Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine Recognized as an Outstanding Partner

This photo is from a recent bike trip with Blue Ridge Outdoors and West Virginia Rivers Coalition across the proposed Birthplace of Rivers national monument area.

Each year we invite Conservation Alliance grantees from the past three funding cycles to nominate member companies for an Outstanding Partnership Award. The award recognizes member companies that go above and beyond in building relationships with Conservation Alliance grantees. Each nomination describes how the company engaged in a meaningful partnership to help the organization succeed in its conservation work. Celebrating these partnerships is a reflection of the community we have helped to build and exemplifies “Outdoor businesses giving back to the Outdoors.”   In the coming weeks we will publish all of the nominations on our blog, beginning with Angie Rosser’s nomination of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. Angie, Executive Director of West Virginia Rivers Coalition, shares her partnership story below. 
We are delighted to nominate Blue Ridge Outdoors for the Outstanding Partnership Award. “BRO” is a shining example of how outdoor businesses can lead in efforts to protect wild places for recreation, habitat, and natural values. Their recognition of the intrinsic and social values of wild places is core to their company’s culture. They do this by telling great stories, raising awareness of grassroots conservation efforts, and encouraging volunteerism — including among its staff.
In BRO stories, public lands are more than playgrounds; they are treasures not to be taken for granted. They remind readers that outdoorspeople are called to be stewards and, when necessary, activists — that wild places remain so only when people protect them. BRO articles tell the stories of how lands are conserved as well as who the volunteer stewards are for the places they cover. BRO also uses its robust social media reach to invite readers to take action and get involved in the public lands they enjoy.
BRO s is currently a partner in our efforts to create the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument, for which we received a Conservation Alliance grant. BRO has helped us reach over a million people about the proposed monument through the print magazine and social media network, especially through two feature-length articles: The Next National Monument and Birthplace of Rivers: West Virginia’s First National Monument? Other shorter articles also tout the value of the area’s recreation access and wild ecology.
Another feature article is in the works — this one will explore the monument by bicycle. A BRO reporter will spend three days circumnavigating the monument area on bike along with WV Rivers staff. Once again, the coverage — true to the BRO way — will describe not only the incredible adventure to be found there, but the efforts of ordinary people working to bring about permanent protection for the wildness of Birthplace of Rivers.
As a respected voice, BRO’s brand helps validate the efforts of small groups like ours among an audience we could never reach on our own.
The BRO editorial and sales teams are ambassadors for our proposal and other conservation partners at outdoor festivals and wherever they can. At the annual Gauley whitewater festival in West Virginia, our staff visited the BRO booth to say thanks; upon arrival they found sales staff of BRO describing to BRO readers in great detail the efforts to protect Birthplace of Rivers, and how important it is for readers to go to the WV Rivers table their to sign our petition. BRO staff are also regular volunteers on local projects from West Virginia to Georgia.
This type of public advocacy extends far beyond Birthplace of Rivers. A recent article, “Five Places That Need Permanent Protection in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest,” uses first-person accounts to describe why these special places are worthy of protection. A recent article, “Ain’t Nothin’ Livin’ in There,” describes how coal mining has destroyed fish and wildlife habitat throughout the region. As West Virginia’s only statewide water policy group, we appreciated how BRO showed the impacts of energy extraction on the waters we rely on for recreation and daily living.
BRO knows that the challenge of protecting wild places is particularly hard work in the under-resourced areas of southern Appalachians. Each month Blue Ridge Outdoors does their part to help.