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!
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!
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.
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.
We are pleased to announce the results of our Winter 2015 funding cycle. We have contributed $800,000 to 24 organizations in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Many great conservation opportunities lie ahead, and we’re proud to support these important initiatives.
We’d like to thank all of our members for supporting our grant program through their annual membership dues. We’d also like to thank the members who nominated organizations and participated in the voting process.
Here’s a complete list of the grantees and projects we supported in the Winter 2015 Grant Cycle:
“Conservation 101: A Guide to Land & Water Protection in the US” outlines public land conservation, protective designations for public lands, private land conservation and core environmental laws. This pocket-sized booklet is designed to be a reference guide for our members to help them cast an informed ballot and for our lobby teams traveling to Washington, DC. With help from the Outdoor Industry Association and the Outdoor Alliance, we printed thousands of copies for anyone who wants to learn more about how to protect public land and water in the US.
American Rivers, along with partnering organizations of the Alpine Lakes Working Group, recently celebrated the passage of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act (Alpine Lakes) with Senator Patty Murray and Representative Suzan DelBene, both sponsors of the act.
Gray Madden, President of Filson, provided the evening’s welcome and opening remarks. Gray spoke about the importance of protected places and the recreation economy to his company and beyond. According to a new report prepared by Earth Economics for the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, Washington’s outdoors are worth billions in revenue, clean water and more. A few of the report’s findings include:
$21.6 billion is spent on outdoor recreation trips and equipment on both public and private land in Washington.
Nearly 200,000 jobs are supported by outdoor recreation, more than the aerospace and tech industries in Washington.
$8 billion is spent on activities around water, including fishing, boating, swimming and diving.
Senator Murray and Congresswoman DelBene were both presented with a gorgeous framed photo of the Pratt River and Snoqualmie River valleys and each gave a short talk recognizing the hard work and persistence it took by many individuals, organizations and supporters to achieve this success. Both of these congressional conservation champions deserve a great deal of recognition and thanks for their efforts. Senator Murray has been a stalwart champion of the Alpine Lakes bill since it was first introduced to Congress in 2007 and Rep. DelBene sponsored the bill in 2013 shortly after her election in 2012.
This past December, Congress took action to permanently protect more than 100 miles of rivers as Wild and Scenic in five different states across the nation, which included Alpine Lakes. Of those 100 river miles, approximately half of them were in Washington, increasing the state’s total number of river miles now part of the National Wild and Scenic River System by 25 percent. The upper 27.4 miles of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River, the entire length of the Pratt River, and 14.3 miles of Illabot Creek will now remain free-flowing forever along with their excellent water quality, high value habitat for fish and wildlife, and recreational values for all walks of human life.
American Rivers thanks The Conservation Alliance for its generous support of our Wild Rivers of the North Cascades Campaign. We are pleased with our recent success with the passage of the Alpine Lakes and Illabot Creek bills and are looking forward to our continued work to also permanently protecting the upper Nooksack River system as Wild and Scenic.
For more information about American Rivers and their work on protecting the wild rivers of the North Cascades, please contact Wendy McDermott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eddie Bauer is a heritage brand that opened its first store in Seattle, Washington in 1920. The foundation of the business was built around Mr. Eddie Bauer’s passion for innovation, quality, and appreciation of the outdoors. As our population grows and the amount of public land available for conservation decreases, it’s no surprise that member companies like Eddie Bauer are prioritizing conservation in their giving programs.
Over 190 outdoor businesses demonstrate their commitment to conservation by contributing annual membership dues to our central grant fund. 100% of their membership dues are passed on to the grassroots organizations working to protect wild places. We plan to distribute $1.65 million in 2015, and look forward to celebrating many conservation victories along the way.
We are thrilled to announce another conservation victory: Access Fund, in partnership with Friends of Muir Valley, raised $200,000 for stewardship of this popular crag. Once this fundraising goal was reached, the landowner agreed to donate this 300-acre world-class climbing destination in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky.
40,000 people visit this forested valley every year, so it is no surprise that individual donations account for 85% of the total amount raised. The $200,000 fundraising goal was reached in just nine months, which included a partial grant from The Conservation Alliance in 2014.
The current owners spent 11 years and over $1 million turning this area into a sustainable climbing resource for future generations to enjoy. Ownership of Muir Valley will be transferred to Friends of Muir Valley in March 2015, ensuring the long-term stewardship of this crag.
Rafting Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River is the trip of a lifetime. Renowned as one of the premiere wilderness rivers in the world, the Middle Fork flows through the largest tract of protected public lands in the Lower 48. The Conservation Alliance and its member companies have supported a diverse team of local organizations working to protect special public lands and iconic rivers in Idaho, and the wild salmon and steelhead that call this place home.
Now YOU have an opportunity to take your own trip of a lifetime on the Middle Fork—and support The Conservation Alliance at the same time!
Thank you for your continued support of The Conservation Alliance and the incredible organizations that work tirelessly to protect wild places and experiences like those found on the Middle Fork. If you feel inspired, please share this opportunity with your community online and on the ground.