“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ―Dale Carnegie
2% for Conservation would like to make it very clear that we are in no way advocating for the breaking of any social distancing / shelter-in-place mandates our readers might be under. Please obey your local health officials so that we can all get back to some semblance of normal life as quickly as possible. Thank you!
A message from our Executive Director's Desk:
More than any other shared trait, the desire to 'do something' is strong within 2%'ers. We have gone out of our way to commit ourselves to a standard for helping wildlife, future generations, and the outdoor activities we each individually love in our own ways.
That makes what is going on that much more difficult for people like us. The uncertainty, feelings of being trapped, and the macabre coverage of the COVID-19 virus' seemingly inexorable advance... it's enough to make some of us go a little of our rockers.
I'd like to offer some encouragement, and some real tips THAT WORK to help you stay engaged in what grounds you, and hopefully help your sanity during this time. There's no need for this situation to turn your home into a bad remake of "The Shining." Let's do something!
Fear and action are mortal enemies - They can only briefly exist in the same space before one defeats the other.
As we always do, I'm going to share how you can use what you might presently have in abundance to do a disproportionate amount of good during this time. Whether you are in the majority sitting at home with more time than dollars, or the minority on the flip of that... We've got work for you!
Ways to give your time:
1. Call your local conservation volunteers.
This is a challenging time for us all, and especially for those in volunteer leadership. Most of the world is focused on helping people that help people... which is good and necessary. But, the folks who organize the spring habitat projects, wildlife fundraisers, advocacy training events, wildlife monitoring/banding programs, and everything else - they could really use an encouraging word from you right now.
Give them a call. Don't text. Don't email. Call. Ask them if they need anything. Many volunteer leaders live on the financial margins because they give so generously. Some can't get out to fill their freezers hunting/fishing/foraging because they're too busy giving their time and energy to supporting your opportunity to do it.
There were years when I was a volunteer leader that I only got out to hunt/fish/forage a few days in a year because I was putting on so many fundraising/habitat cleanup events... I never had the time to get out for my family.
Check in with them. Leave them an encouraging voicemail. Tell them that you're there for them.
You have no idea how much good your call might do.
2. Go collect some #TinesAndTrash.
By doing this, you not only get to share your findings with your local community, but you also inspire folks to give back their time to habitat while they're out enjoying it as well. Help be a part of the solution and do so publicly. With so many folks out and about right now, the odds are high that the trashing of our public lands and waters by bad-faith recreators will continue to spike.
Show your community that you and the folks you represent are the good guys. If you have kids, take them. Which is more important to you - getting in your hardcore hike... or teaching the next generation a hands-on valuable lesson about stewardship.
Help break the chain of ecosystem abuse in your community while also getting some desperately needed fresh air.
And we want to make it abundantly clear - you don't have to look for antlers to enjoy the benefits of getting out on your local trail system and cleaning up!
As with all the things we're suggesting, please follow local health guidelines, especially social distancing practices. We're already seeing reports of people complaining about other hikers not keeping a 6ft. (2m) distance from others on the trail. Lead by example - no one wants to be the person wearing their favorite organization's hat, caught on camera by another hiker, doing the wrong thing.
As an aside, if you would like to support 2% and our collaborative mission, head on over to Riske Outdoors to pick up the official #TinesAndTrash t-shirt!
3. Make noise for the causes you care about.
If you are stuck at home, one of the worst things you can do is sit on social media and just ingest whatever comes your way. The deluge of information, misinformation, and generally depressing content will break the strongest of personal wills.
Instead of living in the online world everyone else is creating - create your own 'positive conservation content bubble' with your friends.
Post about the causes you care for, especially how they have positively impacted your life... and don't shut up about them.
Don't let people forget about them or the vital work they do.
Many groups are seeing massive funding shortages, with hundreds of projects and jobs likely to be lost by the end of this. Be a positive salve in a very difficult time.
You'll not only encourage yourself and the causes you care about by sharing those thoughts and memories, but you'll also help cast a wider net to support them when they so desperately need it.
It beats the hell out of reposting scary, if not wickedly dank, memes.
Ways to give your dollars:
Note: While we are actively avoiding asking folks to give financially during this trying time, there are some who still have the capacity and an individual need to give... but it's an utterly personal choice and we do not want anyone to be choosing between food on the table and their annual organization membership. What follows are suggestions for folks with the means to give. If that's not you, do not feel guilty. The best thing you can do right now is to take care of yourself and prepare to fight another day!
Because of the sensitivity and nuance of this topic, we hopped on two podcasts this week to communicate as effectively as possible what is at stake and what is needed.
First, I hopped on the line with our newest board member, Dan Johnson of the Nine Finger Chronicles podcast and 2% Business Member Sportsmen's Nation.
We discuss things from a fairly high level, but this is a great listen for hunting - angler folks from any level of experience with conservation volunteering and fundraising - whether you are an old pro or a total conservation newbie - give this a listen. You can get to it by clicking here or by clicking on the image below:
We were also able to have another conversation with Marcus Strange, whose podcast In Strange Company (formerly, Urban to Country) is 2% Certified - and Marcus also volunteers as a 2% Regional Committee Member.
Though an avid outdoorsman, because Marcus is an "adult-onset hunter", he's great at communicating things from the hunting and conservation world in a way that are easily digestible for those with no experience in the arena. Click here or hit the image below to choose what service to listen to the episode on:
For those who cannot listen, here are some pulled notes for action:
- Because of fundraising event cancellations, on-the-ground conservation work will be looking at one of it's largest funding shortfalls in recorded history.
- You can help support the groups that had to cancel their events by:
- Not asking for a refund if your event was canceled. If you could afford to attend, you can probably afford to not ask for a refund. It will help the groups cover their sunk venue/vendor costs.
- Consider donating what you would have spent attending (drinks, meals, travel, hotel, raffles, auctions, etc.) directly to the group's "General Fund." Donating it there will give them the flexibility to cover costs during this time, wherever needed.
- Keep an eye out for online raffles and auctions being held by the groups. They all collected piles of products, trips, and other prizes for the events and now need to find a way to raise money with them. If you can, participate!
Lastly, help us get vital info:
We are doing a separate blog about this, hopefully next week as we are still in process, but we could use your help on gathering critical event cancellation info.
Presently we are cataloging a list of hundreds of conservation fundraising events that have been canceled in the US and Canada. This list will be used to gain a reckoning of actual conservation dollars lost by the cancellation of these events. We're working with the offices of most national-level organizations, but we could use your help in making this list as exhaustive as possible.
If you had cancellations of conservation fundraising events or volunteering events, please contact us and send us your local list of cancellations so that we can include them.
Also, let folks in your area know that the groups could use their help by posting about it and using the hashtag "#HelpTheEvents" - this will also help us see what's going on in your area more easily, as we are tracking the hashtag.
Presently, no government agencies or other groups are compiling this information and it will be vital for picking up the pieces when this is over. More info next week, but if you can send us info ASAP, it would really help us assist those who can really bring the support at a high level in the coming months.
We'll all get through this, together.
2% for Conservation