Adhering to a true grassroots movement, Rock/Creek and Patagonia donated $2000 to the progressive thinking coalition, Tennessee Wild (TN Wild). This collaborative membership of non-profit organizations are working together to gain national recognition and support for the protection and restoration of wilderness regions along the forests of the Southern Appalachian landscape. Accompanying this campaign, a newly-released Two Part video [shown below], raises awareness on the holistic and spiritual benefits of wilderness preservation.
Rock/Creek and Patagonia extend beyond the specialty retailer title, into a convicting forum of stewardship and right-doing for our green spaces. This donation marks the beginning of a strong partnership between Rock/Creek, Patagonia, and Tennessee Wild for regional wilderness preservation.
Focused on the benefits of wilderness for the Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee Wild is comprised of several regional non-profit organizations such as the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition (SAFC). Together, all organizations offer efforts to educate the public on the benefits of wilderness and promote volunteerism and sound stewardship of Tennessee’s wild place.
An example of a Coalition Member’s awareness efforts is the SAFC, an organization that facilitates educational hikes, family friendly programs and trail maintenance into projected wilderness areas.
“People will not protect what they do not know and love. By bringing people out to interact with the land, a relationship is formed between human and nature. Post-hike, it becomes clear why we are working so hard to protect this land” says Jeff Hunter, Tennessee Field Organizer for the SAFC.
In addition to being a unified voice for non-profits to the local community, TN Wild has a national voice to be heard. In October, Rock/Creek’s Marketing Director, Mark McKnight, toured some of the proposed wilderness additions with members of TN WIld as well as a representative from Senator Lamar Alexander’s office (see adjacent photo). Shortly before Christmas, Rock/Creek received an update from Jeff Hunter, Tennessee Field Organizer for the SAFC, during his US Capital trip to meet with Senator Alexander. Mr. Hunter attended a series of Congressional meetings pressing for protection of nearly 25,000 acres of the Cherokee National Forest and has reported a positive response to pass legislation toward the expansion of areas such as the Big Frog and Little Frog Wilderness
[Click to View PDF Fact Sheet].
Areas such as these are captured in beautiful pictures and film in the video
In it, viewers of all faith backgrounds will be inspired with historical facts and a present day Christian voice united in a call to preserve these natural areas. Viewers are taken to an intimate group discussion among believers to determine ” What are the spiritual values of wilderness in the Cherokee National Forest?” Through this experience, all Christians are encouraged to consider their personal future involvement to help wilderness preservation. People from other faith traditions may also find this line of inquiry useful.
“Rock/Creek is proud to be one of the grassroots organizations contributing to the protection of our Southern Appalachian natural resources. The donation is not about boasting in the gift of money, but rather, an awareness-raising factor that this is extremely important for our regional forests’ future,” says Dawson Wheeler, co-owner of Rock/Creek and long time advocate for the protection of recreational green spaces.
“We are so grateful for the support of Rock/Creek in this campaign. Whether it is Mark McKnight joining us to accompany a Congressional Aide out to see parts of the Cherokee or appearing on a local radio show, or funding provided for the video, Tennessee Wild could not succeed without this sort of help” concludes Jeff Hunter.
Through continued support from volunteers and donations, the collaborative voices of Tennessee Wild are pressing forward to be heard by Congress. In Chattanooga, wilderness supporters are strongly encouraged to make their case heard to the US Capital. By sending letters of wilderness support to Congressman Wamp, Senator Alexander and Senator Corker, we hope these leaders will understand the magnitude of support for wilderness legislation. For more information on the campaign, visit TN WIld’s Web site, and join the TN Wild Facebook Page.
Jeff Hunter has provided several sample letters, which supporters may print out and mail to their District’s Congressman and Senators.
For Chattanooga, supporters can view a sample letter, cut and paste, and send letters to Congressman Wamp.
For those living in Knoxville, Tellico Plains, Sweetwater, and other towns located in the 2nd district, supports can view, cut and paste, and mail letters to Congressman Duncan.
All residents are welcome to send letters to our Senators Alexander and Senator Corker.