Reno-based grassroots organizer Carrie Sandstedt of the Campaign for America's Wilderness at the Pew Environment Group is among five individuals profiled in the 2010 Patagonia Holiday Favorites catalog. Sandstedt was chosen for her efforts to protect the nation's last remaining wild places, and specifically the Gold Butte area outside Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Carrie is a perfect example of the kind of grassroots, environmental activist that we admire and support at Patagonia,” said Hans Cole, Patagonia's environmental grants manager. “We support grassroots efforts because we believe that true change must begin with a strong movement of informed citizens – and that movement needs leadership from people like Carrie.”

Patagonia selected the advocates who appear in this year's catalog from participants in its 2009 Tools for Activists Conference – a gathering of activists who come together to share experiences and knowledge to help recipients of the outdoor clothing and gear retailer's environmental grants become more effective advocates for protecting the earth. “We focused on individuals and groups who were doing work that we felt was exceptional,” said Alyssa Firmin, managing editor of the catalog.

Sandsted's photo shoot took place on sand dunes abutting brilliant red sandstone cliffs in Nevada's Gold Butte area, some two hours east of Las Vegas. Gold Butte, commonly known as Nevada's piece of the Grand Canyon Puzzle, is tucked between the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument in Arizona and Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada.

“We were literally in the middle of the area that local citizens are working hard to permanently protect as wilderness,” said Sandstedt. “Gold Butte is an amazing place, full of native American rock art, remnants of the area's early mining history, and rugged terrain, and home to numerous Mojave Desert species. Measures to safeguard the area were left out of legislation passed in 2002 that preserved nearly a half million acres of wilderness in southern Nevada. With so much local support, we are hopeful we can convince Congress to give this treasure the 'gold standard' of protection, too �€“ as wilderness.”

At Pew's Campaign for America's Wilderness, Sandstedt works with state and local activists across the country, providing training, organizing support, and guiding strategic planning for dozens of wilderness campaigns from California to Tennessee. The conservation organization is currently working on 20 bills pending in Congress, which together would preserve two million acres of wilderness across 13 states.

The catalog is mailed around the holidays to 875,000 Patagonia customers, is available in about 21 Patagonia retail stores and is translated and mailed to 40,000 customers in Japan. “During this special time of year of giving thanks, this is our way of showing appreciation for our customers and friends who are working to give back to the natural world and protect its many resources,” added Firmin.

“In the end, we selected Carrie because she inspires us and gives us hope that the environmental movement is making a real difference,” said Patagonia's Cole.