News

CONSERVATION ALLIANCE WORKS WITH MSN TO PROMOTE MEMBER COMPANIES

The Conservation Alliance launched a new initiative this week, with MSN, to draw attention to Alliance member companies for their collective effort to protect wild lands and waterways throughout North America.

MSN Green (http://green.msn.com/) now features a full page about The Conservation Alliance. The page provides links to each manufacturer and retailer in the membership, and encourages readers to support those companies.

"We are always working to raise awareness of the significant commitment our member companies have made to saving special wild places," said Krissy Moehl, Program Associate at The Conservation Alliance, who orchestrated the project. "We're thrilled that MSN recognizes that our collective effort is meaningful."

To view The Conservation Alliance page on MSN Green, please click http://green.msn.com/Shopping/shop.aspx?sid=406.

CONSERVATION ALLIANCE TO LAUNCH ONLINE CONSERVATION COMMUNITY AND SOCAIL NETWORKING SITE

The Conservation Alliance will launch a new initiative called ConservationNEXT, which is designed to give individuals in the outdoor industry the opportunity to engage with Conservation Alliance grantees, and provide a place to connect with each other on-line. The ConservationNEXT site will officially go live on August 8, 2008 at the Outdoor Retailer show. Conservationnext.com will be the focal point of the Alliance’s effort to encourage individual involvement in conservation efforts. Conservation NEXT was inspired by a challenge posed by writer Terry Tempest Williams, who spoke at a Conservation Alliance event in 2007. She asked all members of the crowd to consider, “What are you doing to continue the legacy of conservation?” A group of five committed people answered Williams’ call to action, and founded ConservationNext, dedicated to creating the next generation of environmental stewards.  “ConservationNEXT will let us build a community of people within the outdoor industry who want to become more actively involved in the work of The Conservation Alliance and our grantees,” said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance. “This is a beautiful example of how a small group of passionate advocates can widen the concern of their hearts in the name of all that is wild,” said Williams after hearing about the response to her challenge. “The next generation of leaders is now ConservationNEXT. They inspire me and I know they will inspire others. I cannot wait to see how they will take their concerns and put them into creative actions on behalf of America's wildlands.” “I remember wanting to but not knowing how to get more involved in conservation, and The Conservation Alliance,” recalled Brook Shinsky, ConservationNEXT board member and Visual Merchandising Coordinator at The North Face. “ConservationNEXT lets everyone contribute and participate.” People who join the online community – NEXTers – will create personal profiles highlighting their conservation commitments. The site will also feature profiles of Conservation Alliance grantees, which will provide updates and action alerts designed to keep the community more engaged in their work. A blog hosted by leaders in the conservation movement will add daily news and opinion to the content mix.  “Social networking offers a new channel of communication, a platform for activism, and it provides a virtual meeting space,” said Teva Global Promotions Manager and ConservationNEXT board member Liz Ferrin.  “It’s the new word of mouth – you can hear from 100 friends at once about what’s inspiring them, and what’s new and notable in their communities. Conservation NEXT will be a direct and continuous line of communication between outdoor industry professionals, focused around conservation.” To officially launch the site, ConservationNEXT will host a Booth Crawl at the OR show on Saturday, August 9. Roving happy hour revelers will meet at Osprey at 4 PM to pick up mugs and t-shirts, and share a conservation resolution. They will move to CamelBak and Patagonia at 4:30 PM, to Teva at 5 PM, and roll into The North Face at 5:30 PM. Each booth will host a different Conservation Alliance grantee, which will ask participants to take action at the booth to help their cause.  “The potential for ConservationNEXT to involve a significant number of people both on-line and in-the-field in conservation projects is great,” said ConservationNEXT board member Berne Broudy, Green Editor at Backpacker Magazine. “Between the boundless energy of this board, and the nature of viral marketing, the impacts of this initiative could be bigger than any of us foresee.”  Additional ConservationNEXT founding board members include: Deanna Kavanaugh-Jones from The Forest Group, and Krissy Moehl from The Conservation Alliance. “We are fortunate to have such a dedicated core of volunteers bringing ConservationNEXT to life,” said Sterling. “We’re excited to watch the community grow, and bring more voices to bear on the important conservation issues we face.” For more information, please visit conservationnext.com, or contact Krissy Moehl, krissy@conservationalliance.com, (541) 389-2424.  About the Conservation Alliance:The Conservation Alliance is an organization of outdoor businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their efforts to protect wild places where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Alliance funds have played a key role in protecting rivers, trails, wildlands and climbing areas. Membership in the Alliance is open to companies representing all aspects of the outdoor industry, including manufacturers, retailers, publishers, mills and sales representatives. The result is a diverse group of businesses whose livelihood depends on protecting our natural environment. Since its inception in 1989, the Alliance has contributed more than $6.5 million to grassroots environmental groups. Alliance funding has helped save over 39 million acres of wildlands; 26 dams have either been stopped or removed; and the group helped preserve access to more than 16,000 miles of waterways and several climbing areas.  

For complete information on the Conservation Alliance, see www.conservationalliance.com

CONSERVATION ALLIANCE MEMBERS VOICE SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC LANDS PROTECTIONS

A group of four Conservation Alliance members traveled to Washington DC to talk to members of the US Senate about the importance of a proposal to protect more than 2 million acres of public land and nearly 1000 miles of rivers.

Representatives from KEEN, Cloudveil, Outdoor Industry Association, and The Conservation Alliance spent two days in meetings with 12 Senate offices to show support for S. 3213, a legislative package that includes more than 100 public lands bills. Included in the package are proposals to:

• Protect 128,000 acres of Wilderness and 80 miles of rivers on Oregon’s Mount Hood
• Designate 250,000 acres in Rocky Mountain National Park as Wilderness
• Secure Wild and Scenic River designation for 440 miles of streams in Wyoming’s Snake River headwaters
• Prohibit new oil and gas leases on 1.2 million acres of the Wyoming Range
• Protect 92,000 acres of public land in West Virginia and Virginia

“This is an historic piece of legislation that would save special wild places throughout the US,” said John Sterling, Conservation Alliance Executive Director. “Our members understand that protected public lands are important to the future of the outdoor industry.”

The proposal could go to the Senate floor for a vote before the end of July. Several provisions in the bill have already passed the House of Representatives, while others still need to move through that chamber.

“Whether in July or at the end of the Congressional session, we have reason to hope that these protections will be enacted in 2008,” said Sterling. “And that would be a lot to celebrate.”

Trip participants were Linda Tom (KEEN), Jeff Wogoman (Cloudveil), Amy Roberts (OIA), and Sterling.

CONSERVATION ALLIANCE AWARDS $450,000 IN GRANTS TO 17 ORGANIZATIONS

The Conservation Alliance sent checks totaling $450,000 to 17 organizations working to protect wild places throughout North America. The donations marked the Alliance’s first disbursal of funding for 2008, and represent the largest single funding round in the organization’s history. This round brings total giving to $6.5 million since the organization’s founding in 1989

By a vote of the group’s 155 member companies, The Conservation Alliance made donations to 17 grassroots conservation organizations as follows:

Organization (Location)                                      Amount
American Whitewater (Cullowhee, NC)                  $25,000
Appalachian Mountain Club (Boston, MA) & Trust for Public Land (Montpelier, VT)  $30,000
Audubon Alaska (Anchorage, AK)  $30,000
Campaign to Save the Roan Plateau (Carbondale, CO)  $20,000
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (Ottawa, ON)  $30,000
Cascade Land Conservancy (Seattle, WA)  $30,000
Colorado Mountain Club (Carbondale, CO)  $20,000
Colorado Wild (Durango, CO)  $20,000
Conservation Northwest (Bellingham, WA)  $25,000
Greater Yellowstone Coalition (Bozeman, MT)  $30,000
Idaho Conservation League (Boise, ID)  $20,000
Northern Alaska Environmental Center (Fairbanks, AK)  $30,000
Oregon Natural Desert Association (Bend, OR)  $30,000
Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition (Asheville, NC)  $30,000
Trout Unlimited/Alaska (Juneau, AK)  $30,000
WaterWatch of Oregon (Portland, OR)  $25,000
West Virginia Wilderness Coalition (Morgantown, WV)  $25,000 
                                                                    Total $450,000

“We are proud to once again make the largest grant disbursal in our history,” said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance. “Our member companies continue to recognize that protected wild places are important to the outdoor industry.”

This round of grant recipients reflects the geographic distribution of Conservation Alliance members. Conservation Alliance funds will support efforts to: secure new wilderness designations in West Virginia, Tennessee, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon; protect wild rivers in Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington; halt oil and gas development on public lands in Wyoming and Colorado; protect private forest lands in Maine; and expand park boundaries in Canada.

Each project was first nominated for funding by a Conservation Alliance member company.

“Our members do a terrific job identifying projects for funding,” said Sterling.

This is the first grant disbursement The Conservation Alliance has made in 2008. The Alliance plans a second $450,000 funding cycle in October.

“We are on track to contribute $900,000 in 2008,” said Sterling. “That’s a significant investment in protecting our wild places.”

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF GRANTS

1. American Whitewater (Cullowhee, NC): Colorado Stewardship Program to protect and restore water flows in streams throughout Colorado.

2. Appalachian Mountain Club/Trust for Public Land-Vermont (Montpelier, VT): Mahoosuc Campaign to protect key natural and recreational areas in the Mahoosuc region of New Hampshire and Maine.

3. Audubon Alaska (Anchorage, AK): Alaska Conservation Program to build support to protect key Alaska wildlands including the Tongass National Forest and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

4. Campaign to Save Roan Plateau (Carbondale, CO): Oil & Gas Development Campaign to protect the public lands on Colorado’s Roan Plateau.

5. Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society (Ottawa, ON): Nahanni Forever Campaign to protect the 7-million-acre South Nahanni River Watershed in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

6.  Cascade Land Conservancy (Seattle, WA): Boulder Falls Acquisition Campaign to protect Boulder Falls on Washington State’s Boulder River, a site threatened by a proposed hydroelectric dam.

7. Colorado Mountain Club (Carbondale, CO): ORV Management Plan Campaign to secure a network of non-motorized recreation designations on public lands throughout Colorado.

8. Colorado Wild (Durango, CO): Wolf Creek Pass Development Campaign to protect key habitat in the Southern Rockies from a proposed development on Wolf Creek Pass.

9. Conservation Northwest (Bellingham, WA): Columbia Highlands Initiative to protect 350,000 acres of wilderness, and restore 300,000 acres of forests in Eastern Washington.

10. Greater Yellowstone Coalition (Bozeman, MT): Wyoming Range Campaign to protect the 1.2-million-acre Wyoming Range from proposed oil and gas development.

11. Idaho Conservation League (Boise, ID): Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness Campaign to protect 320,000 acres of wildlands in central Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds Mountains.

12. Northern Alaska Environmental Center (Fairbanks, AK): Yukon Flats Refuge Campaign to protect three areas in Alaska’s Yukon from oil development.

13. Oregon Natural Desert Association (Bend, OR): Badlands Wilderness Campaign to secure Wilderness designation for 30,000 acres of desert wildlands in central Oregon.

14. Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition (Asheville, NC): Tennessee Wilderness Campaign to permanently protect 18,000 acres of public land in Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest.

15. Trout Unlimited Alaska Program (Juneau, AK): Pebble Mine Campaign to protect the Bristol Bay watershed from a proposed open-pit gold-copper mine in the bay’s headwaters.

16. WaterWatch of Oregon (Portland, OR): Free the Rogue Campaign to remove Savage Rapids Dam and other barriers to fish passage and river recreation on Oregon’s Rogue River.

17. West Virginia Wilderness Coalition (Morgantown, WV): Wild Monongahela Wilderness Campaign to protect more than 70,000 acres of public land in the Monongahela National Forest.

CONSERVATION ALLIANCE MEMBERS VOICE SUPPORT FOR CALIFORNIA WILDERNESS

Conservation Alliance members with Rep. Mary Bono Mack whose proposal would protect 190,000 acres in California.

A group of four Conservation Alliance members traveled to Washington DC to talk to members of Congress about the importance of securing new Wilderness designations in Southern California.

Representatives from The North Face, Eagle Creek, Outdoor Industry Association, and The Conservation Alliance spent two days in meetings with 16 Congressional offices to show support for legislation that would protect 192,000 acres of federal land in Riverside County. The California Desert and Mountain Heritage Act would add nearly 80,000 acres to the Joshua Tree National Park Wilderness, and protect 31 miles of desert rivers as Wild and Scenic.

The Conservation Alliance organized the trip in conjunction with the California Wild Heritage Campaign (www.californiawild.org) a recent Conservation Alliance grant recipient.

“This effort would protect iconic wild places in Southern California,” said John Sterling, Conservation Alliance Executive Director. “These lands are within two hours of 22 million people. Our members recognize the importance of preserving these frontcountry recreational destinations.”

Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Mary Bono Mack have teamed up to shepherd the legislation through Congress. All of the lands are in Rep. Bono Mack’s Congressional district.

The Conservation Alliance has 27 member companies based in California, most of which have endorsed protection for these Riverside County areas. Trip participants included Conrad Anker (The North Face), Adam Ziegelman (Eagle Creek), Todd Keller (Outdoor Industry Association), and Sterling.

 

BILL MCKIBBEN TO SPEAK AT CONSERVATION ALLIANCE BREAKFAST

The Conservation Alliance Breakfast at the August 2008 Outdoor Retailer Show will feature guest speaker Bill McKibben, a revered author whose work spans the topics of global warming, alternative energy, and sustainable economies. The breakfast, which is open to the public, is Saturday, August  9, 7:00-9:00 AM at The Marriott in Salt Lake City.

McKibben is a renowned author, educator, and environmentalist. In 1989, he published The End of Nature, the first book about climate change written for a general audience. He has since published more than a dozen books, and hundreds of essays and articles about global warming, alternative energy, and sustainable economies.  In 2007, McKibben published Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, a book that addresses shortcomings of the growth economy and envisions a transition to more local-scale enterprise.

“Bill McKibben has been prescient voice for more than 20 years,” said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance. “I can’t think of a better time to have him address The Conservation Alliance Breakfast, and share his thoughts on how we can navigate the challenges we – and our shared environment – face.”

In late summer 2006, Bill helped lead a five-day walk across Vermont to demand action on global warming, and later founded stepitup2007.org to demand that Congress enact curbs on carbon emissions that would cut global warming pollution 80 percent by 2050. Based on his experience with Step It Up, McKibben published  Fight Global Warming Now, a guide to help people initiate environmental activism in their community.

“Bill is so much more than an author, as he supplements his writing with meaningful citizen action,” added Sterling. “In so doing, he literally walks the talk, and our world is better for it.”

Bill is a frequent contributor to various magazines including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine.

In addition to McKibben’s talk, The Conservation Alliance Breakfast will feature an update on recent Alliance grantees and conservation successes funded by the Alliance. The Conservation Alliance Breakfast is open to the public. For complete information, see http://www.conservationalliance.com/UserFiles/File/CABreakfastWeb.pdf.

EASTERN MOUNTAIN SPORTS MAKES MAJOR COMMITMENT TO CONSERVATION ALLIANCE LEGACY FUND

Eastern Mountain Sports has committed to contribute $500,000 to The Conservation Alliance Legacy Fund over the course of the next five years. The pledge brings the Alliance closer to its $3.5-million goal for the Legacy Fund.

Eastern Mountain Sports’ commitment comes in the wake of the Alliance’s January announcement that the organization will build the Legacy Fund to ensure a permanent source of funding for current operational expenses. The Conservation Alliance contributes 100 percent of each member’s annual dues to conservation projects, and must raise operational costs separately.

“Eastern Mountain Sports has made a strong investment in the future of The Conservation Alliance,” said John Sterling, Executive Director. “By pledging $500,000, the company is also pledging that conservation is a core priority for the outdoor industry. It is a gift not only to the Alliance, but also to future outdoor industry customers who value protected wild places.”

The New Hampshire-based retailer is a long-time Conservation Alliance member, joining in 1997. The company has recently increased its involvement in the Alliance. In 2007, Eastern Mountain Sports contributed 1 percent of sales from two Upgrade Your Gear sales to The Conservation Alliance and The Access Fund. Those promotions raised more than $30,000 for the Alliance last year.

“Eastern Mountain Sports is committed to saving wild lands and rivers for future generations,” said CEO Will Manzer. “We intend to make our partnership with The Conservation Alliance the cornerstone of our future conservation initiatives.”

The Conservation Alliance launched the Legacy Fund at the January Outdoor Retailer trade show with significant commitments and contributions from The North Face, REI, Patagonia, Kelty, Merrell, Dansko, CamelBak, The Forest Group, and former board president Menno van Wyk.

“We were already off to a great start, and with the Eastern Mountain Sports pledge we have taken a huge step toward our goal,” said Sterling.

The Conservation Alliance plans to secure contributions and commitments totaling $3.5 million by August 2009, the organization’s 20th Anniversary.

CONSERVATION ALLIANCE ANNOUNCES MAJOR NEW INITIATIVE AT JANUARY OR SHOW

The Conservation Alliance announced a major new initiative to secure permanence for the organization, and to grow its annual grant budget. Launch of the initiative took place today at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City.

The four founding members of the Alliance – The North Face, Patagonia, REI, and Kelty – have come together around an effort to build $3.5-million endowment to cover the annual operating expenses of the organization, and to significantly increase its annual budget to fund conservation projects. The founder commitments are joined by additional pledges from CamelBak, Merrell, Dansko, KEEN, Inc., The Forest Group, and a personal donation from former board president Menno van Wyk. The heads of each founding member – Steve Rendle (The North Face), Sally Jewell (REI), Casey Sheahan (Patagonia, Inc.), and Kenny Ballard (Kelty) – participated in the announcement.

“The Conservation Alliance faces two main challenges: to increase our annual grant budget, and to secure a reliable source of funding for our operational expenses,” said John Sterling, Conservation Alliance Executive Director. “This initiative will accomplish both.” As a rule, the Alliance places 100 percent of each member’s dues into its grant budget, so the organization must raise operational funds separate from dues.

The endowment – The Conservation Alliance Legacy Fund – is underway with a $1 million commitment from The North Face, a $250,000 commitment from REI, a $500,000 commitment from Merrell, a $10,000 commitment from CamelBak, and a $100,000 contribution from Montrail founder Menno van Wyk. The Alliance will build on these early commitments by seeking contributions from member companies.

Because 100 percent of membership dues go into the Alliance’s grant fund, the organization must look elsewhere to cover operational expenses. These expenses are currently supported by additional contributions from member companies, foundation grants, and fundraising events. Once fully funded, the Legacy Fund will permanently cover the current operating expenses for the Alliance.

“The Legacy Fund will ensure that The Conservation Alliance outlives us all,” said Sterling. “As long as there is an outdoor industry, we will be here ensuring that the industry is active in the effort to protect wild places for their habitat and recreational values.”

In addition to building the Legacy Fund, Patagonia, Inc. has committed to increasing their membership dues to $100,000 annually. As with all dues, the Alliance will direct these funds into its grant budget, and use Patagonia’s commitment to launch a review of the organization’s dues structure.

“Our membership dues have not changed since 1989,” said Sterling. “With Patagonia’s commitment, we have the opportunity to update our dues structure in a way that challenges our larger members to make a greater annual contribution to our grant fund.”

A full review of the dues structure will be part of the Alliance’s 2008 strategic planning process. The Legacy Fund Campaign and the revised dues structure are slated to conclude in August, 2009, the Alliance’s 20th anniversary.

“I can think of no better way to celebrate our 20th Anniversary than to secure permanent funding for our operational expenses, and to implement a new dues structure that will enable us to fund a greater number of conservation projects,” said Sterling.

For complete information about The Conservation Alliance Legacy Fund, see www.conservationalliance.com/legacy.

CONSERVATION ALLIANCE GRANTEE PROTECTS WAPACK WILDERNESS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

A Conservation Alliance grantee, the Northeast Wilderness Trust, has successfully protected the Wapack Wilderness in New Hampshire. The 1,200-acre area contains more than a mile of the Wapack Trail, the headwaters of the Millers River, and sweeping forest views.

The Conservation Alliance supported the Wapack Wilderness Campaign with a $30,000 grant in 2006. Northeast Wilderness Trust (www.newildernesstrust.org) used Alliance support to build grassroots participation in the effort to purchase the area from the Hampshire Country School, a private boarding school that sold the property to help cover increasing operational costs.

“We are excited that the Wapack Wilderness is now permanently protected,” said John Sterling, Conservation Alliance Executive Director. “It is rare to have the opportunity to save a parcel this size in the Northeastern US.”

This victory represents the first phase of the Wapack campaign. Northeast Wilderness Trust plans to secure an additional 200 acres by the end of 2008. Once preserved, the entire 1,400-acre area will be managed as a wild forest. A stewardship endowment will support ongoing ecological assessments, and ensure a quality experience for wildlife and for Wapack Trail through-hikers.

“Northeast Wilderness Trust capably turned our support – and that of others – into a great conservation victory for New England,” said Sterling. “We hope our members are pleased with our continued success in supporting organizations that can get the job done.”

MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR WAREHOUSE SALE AGAIN BENEFITS THE CONSERVATION ALLIANCE

Mountain Hardwear raised $5,140 for The Conservation Alliance at its Fall 2007 warehouse sale. The company gave a 10 percent discount and a t-shirt to any customer that made a $20 donation to The Conservation Alliance. The contribution will help the organization in its ongoing efforts to protect wild places where outdoor customers recreate.

The November event was the fourth time Mountain Hardwear has integrated a fundraising promotion into the sale. In total, the three events have raised more than $15,000 for The Conservation Alliance.

“Once again, Mountain Hardwear has found a creative way to support our efforts,” said John Sterling, Executive Director of the Alliance. “By including The Conservation Alliance in the company’s Factory Sale, Mountain Hardwear has not only raised much-needed funds, but also provided valuable visibility for our efforts to protect North America’s last wild places.”

James Bottoms, Mountain Hardwear’s Director of Operations, conceived the fundraising idea in 2006, and colleague Taylor Shoop developed the t-shirt concept.

“We are excited to support The Conservation Alliance through our Factory Sale,” said Bottoms. “It reminds us and our customers that there is more to our business than product.”

Mountain Hardwear is a long-time Conservation Alliance member with a strong commitment to conservation. The company supports the Alliance through its Gives Back program (http://www.mountainhardwear.com/GivesBack.aspx). In addition to contributing annual dues the Alliance’s grant fund, the company has helped promote environmental causes important to them. Mountain Hardwear regularly features information about conservation efforts in catalogs, and encourages employees to be active in these campaigns.

“Mountain Hardwear’s added support comes at an important time for The Conservation Alliance,” added Sterling. “We have some great opportunities to protect our wildlands and rivers, and every extra donation enables us to better seize those opportunities.”

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