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Favorites on Friday: New Hampshire receives a big, Backyard Collective hug

September 28, 2012 by Cassondra Schindler

More than 100 volunteers from Eastern Mountain Sports, NEMO Equipment, Polartec, Vibram and ECCO came together for a variety of stewardship projects across the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire last Tuesday. 

This year’s Northeast Backyard Collective also marked a special celebration for our hosts at Eastern Mountain Sports as they celebrated their 45th anniversary.

Beth Marchand, Marketing Manager at EMS, was integral in planning the day’s activities, working with Miller State Park, Greenfield State Park, The Society for the Protection of NH Forests, Monadnock Conservancy, the Harris Center for Conservation Education as well as a number of EMS employees who selected some of their favorite waterway and bike paths for improvements.

 

Volunteers worked in a number of small groups participating in a number of activities ranging from invasive plant removal, path and waterway cleanup, picnic table repair, trail construction, clearing and other improvements.

 
Falling rain did not dampen our day, not one iota. Teams worked together to achieve the day’s objectives with skill and good cheer.

 

Following a successful workday, volunteers gathered at EMS Base Camp for lunch, conversation and a Volunteer Fair.  Joining us were representatives from Monadnock Conservancy, The Society for the Protection of NH Forests, Trust for Public Land, Northeast Wilderness Trust and Forest Society, and New Hampshire State Parks on hand to discuss additional ways to support local conservation initiatives.


Many thanks to everyone who came out for an extraordinary day of volunteer effort!

Our final event of the Backyard Collective season is planned for October 9th in Bend, Oregon.

Summer 2012 Grant Announcement: $700,000 to 19 Organizations

September 26, 2012 by Serena Bishop
Summer Grant Announcement!

The Conservation Alliance Contributes $700,000 to 19 Organizations

We are pleased to announce the results of The Conservation Alliance Summer 2012 Funding Cycle.  We have awarded $700,000 to the 19 organizations listed below.  This brings our 2012 total grant distribution to $1.3 million.  Many great conservation opportunities lie ahead, and we're please to be able to support these important initiatives. Please check out the full summary of the Summer 2012 Funding Cycle by clicking here.

WILDERNESS = JOBS

September 25, 2012 by Serena Bishop

 

At the Summer OR Show, The Conservation Alliance held a "Post Card Signing" Campaign.  We encouraged you to staple your business card to two postcards, one to be delivered to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the other House Speaker John Boehner. 

The message was clear - WILDERNESS = JOBS:

To:          Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

                House Speaker John Boehner

Outdoor recreation contributes $646 billion annually to the U.S. economy and supports 6.1 million jobs nationwide. Protected public lands are the infrastructure for the outdoor industry. These wild areas provide places for our customers to use the products that we make and sell.  

There are currently dozens of public land conservation bills pending before the House and Senate. These measures would designate new wilderness areas, create new national parks and monuments, and preserve free-flowing rivers. On behalf of outdoor gear and clothing manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, and customers we represent, we respectfully request that you take up these pending public land conservation measures, and help speed America's economic recovery.

Protecting our public lands is an investment in our economic future.

Sincerely,

Today, Tuesday September 25th, these postcards are being hand-delivered to Harry Reid and John Boehner.

Here's how you can help! 

Make your voice heard and ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner to take action and move these Public Land Bills forward!

Tell them "WILDERNESS = JOBS".  Protecting our public land is an investment in our economic future.

Contact Senator Harry Reid by clicking here: http://www.reid.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm

Contact Speaker Boehner by clicking here: http://boehner.house.gov/contact/ 

Favorites on Friday: New York - New Jersey Trail Conference

September 21, 2012 by Serena Bishop

In April of 2012, The Conservation Alliance awarded the New York - Jersey Trail Conference $35,000 toward their efforts to purchase and transfer land to the State of New York State resulting, in the elimination of the remaining unprotected gaps in the Southern Gunks Greenway.

In just six months, we have already seen great results from this organization.  Two of the long-distance trail projects they are working on, the Shawangunk Ridge Trail and the Long Path have received additional protections.

In June, the Mine Hole Trail and Long Path Reroute opened, creating a 3.5-mile trail linking the Berrypicker Trail to Berme Road and providing most of the long-sought green link to connect the Shawangunks to the Catskills.  To learn more, click here.

In July, the purchase and preservation of the 435-acre Ridgeview property, along the Shawangunk Ridge Trail, was complete.  The Ridgeview property is a key parcel in a project to preserve a green corridor along the entire Shawangunk Mountains.  To learn more, click here.

Arctic Ocean - 1; Shell Oil - 0

September 18, 2012 by Serena Bishop

           Photo: Florian Schulz

It’s been an amazing fight. And, thanks to the efforts of Alaska Wilderness League and many others, oil companies have abandoned drilling for oil in America’s Arctic Ocean – at least until next year.

Shell Oil announced, Monday, that it is drastically scaling back its oil drilling operation this year in the Arctic, focusing instead on preparations for next year’s drilling season. This move happened after its oil spill containment dome suffered damage during sea trials which occurred off the comparatively mild coast of Washington and not in the extreme, sea ice conditions of the Arctic. As predicted, Shell’s untested, unproven cleanup and safety equipment failed – even outside of the Arctic’s extreme conditions.

Alaska Wilderness League, and their partners, will continue to fight corporate giants like Shell Oil who remain intent to despoil the few natural treasures we have left. Soon, we will be asked once again to raise our voice in solidarity with our Inupiat allies on America’s Arctic coast, as the multifaceted, far-reaching effort to keep the Arctic healthy and whole continues. We will be asked to continue to fight until Arctic conservation eclipses any and all Arctic development.

But right now, it is time to celebrate. Alaska Wilderness League is thankful to its partners and supporters; for their letters, calls, commitment and dedication to keeping the Arctic healthy.

Following is a statement from Cindy Shogan, Executive Director, Alaska Wilderness League:

“People have been fighting Mother Nature since the dawn of time – the fight is crystallized in Shell’s desire to drill in the harsh and unpredictable climate of America’s Arctic Ocean. And, as we have seen today, Shell is losing.

Shell has promised over and over again to deliver the best technology and the safest drilling program in the world, and has thrown billions at the problem. And, earlier in August, Secretary Salazar promised to hold Shell’s ‘feet to fire,’ yet all we have seen is incompetence and excuses. We are relieved to see that Shell is not moving forward to drill in hydrocarbon zones, however the administration should not be allowing any drilling to go forward, without all oil spill response and safety equipment in place.

Shell’s list of foibles continues – from its drilling ship running aground, to missing the mark on meeting its air permits, to drilling only one day in the Arctic Ocean before a 30 by 12 mile iceberg barreled down on its operation – Shell has shown that it is unprepared to drill, yet the administration has shown that it will give Shell any excuse it needs to move forward with its drilling operations.

The Arctic Ocean, where icebergs can be as tall as apartment buildings, is prone to hurricane-force storms, 20-foot swells, sea ice up to 25 feet thick, sub-zero temperatures and months-long darkness. There is no proven way to clean up an oil spill in these extreme conditions."

To read more about Shell’s abandoned Alaska offshore drilling efforts, click here.

To learn more about the Alaska Wilderness League, click here.

Favorites on Friday: World Wide Recess Day!

September 14, 2012 by Serena Bishop

Today, September 14th, is World Wide Recess Day! 

Bring Recess Back and take 10 minutes (or more) out of your day to get  ouside and play!

 Need some hints for quick and easy RECESS IDEAS?  Disc Golf, Hopscotch, Four-Square........

 

Have fun and #take10!

Favorites on Friday: The Trust for Public Land is one step closer to creating the Barre Town Forest

September 07, 2012 by Serena Bishop
   

Photo: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

In April, The Conservation Alliance awarded The Trust for Public Land a grant for their work on the Campaign to Create the Barre Town Forest, a community forest in Vermont's Washington County.  This campaign will completely transform a degraded industrial site into a vibrant natural landscape that will be owned by the local community, as a new town forest, providing extensive wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities.

Last week, the U.S. Forest Service announced a $400,000 grant in support of this campaign, providing the funding to acquire the 384 acres that will become this new community forest.  This acreage, combined with an additional 26 acres, already owned by the town, will become the 410 acre Barre Town Forest - ensuring water quality, wildlife protection, timber production, education opportunities and public access to 20 miles of trails. 

The creation of Barre Town Forest will not only provide protected land for habitat and recreation, it will also bring economic benefits to Washington County.  For every $1 the town invests in ownership of the community forest, the local economy will realize returns of $22 by 2015.  The project is also excepted to generate 20 new jobs.

The learn more about the U.S. Forest Service grant and the positive economic impacts of the creation of the Barre Town Forest, click here.

Connection, Collaboration & Conservation in Vancouver, BC

September 04, 2012 by Cassondra Schindler

Friendly faces from Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Arc’teryx, Icebreaker and Innate arrived at Heywood Park by foot, bike, carpool and public transportation for our first Canadian Backyard Collective on Wednesday, August 29th. There they were met with coffee, Clif bars and smiles from the Canadian Parks & Wilderness BC, (CPAWS BC) staff and team members.


It was CPAWS BC, our Backyard Collective partner, who connected us with Dana McDonald, Project Manager of Urban Ecology at Evergreen and Angela Negenman, Environmental Technician with the City of North Vancouver. Together we served as hosts for an invasive species removal project within the park
.

Dana provided project tools and volunteer leadership while Angela provided context on the stages of City of North Vancouver park planning development–from their 2011 inventory through this year’s strategic planning effort and improvements now underway. Their respective passion and knowledge were well matched by our volunteers, who were every bit as inquisitive as they were energetic.

Angela explained that although a variety of invasive species including Hogweed, Knotweed and Holly threaten native flora and fauna with their presence in the park, our volunteer efforts for the day would be focused on Ivy and Blackberry removal.

 

Four teams of Backyard Collective volunteers spread out as instructed to address swaths of land, removing Blackberry and Ivy as to prevent excessive erosion.  Soon loppers were lopping, shovels were digging and gloved hands took to pulling long strands of Ivy to get to their roots.

 

Once again, the power of the collective was on display as brambles, ivy strands and impressive root balls were piled high.  Along the way, participants had the opportunity to listen, share and learn from their colleagues in the outdoor industry as well as those focused on conservation at the grassroots level. It is these connections that make the Backyard Collective events especially fulfilling.

 

By noon our objectives were fulfilled and our volunteers hungry. We returned for a sack lunch and a Q & A program led by Angela. The Dogwood Initiative joined us for the Volunteer Fair and we finished the day with a raffle followed up by our first ever Backyard Collective Pop Quiz. Naturally, our team aced it.

Thanks again to our phenomenal partners and member business volunteers who came out for a great day in North Vancouver!