The Conservation Alliance was excited to return to Michigan for its second annual Backyard Collective event in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, August 20. The stewardship project drew 60 volunteers from five member companies, two conservation partners, and two local non-profits.

The volunteers worked in collaboration with Grand Rapids Whitewater and Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation to clean up the waterfront parks and remove invasive species along the river trails. Volunteers worked with Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds (LGROW) to help remove 340 pounds of trash and sediment collected from 62 storm drains, which flow to Lake Michigan.

Conservation Alliance member companies Chaco Footwear, Founders Brewing, Merrell, Moosejaw and Timberland participated in the event. CLIF Bar donated energy bars and Founders Brewing donated beer for all attendees.

The mission of The Conservation Alliance is to engage businesses to fund and partner with organizations to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values. The Conservation Alliance launched the Backyard Collective Program to give member company employees the opportunity to work together on local stewardship projects while learning more about organizations that receive funding from the group.

Conservation Alliance grantees joined in a grantee fair to share current information and calls-to-action related to their programs. Grantees included Grand Rapids Whitewater, Conservation Resource Alliance and local non-profit partners Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation and LGROW.

“Our second annual Backyard Collective event brought like-minded companies and conservation groups in Grand Rapids together for a day of stewardship,” said John Sterling, executive director of The Conservation Alliance. “Our members and grantees worked hard and had a big impact locally, but most importantly, they spent time outside working together collaboratively.”