Co-operative Retailer Continues its Support for Outdoor Recreation

Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada's leading outdoor retailer, invests $585,000 in 48 community projects in 8 provinces through its community involvement program.
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Vancouver – Mountain Equipment Co-op™ (MEC) today announced its continued support for outdoor recreation and environmental conservation in Canada through its community grants program. In total, the member-owned outdoor retailer invested more than $585,000 for 48 community-based projects across 8 provinces.

Since MEC's grants program started in 1987, the co-op has invested more than $17.5 million in environmental conservation, advocacy, education and outdoor recreation projects across Canada. Based on a formal application process, twice each year MEC members, a director from the co-op's board and staff select the projects to receive support.

“Helping to support Canada's outdoor community and protect our precious natural places is vitally important to MEC,” said MEC community program manager Laurie Edward. “We are proud to support many inspiring initiatives each year by providing one per cent of our sales to community projects. This could not be achieved without our members – members' purchases make these grants possible.”

The grants range in dollar value from $3,000 to $78,000. Some highlights include:
•$20,000 land acquisition grant to the Nature Conservatory of Canada (NCC) for the ‘Tadenac Project, Eastern Georgian Bay Coast.' This joint project between the NCC and the Georgian Bay Land Trust will result in the purchase of 21 hectares of critical coastal habitat in an ecologically significant area of Ontario.
•$15,000 to the Calgary-based Moose Mountain Bike Trail Society to build new intermediate bike trail on Moose Mountain, which will allow mountain bikers to bridge the gap between the novice and expert trails currently offered.
•$12,500 to Ontario Nature for its ‘Inner-city Youth Outdoors' program to engage urban and newcomer youth in recreation and conservation through snowshoeing, hiking, trail maintenance and learning about animal tracks.
•$15,000 conservation grant to CPAWS Wildlands League, to lead and collaborate with other environmental organizations, forestry companies and Aboriginal people in order to develop outcomes of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.

As a member of 1% for the Planet, MEC commits to investing one per cent of total sales every year to environmental initiatives. This commitment saw MEC contribute over $2.6 million in 2010 alone. 1% for the Planet provides third-party verification of each of its member company's commitments.

About MEC

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is Canada's leading retailer of outdoor clothing, gear and services for self-propelled activities like hiking, cycling and paddlesports. Established in 1971, MEC operates 14 destination stores in central locations across Canada. MEC has more than 3 million members throughout Canada and around the world. Widely recognized for its commitment to sustainability, MEC is a member of 1% for the Planet and supports various community-based outdoor and environmental initiatives through its grants program. Anyone can join MEC and become part-owner in the Co-op, by purchasing a $5 lifetime individual membership. Members are entitled to buy gear and to vote on how MEC is governed. More information about MEC's community grants program is available at www.mec.ca/community.

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