It’s not often that we can collectively give back to the one thing in our lives that fuels our passion and provides us an escape from reality, Nature. Let’s face the facts, between all of our daily obligations and our personal pursuits, time is stretched thin and we’re just grateful for any spare moments we can spend making memories in the outdoors. As an individual, you can figure out small and unique ways to give your thanks to mother-nature for all that she has provided you, yet joined by hundreds to provide that same gratitude can be remarkable.
The Backyard Collective is an event, organized by The Conservation Alliance, at which those who have dedicated their lives to outdoor stewardship and those who love the outdoor pursuits can come together for the same reason. We at Osprey value this event because although we help others pursue outdoors by providing them highly innovative gear; this is our chance to return our appreciation to the outdoors for all that it has taught us and provided us.
Founded in 1989 by outdoor industry businesses including REI & Patagonia, The Conservation Alliance began with the mission to increase outdoor industry support for conservation efforts. In other words, the businesses making gear and apparel for use in the outdoors by outdoor enthusiasts committed to protecting the wild places enjoyed by their customers. The Conservation Alliance today is made up of 185 outdoor industry companies (Osprey Packs is a proud member!) that disburses its collective annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations, specifically community-based campaigns focused protecting on threatened wild habitat — preferably where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Since inception in 1989, Conservation Alliance funding has helped save more than 42 million acres of wildlands; protect 2,825 miles of rivers; stop or remove 26 dams; designate five marine reserves; and purchase nine climbing areas. In 2014 to-date, The Conservation Alliance has awarded a record $1.55 million in grants.
The Conservation Alliance’s Backyard Collective events further connect members of the alliance with the outdoors by bringing together member company employees and local grantees for a day of environmental action. via The Conservation Alliance:
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…The BYC program brings together members of the Conservation Alliance community and illustrates firsthand the benefits of conservation efforts and the larger work of The Conservation Alliance.
The Conservation Alliance organized seven Backyard Collectives in 2014, bringing together over 1,000 member company employees, 39 member companies and 36 nonprofits, to accomplish an amazing amount of work including trail building and maintenance, tree planting, invasive species removal, habitat restoration, and flood debris removal. Each event included a volunteer fair, allowing volunteers to learn more about local nonprofit organizations and projects they can get involved with in their local community.
On September 19th, we were joined by almost 200 people at the 2014 Backyard Collective in Boulder to reconstruct trails in Golden Gate Canyon State Park that were drastically affected by the mud-slides of 2013. The year of 2013 was a rough one for the front-range of Colorado. Record-breaking mudslides and fires took their toll on our State and National parks, depositing debris in small streams and channels that have altered countless trails.
Our team of 7 volunteers drove a total of 16 hours from Southwest Colorado so that we could partake in this event. To hear about an environmental tragedy in the local news and to see the results of it are two entirely different experiences. To listen to the State Park Ranger explain the effects of what these mudslides did to the trails, such as diverging streams and bringing down trees, was a point in which I realized that we as a community, as a collective effort, were responsible for the reviving the trails and areas that we are so fortunate to enjoy.
That day, 175 volunteers showed up with the same idea and enthusiasm. The collective energy of these outdoor enthusiasts was contagious and inspiring. We all went to work, reviving 4-6 large areas of the State park. We worked side-by-side, complete strangers, yet all with the same commitment.
I am personally honored that my company and our employees, have always valued the outdoor experience above all. The Conservation Alliance provided a unique experience for both our 7 volunteers and the 164 others that joined us that day. Although our individual actions may have been small such as clearing steams and trail work, our collective effort will provide outdoor memories for those to come.
If you would like to be a part of collective effort to protect and conserve our outdoors, be sure to check out the campaigns and grassroots organizations funded by the Conservation Alliance or any of the other non-profit organizations that participated in the Boulder Backyard Collective, including:
For more than two decades American Rivers has released its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers. American Rivers released the 2013 list today, and the river at the top—the most endangered river in the nation—is the mighty Colorado.
As Americans we are lucky to have this river in our proverbial backyard. But our demands on the river’s water now far exceed its supply, leaving the river so over-tapped that it no longer flows to the sea. A century of water management policies and practices promoting wasteful water use have put the river at a critical crossroads.
Take action here.
It’s now into the fifth day of peaceful protest outside of the White House, where a diverse group of concerned Americans are gathering to send the Obama administration a simple message: Do not approve the Keystone XL, a 1,700 mile pipeline that would inextricably link the nation’s energy future to Canada’s tar sands — the dirtiest fuel source known to man. So far, more than 200 people have been arrested in the protests, including well-known author and climate advocate Bill McKibben.
What do you think?
Mountainfilm isn’t just a festival to showcase films; it’s a festival devoted to sparking a conversation. It’s an assembly of people who have come together to see what the human spirit can achieve.
POWER IN THE PRISTINE PREMIER
Saturday, January 15: Great Hall, Doors at 9a.m.
Patagonia, one of the last untouched places on the planet is under attack. Big business seeks to choke two of the region’s most pristine rivers with dams and plans to decimate unique forest ecosystems to build the longest powerline in the world. Led by pro athlete, Timmy O’Neill and writer, Craig Childs, Team Rios Libres journeys from the source of the Baker River to the sea and learns why we must act now to Keep Patagonia Wild.
Join Osprey Packs and James Q. Martin for pack giveaways and an update on the Rios Libres campaign to keep Patagonia’s rivers wild.
CELEBRATE WILD SALMON PREMIERE PARTY
Saturday, January 15: The National Hotel, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Connecting ocean and forest in the Great Bear Rainforest and tackling an epic migration from Alaska to Idaho’s mountains, salmon are an integral piece of our cultures, ecosystems, food security and global economies. But to save them, we have to protect their habitat and restore migration corridors.
Join the filmmakers of The Greatest Migration and SPOIL for a beer and take action to protect wild salmon and the people, places and wildlife that depend upon them. Sierra Nevada brews, photo projections from iLCP and gear giveaways from Patagonia and Osprey Packs!
Make sure to catch The Greatest Migration and SPOIL on the big screen too! See full Wild & Scenic Film Festival schedule here.
Our ocean. It generates most of the oxygen we breathe. It gives us food. It regulates our climate and cleans the water we drink. And for anyone who has ever stood on the beach and closed their eyes, listening to the waves crash—our ocean is exhilarating and provides limitless inspiration.
It’s our ocean, so we need to protect it. Today is World Oceans Day. What are you doing to celebrate and protect our oceans?
Today is Endangered Species Day, and tomorrow is the International Day of Biodiversity, so do something to celebrate our incredible community of species. And while you’re at it, do something to protect it.
What exactly is biodiversity? The International League of Conservation Photographers put together this great multimedia piece that showcases what biodiversity is and why it’s important. Watching it, you’ll quickly realize that biodiversity is something that affects all of us… and that’s why we have a duty to do something to ensure its protection.
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5 Ways to Celebrate Endangered Species Day
- TAKE ACTION – Tell the Secretary of the Interior to protect critical habitat for endangered polar bears and stop Shell Oil from off-shore drilling, or urge President Obama to save the West’s most iconic salmon species from extinction.
- Update your Facebook profile pic – Show your support for endangered species with a photo of your favorite wildlife species. Both National Wildlife Federation and the Endangered Species Coalition have some species snaps to choose from. Let us know you did it by including @Endangered Species Coalition or @National Wildlife Federation in your status message.
- Help spread the word via Twitter – Share an Endangered Species Day message or wildlife fact with your friends and family. Make sure to include #speciesday in your tweet.
- Attend an Endangered Species Day event! Events are held across the country to highlight endangered species stories.
- Get Outside! Take a hike on your favorite trail, climb your favorite pitch or shred up the last of that spring snow. What species live there? And what can you do to make sure that they will be there for future generations?
The catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused late last month by the explosion of an offshore oil rig has put local economies, wildlife and the Gulf’s delicate coastal ecosystem at risk. And unfortunately oil is still spilling. This could easily be one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation’s history.
As part of the outdoor community, we understand firsthand how important it is to safeguard this country’s natural world. This country’s unparalleled wildlands and waters form the bedrock of our industry — they are the places that inspire us to manufacture the highest-quality products so that our customers can enjoy the best-possible outdoor experiences. These wild places — along with the plants, animals and ecosystems they support — are also an integral part of the outdoor spirit, and we take very seriously our industry’s responsibility to help protect them for generations to come.
So, take a moment today to do something to help the wildlife that’s hurting in the Gulf today. Here are some tips from the National Wildlife Federation:
1. Text “WILDLIFE” to 20222 to Donate $10 – You can help wildlife threatened by the oil spill by donating via your mobile phone. Your donation will help support National Wildlife Federation’s on-the-ground volunteer and restoration efforts.
2. Speak Up for Cleaner Energy Choices – Tell your senators that now more than ever we need to pass comprehensive legislation that provides America with cleaner and safer energy choices.
3. Help Spread Messages Online – There are tons of groups out there working hard on the ground. Give a follow Friday to these folks @NWF, @waterkeeper, @NRDC for updates about the BP Oil Spill and how people are taking action.
With all of the bad environmental news bearing down on us, it’s important to stay inspired and motivated to keep fighting. That’s why we’re psyched to support the Wild & Scenic Film Festival — the largest environmental film festival in the United States.
Wild & Scenic is on tour and may be coming to your neck of the woods. Check the tour schedule and boogie on over to watch some incredible films, then get out and protect our beautiful world!
And if you need a bit of inspiration right now, take a few moments to watch Flathead Wild from our good friends at the Epicocity Project. The good news? The Canadian government announced a ban on oil and gas development in the Flathead River Basin. Groups are now working to permanently protect this wild, ecological gem.
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