Conservation Alliance Ambassadors are key influencers and leaders in the outdoor industry, and they serve as a conduit for spreading the word about Conservation Alliance programs and grantee activities within their respective companies. They volunteer their time, going above and beyond the duties of their full-time jobs at member companies. Our ambassadors are passionate outdoor enthusiasts, and exceptional people. Today, we’d like you to meet Laura Schaffer, Social & Environmental Responsibility Manager at Mountain Hardwear.
What made you want to be an Ambassador for The Conservation Alliance?
Conservation is something that’s best accomplished when people and places work together. The Ambassador opportunity is huge because we have a bunch of people within Mountain Hardwear who are hungry to actively engage in preserving the places we all love to play so I get to be the conduit between action makers and people who want to be a part of the action. Working with the Conservation Alliance board and other Ambassadors to lobby on Capitol Hill has been an incredible education in conservation policy and advocacy, and is one way I hope to ensure future generations are able to discover all that our natural spaces have to offer. Our industry’s greatest asset is nature itself and we wouldn’t exist without this earth’s inspiring and resource-filled wild places. Engaging with the Conservation Alliance is the least I can do to give back to all our planet has given us.
What areas of conservation are you most passionate about?
I’m most passionate about driving preservation of places that people find close to home. If we can maintain and grow wild places that are near and dear to people who cherish them, we will be able to conserve so much more down the road. As more and more people realize the incredible value and importance of our land and water, more and more people will become drivers of conservation, which is super important because conservation requires an ongoing commitment. Education drives new experiences, which drives passion and commitment to more education and conservation.
Favorite outdoor activity?
Put me on a mountain with skis underneath me and I am a happy woman. When I’m skiing I feel absolutely fully present – it’s me, the peaks and trees around me, the snow on my cold face, burning legs, racing heart and a whole lot of serenity. The other time I feel this absolutely sense of being in the right place and fully focused on what’s at hand is climbing, my other favorite way to experience the power of our great outdoors.
Favorite Wilderness or National Park?
Oh there are SO many special and unique places. Some of the best days of my life have been spent in the Sawtooths. The Ruby Mountains serve up incredible lines with not a soul in sight. Yosemite is just stunning and near and dear to my heart because it’s where I began to scratch the surface of what climbing could be. And the Wasatch and the Sierra have endless “just go and see where you end up” possibilities.
Most eye opening experience for the need of conservation.
For me, the fundamentally influential experience goes back to my childhood, when our family vacations were all camping trips. This fully shaped who I am today – my desire to explore places off the beaten path and all of the discovery that comes along with that – and it’s imperative that my two year old and her posse are able to have that experience. Threats like the Grand Canyon tramway and the movement to sell federal lands in my beloved Utah make me shake in my boots.
End Quote: Words of motivation to get others inspired.
Our wild places can get along just fine without us, but we’d be nowhere without our wild places. Life is better lived outside, and it’s up to us to make that possible.