Conservation Alliance to Launch Online Conservation Community/Website

ConservationNEXT will link individuals with conservation efforts and includes a social networking site
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Bend, Ore.: The Conservation Alliance will launch a new program 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 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.


Contact:
Krissy Moehl
541-389-2424
krissy@conservationalliance.com

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden
970-259-3555
kco@verdepr.com

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