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Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Announces the Winners of the First-Annual Together We Are a Force Awards

August 22, 2018

Media Contact

Outdoor Industry Association

Cody Wertz



Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Announces the Winners of the First-Annual Together We Are a Force Awards

OIA celebrates partnerships and collaborations that have sparked progress, innovation and meaningful change in the outdoor industry.  

BOULDER, Colo. – Aug. 22, 2018 – This month, Outdoor Industry Association announced the winners of the first annual Together We Are a Force Awards to celebrate the collaborative spirit of the outdoor industry. The awards are an extension of the OIA Together We Are a Force campaign to celebrate cross-organizational collaborations that spark innovation and progress through new processes, products, methods, systems, services, tools or other initiatives.

The award categories are within OIA’s three pillar focus areas: policy, sustainability and participation. Nominations for the awards opened in May, and OIA received more than 60 applications. The panel of judges included OIA staff and category experts in the industry who selected the winners in each of the three pillar areas.

“The Together We Are a Force campaign is about celebrating and recognizing our industry’s unique and powerful ability to collaborate on issues large and small,” said Amy Roberts, executive director of OIA. “OIA’s purpose is to be a convener and leader for the outdoor industry, and part of fulfilling that purpose is shining a light on the truly amazing work our members and partner organizations do. Congratulations to our first Together We Are a Force Awards winners, and thank you to all who applied and made the first year of the awards a success.”

Here are the 2018 award winners:

POLICY WINNER: Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW) for their Save The Boundary Waters campaign. Together with OIA member companies Piragis Northwoods Company, MTI Adventurewear and Patagonia, NMW launched and supported what became a three-part, three-year adventure advocacy campaign to bring awareness of the Boundary Waters Wilderness to a broad audience. Facing the threat of proposed copper-ore mining lease, which could critically endanger the water quality of the Boundary Waters’ network of interconnected waterways, the partners helped a broad audience understand the value and uniqueness of the Wilderness and gained public support for its protection through the campaign.

“The most effective way to drive positive change is to work with great partners who inspire you,” said Sam Chadwick, deputy campaign manager for the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. “Working with adventurers Amy and Dave Freeman, MTI Life Jackets, Piragis Northwoods Company, Patagonia and other supporters to bring the issue to life through canoeing, paddling and biking expeditions has helped people see and feel the immediacy of the need to protect the Wilderness. We’re so proud to be able to receive this award with them.”

SUSTAINABILITY WINNER: The North Face, Allied Feather & Down, Textile Exchange, Control Union Certifications and Downlite worked together to create the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) to support supply chain transparency and prevent animal cruelty. The RDS has gained great momentum and adoption across the supply chain. In 2016, more than 3,000 farms across the world were certified to the RDS, covering an estimated 400 million birds at the farm level. More than 50 brands have started using RDS-certified down in their own products.

“We share this award with the amazing partners who helped us create it, most importantly Textile Exchange, Control Union, Allied Feather & Down and Downlite, as well as the brands that have gone on to adopt the Responsible Down Standard,” said James Rogers, director of sustainability at The North Face. “It’s great to see the scale we’ve reached in a short amount of time. More than 90 brands from the outdoor, apparel and home industries have initiated certification of their supply chains to the RDS.”

PARTICIPATION WINNER: The American Hiking Society and Teresa Baker of African American Nature & Parks Experience, with support from Vasque and Patagonia, created the Hike Like a Girl Weekend, an event-anchored campaigned aimed at encouraging more women to get out on hiking trails to feel empowered enough to commit to solo hikes or determined enough to organize group hikes in their communities.

“It is only through collaborations that we begin to build meaningful relationships in the outdoors,” said Teresa Baker, founder of the African American Nature & Parks Experience. “The Hike Like a Girl campaign is one such collaboration that can help bridge the gap between audiences that are currently enjoying these outdoor spaces and audiences that may be somewhat hesitant.”

“American Hiking Society is honored to receive the Together We Are a Force Outdoor Participation Award, alongside Vasque and Patagonia, to support Teresa Baker’s African American Nature & Parks Experience Hike Like a Girl Weekend,” explains Kate Van Waes, executive director of American Hiking Society. “Through this collaboration, American Hiking Society was able to amplify the event, ultimately increasing the participation of women and girls on the trail and highlighting the need for equality in the outdoor community.”

Nominations for the second annual Together We Are a Force Awards will open in spring 2019.



About Outdoor Industry Association 

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA unites and serves 1300 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. For more information, visit