ConservationNEXT First Backyard Collective Results

Over 80 outdoor industry volunteers got their hands dirty for conservation

ConservationNEXT, a program of The Conservation Alliance, launched the Backyard Collective last week. This event was the first in a series of stewardship efforts that will bring together outdoor industry employees and Conservation Alliance grantees for hands on environmental stewardship.

In partnership with Oakland-based nonprofit Save the Bay, more than 80 employees from seven Bay Area outdoor industry companies restored wetland habitat and picked up trash in the Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline Park in Oakland, CA. Companies participating in the event included The North Face, Clif Bar, REI, Mountain Hardwear, CamelBak, Wilderness Press, and Ahnu Footwear. Their efforts resulted in the planting of 864 native seedlings, and over 100 pounds of trash being removed from the shoreline. To put their work into perspective, the 82 volunteers who came out for this event worked the equivalent of 6 people working a full 40-hour work week.

Morning and afternoon clean-up sessions overlapped midday with a barbeque and volunteer fair where volunteers met with other Conservation Alliance grantees and learn how to participate in future environmental action projects in their community. Representatives from California Wilderness Coalition, Friends of the River, The Wilderness Society and Friends of the Inyo were on hand to talk about their conservation efforts, and sought volunteers from the day's participants.
The Conservation Alliance launched ConservationNEXT in August, 2008 to connect individuals in the outdoor industry with the work of organizations that receive financial support from the Alliance. provides people with opportunities to take online action in support of conservation. The Backyard Collective moves that action to the field, and gives people a venue to get their hands dirty in their own communities.
“This project represents ConservationNEXT's commitment to making conservation happen, not just online, but by being the place where volunteers and projects connect directly,” said Brook Shinsky, Co-Founder of ConservationNEXT and employee of The North Face. “We're bringing together companies that are competitors on a day-to-day basis, and inviting them to work together on an issue that is bigger than any of us, and has a direct impact on our industry.”
Amber Hoffman, Outreach Specialist at REI Berkeley said, “REI's partnership with The Conservation Alliance is a superb match. Our mission is to inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Through efforts like the Backyard Collective and, The Conservation Alliance is helping to create the next generation of outdoor stewards, people who will be stewards for a lifetime.”

Conservation Alliance Executive Director John Sterling agreed. “Our ConservationNEXT program is building 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,” he said. “We look forward to planning additional Backyard Collective projects throughout 2009 and beyond.”

Brook Shinsky