has already led to additional philanthropic support and free marketing services.
As part of the retreat, Ibex generously donated beautiful merino wool vests emblazoned with our logo for each board member and local staff member. Fifty vests were donated in total, with a retail value of approximately $5,000.
Outside of Vermont, Ibex participated in a dinner event that The Trust for Public Land hosted in Salt Lake City, and have expressed interest in continuing to learn about our work in locations outside of Vermont as well.
Ted has been a champion of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, one of our nation’s most important sources of public conservation funding. He has participated in radio shows about the economic importance of the outdoor industry in Vermont and nationally, and how the outdoor industry benefits from conserved land.
Each year we invite Conservation Alliance grantees from the past three funding cycles to nominate member companies for an Outstanding Partnership Award. The award recognizes member companies that go above and beyond in building relationships with Conservation Alliance grantees. Each nomination describes how the company engaged in a meaningful partnership to help the organization succeed in its conservation work. Celebrating these partnerships is a reflection of the community we have helped to build and exemplifies “Outdoor businesses giving back to the Outdoors.” Samantha Chadwick, Deputy Campaign Manager for Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, nominated Patagonia for their outstanding commitment to supporting the campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. Samantha shares her partnership story below.
The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, led by Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, began as a local effort in 2013 and has grown to a national movement: the goal is to permanently protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from proposed sulfide-ore copper mining on the Wilderness edge. From the beginning, Patagonia has been one of our strongest and most active supporters, and vital to our successes to date.
We have received grant funding from the local Patagonia store in St. Paul for several years. The St. Paul, Lincoln Park and Georgetown stores have all organized and hosted well-attended public events complete with donated food and live music. The St. Paul store displayed Sig, our petition canoe in the store along with displays for Save the Boundary Waters in their retail windows and collected petitions. In 2014 Patagonia supported their employee and filmmaker Nate Ptacek to film and produce Paddle to DC: A Quest for Clean water, which followed explorers Dave and Amy Freeman on their 101 day, 2,000 paddle/sail journey from Ely, Minnesota to Washington D.C. in a canoe covered with petition signatures. This journey and the film, along with a blog post on Patagonia’s Cleanest Line helped launch our campaign from a local effort to national issue. Now, a grant from Patagonia and support from Nate and others is making possible our new documentary Bear Witness — covering the Year in the Wilderness expedition. Patagonia has also generously supported Dave and Amy Freeman with gear and clothing.
We’ve collaborated closely with a number of individual Patagonia employees who have given their time and talents to help this cause they are passionate about. We are incredibly grateful for the support from Patagonia that is helping us reach and inspire hundreds of thousands of people to protect the Boundary Waters.
Each year we invite Conservation Alliance grantees from the past three funding cycles to nominate member companies for an Outstanding Partnership Award. The award recognizes member companies that go above and beyond in building relationships with Conservation Alliance grantees. Each nomination describes how the company engaged in a meaningful partnership to help the organization succeed in its conservation work. Celebrating these partnerships is a reflection of the community we have helped to build and exemplifies “Outdoor businesses giving back to the Outdoors.” In the coming weeks we will publish all of the nominations on our blog, beginning with Angie Rosser’s nomination of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. Angie, Executive Director of West Virginia Rivers Coalition, shares her partnership story below.
We are delighted to nominate Blue Ridge Outdoors for the Outstanding Partnership Award. “BRO” is a shining example of how outdoor businesses can lead in efforts to protect wild places for recreation, habitat, and natural values. Their recognition of the intrinsic and social values of wild places is core to their company’s culture. They do this by telling great stories, raising awareness of grassroots conservation efforts, and encouraging volunteerism — including among its staff.
In BRO stories, public lands are more than playgrounds; they are treasures not to be taken for granted. They remind readers that outdoorspeople are called to be stewards and, when necessary, activists — that wild places remain so only when people protect them. BRO articles tell the stories of how lands are conserved as well as who the volunteer stewards are for the places they cover. BRO also uses its robust social media reach to invite readers to take action and get involved in the public lands they enjoy.
BRO s is currently a partner in our efforts to create the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument, for which we received a Conservation Alliance grant. BRO has helped us reach over a million people about the proposed monument through the print magazine and social media network, especially through two feature-length articles: The Next National Monument and Birthplace of Rivers: West Virginia’s First National Monument? Other shorter articles also tout the value of the area’s recreation access and wild ecology.
Another feature article is in the works — this one will explore the monument by bicycle. A BRO reporter will spend three days circumnavigating the monument area on bike along with WV Rivers staff. Once again, the coverage — true to the BRO way — will describe not only the incredible adventure to be found there, but the efforts of ordinary people working to bring about permanent protection for the wildness of Birthplace of Rivers.
As a respected voice, BRO’s brand helps validate the efforts of small groups like ours among an audience we could never reach on our own.
The BRO editorial and sales teams are ambassadors for our proposal and other conservation partners at outdoor festivals and wherever they can. At the annual Gauley whitewater festival in West Virginia, our staff visited the BRO booth to say thanks; upon arrival they found sales staff of BRO describing to BRO readers in great detail the efforts to protect Birthplace of Rivers, and how important it is for readers to go to the WV Rivers table their to sign our petition. BRO staff are also regular volunteers on local projects from West Virginia to Georgia.
This type of public advocacy extends far beyond Birthplace of Rivers. A recent article, “Five Places That Need Permanent Protection in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest,” uses first-person accounts to describe why these special places are worthy of protection. A recent article, “Ain’t Nothin’ Livin’ in There,” describes how coal mining has destroyed fish and wildlife habitat throughout the region. As West Virginia’s only statewide water policy group, we appreciated how BRO showed the impacts of energy extraction on the waters we rely on for recreation and daily living.
BRO knows that the challenge of protecting wild places is particularly hard work in the under-resourced areas of southern Appalachians. Each month Blue Ridge Outdoors does their part to help.
We kicked off our 2016 Backyard Collective event series in Santa Barbara with volunteers from Patagonia, Toad&Co, All Good, Deckers and REI. Backyard Collectives bring together member company employees and local grantees for a day of environmental action. These events allow us to get out of the office and get our hands dirty; doing good work to preserve and protect the open spaces in our own backyards.
We worked with Channel Islands Restoration and the Deckers events team to coordinate the event, where more than 100 volunteers planted 362 native plants in the San Marcos Foothill Preserve, cleared large areas of invasive plants, and expanded the existing restoration site considerably.