Ambassador Profile: Chelsea Pawlek, Supply Chain Manager at Ibex Outdoor Clothing, Inc.

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Conservation Alliance Ambassadors are the next generation of 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 Chelsea Pawlek, Supply Chain Manager at Ibex Outdoor Clothing, located in Vermont. She has been an active volunteer for The Conservation Alliance over the past two years, serving on our Advocacy Committee, and participating in our annual trip to Washington, DC.  She will begin serving a three-year term on The Conservation Alliance Board in August. 

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

The Conservation Alliance is a lot like Ibex: an organization that looks for change and can activate it quickly. I wanted to engage the Alliance to push myself to be a better activist and my company to be a more involved member. The Alliance staff is so welcoming, they made it easy to participate and add value.

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

I would love to see The Alliance even more active in conservation lobbying efforts in Washington, DC. The Alliance has made great efforts in the past two years to include Ambassadors in their spring lobbying trip, creating a growing group of better informed activists. I would love to see this continue to develop and create an even more powerful lobbying effort to protect our wild places.

What areas of conservation are you most passionate about? 

Keeping our rivers and waterways free flowing and clean inspires me to work hard for conservation. Our New England landscape is defined by our many streams, rivers, and lakes. As the climate changes, we need to create large shifts in how we treat our water resources to ensure we cannot only paddle in fifty years, but can drink that water as well.

Favorite outdoor activity?

A day without getting outside is a sad day, so I do many outdoor activities. If I have to pick one, it’s getting friends outside on the water. We own a small fleet of water crafts and I love introducing people to kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding. A long day on the water followed by a BBQ at home is my idea of a perfect day. Having my dog join me paddling is an added bonus.

Most eye opening experience for the need of conservation. 

My parents took me canoeing down the CT River when I was growing up. At the time, the local sewage plant emptied a portion of their runoff directly into a brook connected to the river. Dead fish would be floating in a murky sea of chemicals and trash. As a child this shocked me and instilled for life the need for protection. The brook now runs clean and Ibex participates in an annual cleanup of that same river called Source to Sea.

Words of motivation to get others inspired.

The Conservation Alliance will engage you as much as you engage them. Get out there and get involved! If you’re interested in lobbying, go to DC this spring – go! The Conservation Alliance staff is amazing and the more people who help out the more success we will have.

America’s Most Important Conservation Program Expires in Fewer than 100 Days

In 2012, Western Rivers Conservancy secured LWCF funding to acquire 16,114 acres along the John Day River in Eastern Oregon. Photo: Gary Braasch


The Land and Water Conservation Fund, signed into law 50 years ago by President Lyndon Johnson, will expire in fewer than 100 days unless Congress reauthorizes the landmark legislation. Congress created the LWCF to provide funding to acquire special wild lands and waters, and cultural resources, and to support recreation infrastructure nationwide. It is the federal government’s most tangible commitment to supporting outdoor recreation, and it does not depend on tax dollars.

The LWCF is funded using a small portion – up to $900 million annually – of the royalty payments energy companies pay to drill for offshore oil and gas. In what now seems a prescient move, the authors of the legislation set up a creative system whereby the depletion of one resource pays for the protection of another. That creative solution is now at risk.

Congress originally authorized the LWCF for 50 years, and that initial period is coming to an end. Since 1965, Congress has appropriated $16.8 billion for the LWCF. Those dollars have permanently protected nearly five million acres of public lands including some of America’s most treasured assets such as Grand Canyon National Park, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the White Mountain National Forest, and Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s first federal refuge.

The Conservation Alliance regularly funds organizations that tap into the LWCF to acquire special wildlands. Between 2007-2013, we made 13 grants totaling $400,000 to organizations that used our support to secure more than $99 million in LWCF funds. Because of the LWCF, our grants were multiplied 247 times!

If we value this kind of federal support for outdoor recreation and the lands on which it depends, our members of Congress must act soon to reauthorize the LWCF. Fortunately there are two bills in the Senate and one in the House that would do just that:

  • 338: Introduced by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), this bill would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
  • 890: Introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), this bill not only would permanently reauthorize LWCF, but provide for full, dedicated and permanent funding of the program as well.  This would stop LWCF’s funding from being siphoned off each year in the appropriations process for other, unknown and unaccountable purposes.  In the 50-year history of LWCF, over $18 billion intended for LWCF has been lost to the General Treasury this way.
  • R. 1814: Introduced by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), this bill is a companion to S. 338 on the Senate side and would likewise permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The LWCF is a rare program with strong bipartisan support. We encourage you to join the nationwide effort to urge Congress to permanently reauthorize the LWCF. ( Please take action now. There’s not much time left!

Scott Whipps, Peter Metcalf, and Chelsea Pawlek Elected to The Conservation Alliance Board


We are pleased to announce the results of The Conservation Alliance Board Elections. We had three positions up for election (or re-election), and five outstanding candidates running to fill these seats. By a vote of our membership, Scott Whipps was elected to a second term, and Chelsea Pawlek and Peter Metcalf were chosen as new directors.

Scott Whipps is Clif Bar and Company’s Director of Sports Retail for North America. He has served on The Conservation Alliance board for the past three years and is our current board chair.

Peter Metcalf is Founder and CEO of Black Diamond Equipment. He is a long-time participant in Conservation Alliance activities and a leading voice for conservation in the outdoor industry.

Chelsea Pawlek is Supply Chain Manager at Ibex Outdoor Clothing. She has been an active volunteer for The Conservation Alliance over the past two years, serving on our Advocacy Committee, and participating in our annual trip to Washington, DC.

We are honored to add Chelsea and Peter to our board, and to retain Scott as our board chair. In other board news, we reported last month that we also have new board representatives from founding members The North Face and Kelty. Ann Krcik succeeds Aaron Carpenter in filling The North Face’s permanent board seat, and Eric Greene takes over for Geoff O’Keeffe in the Kelty seat. We look forward to integrating four new board members into our organization!

Filson and American Rivers Work Together to Protect Wild Rivers

Nooksack RIver, WA Photo: Bonnie Rice


The Conservation Alliance Outstanding Partnership Awards are given to members who provide outstanding support to Conservation Alliance grantees. Our third award will be presented to Filson at The Conservation Alliance Breakfast event on August 6, 2015. Filson and American Rivers are providing opportunities for river enthusiasts to come together around a shared passion for protecting wild rivers.  Filson was nominated for this award by Wendy McDermot, Associate Director of the Washington Conservation Programs at American Rivers. Below is an excerpt from Wendy’s nomination:  

On October 1, 2014, Filson hosted the first annual Seattle Wild Rivers Night, an evening of inspirational films and presentations about the rivers of Washington state and the environmental issues they face. Filson donated use of their event space at their new corporate headquarters in downtown Seattle. Nearly 200 river enthusiasts attended the event providing exposure not only to American Rivers, but also to seven other conservation and recreation organizations and businesses. Additionally, Filson donated items valued at nearly $1000 to the event’s silent auction. Seattle Wild Rivers Night was wildly successful thanks to the kindness and support of Filson.

On February 18, 2015, Filson hosted a celebration of the passage of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act which permanently protected almost 40 river miles as Wild and Scenic and just over 22,000 acres as Wilderness. The celebration was coordinated by members of the Alpine Lakes Working Group, which includes American Rivers. Special guests included congressional sponsors of the Act: Senator Patty Murray and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene. Gray Madden, Filson’s President, 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. Once again, Filson generously donated their event space and made us feel very welcomed.

Filson has nominated American Rivers for funding from The Conservation Alliance for many years. They also donate 1% of their fishing wader sales to American Rivers. Filson has been a wonderful partner to American Rivers, and Amy Terai, Filson’s Marketing Manager, is tremendous to work with. Filson truly deserves to receive an Outstanding Partnership Award from The Conservation Alliance.

Ambassador Profile: Jeff Sermak, Marketing Coordinator at Eagle Creek Travel Gear


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. Today, we’d like you to meet Jeff Sermak from Eagle Creek

What made you want to be an Ambassador for The Conservation Alliance? 
In short, the people and The Conservation Alliance’s impact on our wild places.

The people that come together to grow The Conservation Alliance’s reach truly are one of a kind.  I was first introduced to The Conservation Alliance when Steve Barker (board member) and Serena visited the Eagle Creek office. Their passion had me hooked, and I wanted to get involved. Learning about all of the great efforts of The Conservation Alliance made it a no-brainer.

Where would you like to see The Alliance in another 25 years from now?
Being a traveler, I would love to see The Conservation Alliance become a global organization. Traveling is an eye opening experience, and I am shocked by the global wilderness devastation. I’d love to see The Conservation Alliance leading the global charge to protect the earth’s wild places.

What areas of conservation are you most passionate about?
I’m most passionate about preservation and access. I want my nieces and nephews, kids and grandkids to enjoy and experience to wonders of wilderness. There is nothing more magical than to spend time outdoors in mountains and valleys with no city lights staring up at a clear starry sky.

Favorite outdoor activity?
So many to choose from. Decisions… Decisions… I’d have to say hiking and fly fishing.  Even better is the combination of hiking to alpine lakes to fly fish in complete serenity.

Favorite Wilderness or national park?
Gosh, it is hard to pick one. The Inyo National Forest is my home away from home. Inside that though, my favorite wilderness would be the Owens River Headwaters. Some of my greatest memories have been made there, and I still go back for an annual trip with my dad.

Most eye opening experience for the need of conservation?
I traveled for three weeks through China and I spent a week of it on the Yangtze River. During that time they were constructing a new dam and today a lot of what I experienced is now under water. Little villages were completely destroyed and no one will ever get to experience the same opportunity I had.

What is a recent book you read that you recommend?
Wilderness Book: The Enduring Wilderness: Protecting Our Natural Heritage Through the Wilderness Act by: Doug Scott.
Business Book:  The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by: Patrick Lencioni.

End Quote: 
Get out of your comfort zone, volunteer, and share your passion for the outdoors. Not only will it make you feel great, but by introducing new people to wilderness you can teach them the importance of preserving it for future generations to enjoy and discover.

Tuleyome and Juniper Ridge Work Together to Protect the Berryessa Snow Mountain Region

Hall and Obi (wilderness perfumers) from Juniper Ridge, and Sara Husby, Tuleyome’s campaign director, on Walker Ridge. Walker Ridge is public land in the Berryessa Snow Mountain region included in the proposed national monument. 

The Conservation Alliance Outstanding Partnership Awards are given to members who provide outstanding support to Conservation Alliance grantees.  We’re excited to announce Juniper Ridge as the second 2015 Outstanding Partnership Award recipient for their commitment to protecting the Berryessa Snow Mountain region. Juniper Ridge has a unique connection to the native plants found in this region, and they are deeply committed to protecting the landscape. Conservation Alliance grantee, Tuleyome, nominated Juniper Ridge for this award for their ongoing support to the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Campaign. Juniper Ridge will be presented with an award at The Conservation Alliance Breakfast event on August 6, 2015.  

Following are a few words about this outstanding partnership from Charlotte Orr at Tuleyome:

Juniper Ridge partnered with Tuleyome to spread the word about protecting the Berryessa Snow Mountain Region as a national monument. To support this campaign, they donated part of their profits and supported our fundraising efforts with in-kind donations and silent auction items. We are hoping (pushing) to see a national monument designation from President Obama before the end of the year.

Juniper ridge exemplifies the conservation ethic in business practices.  We are grateful for Obi and Hall’s passion for preserving our wild backyard – and are excited that Juniper Ridge won the partnership award from Conservation Alliance. They really deserve it!

 Watch Juniper Ridge and Tuleyome talk about their connection to the Berryessa Snow Mountain region with Sacramento news station CBC 13:

Project Update: Inyo National Forest Recommends Six Wilderness Areas

Grouse Mountain, CA Photo: Todd Vogel

Guest contributor Jora Fogg is the Preservation Coordinator for Friends of the Inyo, a Conservation Alliance grantee.  Jora is leading Friends of the Inyo through the Inyo forest planning revision process, commenting on public lands projects and leading exploration outings to special places in the Eastern Sierra.  

Over the past two years, Friends of the Inyo has worked toward permanent protections for the nearly half a million acres of Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRA) found on the Inyo National Forest, a landscape where Great Basin, Mojave and Sierra Nevada ecosystems merge. These lands provide wildlife corridors, support species’ resilience and adaptation to climate change, while simultaneously ensuring future generations can enjoy these wild places.

The Inyo National Forest management plan is currently being revised and is one of the first forests to use a new Planning Rule. This rule requires the Forest Service to identify and evaluate lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and determines whether to recommend any such lands for wilderness designation. Since December of 2014 the Inyo National Forest has been working on an evaluation of the wilderness characteristics and manageability of each area in their completed inventory.  Just last week the Forest released the results of their evaluation with potential recommendations of areas, along with maps and narratives.

The Inyo National Forest is recommending six wilderness areas, which include three potential new areas in the Glass Mountains and Deep Springs areas, and three additions to existing wilderness in the South Sierra and White Mountains.  Friends of the Inyo is pleased to see these recommendations are consistent with our recommendations presented to the USFS in October 2014. The report and its accompanying maps can be viewed here.

The identification and evaluation of areas for wilderness recommendation will be included as an appendix in the draft and final Environmental Impact Statements expected in September or October 2015.  The final wilderness recommendations by the Forest Supervisor are the next logical steps in achieving protective designations. Friends of the Inyo will work closely with grassroots advocates, local politicians and Forest Service staff to make sure these recommendations carry over to the final plan due out in late 2016.

Looking west towards the potential 17,440 acre Glass Mountain Wilderness   Photo Credit: Drew Foster

Outstanding Partnership Award: KEEN Supports the Protection of Oregon’s High Desert


The Conservation Alliance Outstanding Partnership Awards are given to members who provide outstanding support to Conservation Alliance grantees. The winners of the 2015 Outstanding Partnership Awards will be announced on our blog in the coming weeks, and each member will be presented with an award at The Conservation Alliance Breakfast event on August 6, 2015. We’re excited to announce KEEN Footwear as the recipient of our first 2015 Outstanding Partnership Award.  Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) nominated KEEN for their unwavering commitment to supporting ONDA’s mission to protect Oregon’s high desert.  Heidi Hagemeier, ONDA’s Communications Coordinator, walks us through what a truly outstanding partnership looks like:

It’s difficult to imagine a more active and supportive partner in conservation than KEEN Footwear. From boots on the ground to building organizational capacity, KEEN has consistently soared above and beyond in assisting the Oregon Natural Desert Association’s efforts to protect, defend and restore Oregon’s high desert.

For starters, KEEN consistently backs conservation as part of its organizational commitment. KEEN has long been a sponsor of ONDA’s annual Wild Desert Calendar, which serves as one of our most effective outreach tools for illustrating the magnificence of Oregon’s desert. The company also has offered its swank Pearl District headquarters for two years running to host ONDA’s Portland year-end celebration. And last year, ONDA was a recipient of one of KEEN’s first KEEN Effect grants. The support allowed ONDA to build a new online hub called the High Desert Trip Reports. The tool allows recreationists to share information on Oregon Desert Trail outings and to build community. KEEN further supported ONDA’s online tool by publishing two entries on its blog about the effort.

In addition, KEEN has pledged to make ONDA its 2015 Summer Outdoor Retailer Show shoe sale beneficiary. The proceeds will support efforts surrounding our 800-mile Oregon Desert Trail.

But KEEN’s commitment goes beyond the organization level. Perhaps even more illustrious, KEEN staffers exhibit a personal devotion to conservation that we feel is part of the company culture: To work at KEEN is to love the outdoors and espouse a strong conservation ethic.

Case in point is the tale of Tim Oligmueller, a KEEN employee. He participated last year in one of ONDA’s wilderness stewardship trips. Along the way, he learned about our intent to develop a program in 2015 that would utilize new software for monitoring public lands health in the high desert. In a flash, Tim went back to work at KEEN and secured four brand new iPads for ONDA to use in this effort. We are launching the program this summer, and the iPads will be essential to the work.

Other examples include KEEN Vice President Kirk Richardson, who has long served on the ONDA Board of Directors. Also, KEEN Brand Marketing Coordinator Kirsten Blackburn didn’t hesitate for a second when we asked if she would be willing to share the story of her now-husband’s marriage proposal in Oregon’s high desert. Her piece became the Valentine’s Day edition of our blog.

KEEN is undoubtedly a champion in our efforts to safeguard the vibrant public lands, waterways and wildlife of Oregon’s high desert. We believe KEEN richly deserves The Conservation Alliance’s recognition.

Project Profile: Thaidene Nene Protected Area Campaign

Utsingi Peninsula, Great Slave Lake by Eric Hebert-Daly

Erica Janes is the Conservation Outreach Coordinator for Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Northwest Territories (CPAWS- NWT).  The Conservation Alliance awarded CPAWS-NWT a $30,000 grant in October 2014 for their campaign to protect 7.4 million acres in the proposed Thaidene Nene Protected Area around and beyond the East Arm of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories.

In Canada’s Northwest Territories, at the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, the water is so pure you can dip in your cup and drink, countless rivers flow, and small mainly coniferous trees of the boreal forest give way to the tundra. The people of the  Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation, in partnership with CPAWS and others, are in an exciting phase of establishing Thaidene Nene, a new protected area expected to cover millions of acres.

Thanks to the support of the Conservation Alliance and others, the story of the relationship between people and the land and waters of Thaidene Nene is now being heard by decision-makers and the public in Canada’s capital in Ottawa, and in the territory’s capital in Yellowknife.

We are excited to share that Thaidene Nene is now moving quickly toward becoming Canada’s Northwest Territories’ newest and most innovative protected area. CPAWS has been working with the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation (LKDFN) since 2010 to build public awareness and support for establishing Thaidene Nene.

Thaidene Nene translates from the local Denesoline language as the ‘Land of the Ancestors’. It is the heart of the homeland and the sacred place of the Lutsel K’e Dene people, and it is where their ancestors laid down the sacred, ethical and practical foundations of their way of life. This has always been an important area for the Lutsel K’e Dene, and this is why they are looking to a future that not only protects land, water, and wildlife, but secures their way of life for generations to come. Protecting Thaidene Nene will also diversify the local economy and create sustainable livelihoods and new tourism opportunities for the community and the region.

Exploring frozen Great Slave Lake Photo: Erica Janes

The vision for protecting Thaidene Nene is compelling: it’s not just about the park. Thaidene Nene will help build a sustainable future for the Lutsel K’e Dene – keeping their culture strong and building a sustainable local economy – and it will also protect the heritage of all northerners in Canada.  Hundreds of visitors, mainly from Yellowknife and other points in the NWT already visit the East Arm of Great Slave Lake each summer, drawn by the beauty of the area, the huge fish that populate the lake, and the chance of glimpsing caribou and other wildlife, including birds of prey and muskoxen.

In mid-April, CPAWS representatives from across Canada, many of whom who had never been “north of 60” before,  had the chance to experience Lutsel K’e hospitality for a day. No roads reach this part of  Great Slave Lake or its surroundings; we flew in the roughly 125 miles from Yellowknife. The LKDFN is gearing up for their role as stewards and hosts in what will soon be a park, and we were all given a glimpse of what a local conservation economy could look like: connecting with community members, listening to stories about the land, sharing food, participating in the festivities of the annual Spring Carnival, travelling on the frozen lake by snowmachine to check fishnets, visiting nearby historic sites, and soaking in the incredible beauty of a spring day on the East Arm. No one was left less than inspired – by the stunning landscape, the people and their relationship with their homeland!

We expect to be able to share more news about establishing Thaidene Nene in the near future. In the meantime, you can check out Thaidene Nene virtually at While you’re there, please sign the petition in support of establishing Thaidene Nene. Stay tuned for news about this extraordinary conservation opportunity in the Northwest Territories.

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