Eight REI Stewardship Award Winners Announced

Volunteer Organizations Receive $160,000 in Grants
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Leading trail clearing crews on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, developing a Peace Garden in Boston or restoring an ancient irrigation ditch at Montezuma Castle National Monument, the work of volunteers has become essential to maintaining America's great outdoor experiences.

Across the country thousands of volunteers participate in projects that help protect our natural landscapes, lead youth groups and teach safe and responsible enjoyment of outdoor recreation. In recognition of this volunteerism, Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), a national retail cooperative providing quality outdoor gear and clothing, today announced eight recipients of the REI Stewards for the Environment Award.

“Each of these volunteers have made contributions that are unique to who they are and worked with groups that are finding important ways to make a difference,” said REI President and CEO Sally Jewell. “We hope that their stories will inspire many others to get involved.”

This year's eight recipients of the annual award will also receive a $500 REI gift card. REI will donate a total of $160,000 in environmental stewardship project grants – $20,000 to each of the organizations with which the recipients volunteer.

The winners of the REI Stewards for the Environment awards are:

Pete “Pickaxe” Fish of Sacramento, Calif., with the Pacific Crest Trail Association.
Inspired by the experience of hiking Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, Fish volunteered to work on a trail crew. He became an effective organizer and leader of trail maintenance efforts in the southern California region for the association. Fish and his teams have devoted tens of thousands of hours organizing trips throughout the year, prioritizing trail segments and clearing the trail of downed trees and errant boulders.

Fran Taylor of San Francisco, Calif., with San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
Since 1994, Taylor has been a community organizer, motivator and aggressive proponent of alternative transportation, traffic calming and urban greening in San Francisco. She has spent hundreds of hours as a coalition representative at community meetings, signature gathering, educating and corresponding with those interested in improving their neighborhood's environment.

Jan Prentice of Seattle, Wash., with Seattle Girl Scouts – Totem Council.
By leading courses on basic camping and hiking skills with a strong emphasis on the principles of Leave No Trace, Prentice has taught the adults who in turn have helped thousands of girls engage in responsible outdoor recreation with awareness and appreciation for the environment. She has educated 3,000 volunteer leaders over 30 years.

Anna Ryan of Tempe, Ariz., with Volunteers for Outdoor Arizona.
At age 16, Ryan has become the youngest certified crew leader for Volunteers for Outdoor Arizona. She has completed 16 projects, including the construction of a new pedestrian bridge deck, removal of salt cedar from Cave Creek and the restoration of an ancient but functioning irrigation ditch at Montezuma Castle National Monument. Now she is bringing classmates to volunteer, acting as both a peer and a leader to her fellow students.

Bill Tregoning of Boise, Idaho, with Winter Wildlands Alliance.
Tregoning has been a dedicated volunteer starting out as treasurer and then keeping the organization afloat when they were struggling and in need of leadership. Tregoning also donated more than 500 hours to Bogus Basin Nordic Trail Solar Lighting Project, digging trenches, laying conduit, pulling wire, hanging solar panels and control boxes and assembling lights for the 89 poles that cover five kilometers of lighted trail.

Allen de Hart of Raleigh , N.C., with Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
For nearly 35 years, de Hart has led the progress and vision for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in North Carolina. When complete, this trail will stretch 1,000 miles across North Carolina. De Hart is the founder of the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and responsible for growing the membership to excess of 1,000. He personally gave 1,473 hours of service last year.

Dan Harrison of Troy, Mich., with Michigan Mountain Biking Association.
For more than 30 years, Harrison has logged thousands of hours throughout his home state as a cycling spokesperson, trail designer and builder, trainer and lobbyist. He founded a trail building school, which has trained more than 100 volunteers trail in advanced trail design and construction. Harrison's work also includes donating salvaged bikes to inner-city youth and restoring natural habitat in Michigan's lakes.

Nataka Crayton of Boston, Mass., with Urban Ecology Institute.
Crayton volunteers in the CityRoots program and led the development of the Cabot Street Peace Garden. CityRoots offers residents in underserved communities in Greater Boston the opportunity to beautify their neighborhoods through planting projects. Crayton has inspired and empowered others to get involved in creating the kind of community where they want to live, work, play and raise families.

REI retail store employees across the country nominated local non-profit organizations for their exceptional work in the area of environmental stewardship and promoting outdoor recreation. The organizations in turn were each asked to nominate one volunteer. Nominees were evaluated on the overall impact of their efforts, personal time investment, creative approach and success in engaging others in the cause.

Following today's announcement, REI will host local ceremonies to personally recognize each individual and to present their non-profit organization with a $20,000 check.

About REI
REI is a national outdoor retail cooperative, committed to inspiring, educating and outfitting for a lifetime of outdoor adventures. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is today the nation's largest consumer co-op with more than 2.8 million active members. REI offers products from all of the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, hiking, outdoor cross training, paddling, snow sports and travel, including its own line of award-winning gear and apparel. While anyone may join or shop at REI, members pay a one-time $15 fee and receive a share in the company's profits through an annual member refund based on their purchases. REI currently operates stores in 25 states, two online stores – REI.com and REI-OUTLET.com – and an adventure travel company, REI Adventures. A portion of REI's profits is set aside each year for support of environmental stewardship and outdoor recreation causes.

Editors note: Photos and contact information of award winners available.

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