It’s always a fantastic feeling to donate a little sweat equity to give back to the places we play in and the 2011 Backyard Collective was no exception. Backyard Collective’s were started back in 2008 as a program of The Conservation Alliance. In essence, they bring Conservation Alliance member companies together with grantees for a day of service work. Put a bunch of outdoor industry people together with environmental not-for-profit folks and that adds up to a LOT of work done in one short day. This is an energetic and motivated demographic that’s not afraid to get dirty!
I have no idea who the people are who will change my life in the next two years. I had no idea, two years ago, that a woman making a spontaneous stop in a Patagonia store in California would change mine now. Susanne Conrad caught a glimpse of a tall hardbound book called Vertical Ethiopia. I’d written it, but that didn’t matter to her, then. Ethiopia mattered.
A few months later, a random email appeared in my inbox. Sapna Dayal introduced herself and suggested that we might have much in common. She was the executive director of imagine1day, a non-profit dedicated to changing the world’s future via building schools in Ethiopia. We spent following winter months talking. I’d come home from ice climbing in New Hampshire and watch it get dark and cold in New England as Sapna would pause her afternoon in a rainy Vancouver for us to brainstorm about how to work together in the high desert in the Horn of Africa.
This September 23rd marks the start of our answer. Sapna, Susanne and I, along with Shannon Wilson, are leading a group on a three-week journey of adventure, global stewardship, and scared connection. Together, we’re raising enough money to build a new school—imagine1day’s 7th primary school in Ethiopia. We’re going rock climbing, visiting ancient churches, hiking to schools imagine1day built where the wells that broke ground were often the first ever in a three-mile radius, and more.
Remember when you were a kid and you’d connect the dots on cheap piece of paper to make the Little Engine that Could or Strawberry Shortcake? Remember when you were young enough to not know what you were connecting until it was done? I have no idea what we are all drawing together. I am just one of the dots. I’m a leader dot– the Ethiopia and adventure expert on the trip, but I still have no idea what our picture will look like.
Today I’m kicking off a pre-trip series of etchings via blogs. Come back. Every other week I’ll tell you more about what we’re doing. I’ll post up an audio clip of 1984 ballad about Ethiopia—that I wrote, when I was eight. It’s bad. It’s a ballad. (It was the 80’s).
Learn more, get involved, become a dot:
Photos by rogelphoto.com
What is additive adventure? Majka Burhardt made it up. But she’s betting you might live your life in a quest for the same–when adventure goes beyond exploration and toward cultural and environmental connection. “Additive Adventure” tracks Majka’s forays into the greater world while she asks for the linkages between…everything. Read Majka’s stories of the far afield and track how she brings them close to home every other Friday.
If you spend any time climbing in Minnesota, make sure to take a day this year to give a climbing crag some love. The good folks at Minnesota Climbers Association have a ton of great clean-ups happening this year. These are a great way for climbers to get involved in the community, and allows us to give back and help keep the areas we frequent clean and beautiful.
Visit the Minnesota Climbers events page for details… What are you waiting for? Mark your calendar and take part!
PHOTO courtesy Apex Adventure Alliance, LLC.
Photo courtesy Conservation Alliance grantee Save Our Wild Salmon. © Matt Leidecker
Here at Osprey Packs, we’re psyched to be a member of the Conservation Alliance. They are a direct link from us, the companies in the outdoor industry, and conservation groups protecting the wild places we love to play. We’re proud to be a part of the Alliance and to be able to support the good work of all of their grantees in our own backyard and across the country. Keep up the great work!
This week, the Conservation Alliance granted $400,000 to 15 organizations. With the strong support of our member companies, we are looking forward to a year of more conservation victories!
Protecting mountains in Appalachia from mountaintop removal, to saving a climbing wall in Washington for future generations, and working to remove four dams on the Lower Snake River, our member companies stepped it up this season to protect the wild places we love. Thank you!
And congratulations to the passionate and dedicated folks working hard on the ground to ensure we have free-flowing rivers, wild mountains and clean oceans to explore!