by Ashley Lodato
Remember your first trip out into the backcountry? It was a pine forest, granite cliffs looming above, snow-fed streams tumbling beside the trail. Or it was sandstone mesas, geologic layers straight out of a textbook, canyon wrens trilling in the cool evening air. Perhaps it was a chain of lakes, loons crying, the dip of your canoe paddle the only interruption to the glassy surface. Or endless glaciers, the dim blue light of a crevasse mirrored in the brilliant sky above.
Whatever the place, it had one thing in common with the others: it was wild. Uncultivated, natural, largely unsullied by human imprint. You love these wild places. You feel free. You feel in touch with the rhythms of the earth. You feel like you can be your best and truest self in these places.
Never in our nation's history have our wild spaces been so much at risk. Corporate greed, a lack of connection to the environment, and the insatiable human quest for dominance over nature have resulted in legislation and practices that threaten some of the most pristine areas left in the United States.
That's why the Conservation Alliance is working to protect wild places. Located right here in Bend, OR, the Conservation Alliance engages businesses to fund and partner with organizations to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values. It's the 1989 brainchild of leadership at REI, Patagonia, The North Face, and Kelty, who wanted to increase outdoor industry support for conservation efforts by funding community-based grassroots campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat.
In fewer than 30 years, the Conservation Alliance has:
- contributed over $15 million to grassroots conservation groups throughout North America
- helped save more than 45 million acres of wildlands
- protected 2,972 miles of rivers helped stop or remove 28 dams designated five marine reserves and
- purchased 11 climbing areas
All this, largely through funds contributed by member companies who believe in the Conservation Alliance's mission.
Bronwen Jewelry is a proud sponsor of the Conservation Alliance; we feel great knowing that our jewelry sales help protect the wild places that call to us and inspire us. Not only are we a business sponsor of the Conservation Alliance, but we recently participated in its We Keep It Wild campaign, in which business contribute a percentage of their proceeds for a number of days on or near Earth Day. We gave 20% of online sales for 4 days to this campaign, so every purchase of a beaded bracelet, a necklace from our Active Jewelry line, a set of ear jackets, or any of our other handcrafted artisan jewelry resulted in a contribution to efforts to preserve wild spaces for generations to come.
We weren't alone in this effort; 21 other companies joined us in contributing proceeds from retail sales. From Kelty to Camelbak, from Moosejaw to Jaybird, companies who care about wild places put our money where our bottom lines are.
The wild places we love are inspired by and reflected in our jewelry: our landscape necklaces that conjur up the mountains, deserts, and forests we love; the Cascade Earrings that remind us of waterfalls; the Trail Necklaces that accompany us on every hiking, skiing, or rafting trip.
Without our wild places, we'd lose not only our inspiration, but our solace. We need those wild spaces--and those wild spaces need us now more than ever.
Visit the Conservation Alliance to learn more about how you can help protect the places we play.