Outstanding Partnership Award: KEEN Supports the Protection of Oregon’s High Desert

The Conservation Alliance Outstanding Partnership Awards are given to members who provide outstanding support to Conservation Alliance grantees. The winners of the 2015 Outstanding Partnership Awards will be announced on our blog in the coming weeks, and each member will be presented with an award at The Conservation Alliance Breakfast event on August 6, 2015. We’re excited to announce KEEN Footwear as the recipient of our first 2015 Outstanding Partnership Award.  Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) nominated KEEN for their unwavering commitment to supporting ONDA’s mission to protect Oregon’s high desert.  Heidi Hagemeier, ONDA’s Communications Coordinator, walks us through what a truly outstanding partnership looks like:
It’s difficult to imagine a more active and supportive partner in conservation than KEEN Footwear. From boots on the ground to building organizational capacity, KEEN has consistently soared above and beyond in assisting the Oregon Natural Desert Association’s efforts to protect, defend and restore Oregon’s high desert.
For starters, KEEN consistently backs conservation as part of its organizational commitment. KEEN has long been a sponsor of ONDA’s annual Wild Desert Calendar, which serves as one of our most effective outreach tools for illustrating the magnificence of Oregon’s desert. The company also has offered its swank Pearl District headquarters for two years running to host ONDA’s Portland year-end celebration. And last year, ONDA was a recipient of one of KEEN’s first KEEN Effect grants. The support allowed ONDA to build a new online hub called the High Desert Trip Reports. The tool allows recreationists to share information on Oregon Desert Trail outings and to build community. KEEN further supported ONDA’s online tool by publishing two entries on its blog about the effort.
In addition, KEEN has pledged to make ONDA its 2015 Summer Outdoor Retailer Show shoe sale beneficiary. The proceeds will support efforts surrounding our 800-mile Oregon Desert Trail.
But KEEN’s commitment goes beyond the organization level. Perhaps even more illustrious, KEEN staffers exhibit a personal devotion to conservation that we feel is part of the company culture: To work at KEEN is to love the outdoors and espouse a strong conservation ethic.
Case in point is the tale of Tim Oligmueller, a KEEN employee. He participated last year in one of ONDA’s wilderness stewardship trips. Along the way, he learned about our intent to develop a program in 2015 that would utilize new software for monitoring public lands health in the high desert. In a flash, Tim went back to work at KEEN and secured four brand new iPads for ONDA to use in this effort. We are launching the program this summer, and the iPads will be essential to the work.
Other examples include KEEN Vice President Kirk Richardson, who has long served on the ONDA Board of Directors. Also, KEEN Brand Marketing Coordinator Kirsten Blackburn didn’t hesitate for a second when we asked if she would be willing to share the story of her now-husband’s marriage proposal in Oregon’s high desert. Her piece became the Valentine’s Day edition of our blog.
KEEN is undoubtedly a champion in our efforts to safeguard the vibrant public lands, waterways and wildlife of Oregon’s high desert. We believe KEEN richly deserves The Conservation Alliance’s recognition.