Current events have provided a stark reminder of how easy it is to take for granted the things we value most. Natural areas from Florida to Alaska are under threat, and on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Orvis calls on its community to come together to protect habitat and local economies in two of the world’s most iconic wild places: Bristol Bay, Alaska and the Everglades in Florida. Additionally, the Vermont-based, family-owned outdoor retailer has released its 2019 Impact Report, highlighting the work and contributions the brand, and its patrons, made to protect wild places, increase participation in fly fishing and improve canine well-being throughout the year. In 2019, Orvis supported 173 non-profit organizations, raised and donated $466,908 — through its 5% for Nature initiative and Matching Grant Fund — and introduced 15,000 people to fly fishing through its free Fly Fishing 101 programs.
Read the Orvis 2019 Impact Report here: https://www.orvis.com/impactreport
“As a start-up in the 1850s, Orvis was founded on the idea of inspiring adventure, wonder and deep connection to the outdoors. 160 years later, our mission is the same,” says Orvis COO Simon Perkins. “When people are able to get outside and experience the natural world, we believe they are happier, healthier, and more likely to work to protect it. We have a lot to be proud of this year, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our customers, the expertise of our partners, and the passion held by both.”
Protection and Restoration of Bristol Bay and the Everglades
Though they are separated by more than 4,000 miles, Bristol Bay, Alaska, and South Florida’s Everglades ecosystem are under increasing pressure from development and water pollution. In Bristol Bay, the proposed Pebble Mine, which has met widespread local and national opposition for more than a decade, has the potential to devastate the largest sockeye salmon fishery on Earth.
Orvis requests those interested in preserving the economy and biodiversity reliant on a healthy Bristol Bay fishery to submit a comment to the Federal Government today at www.savebristolbay.org/take-action.
Action is also needed today to correct the destructive results of freshwater pollution in the Everglades region of South Florida, where discharged water from Lake Okeechobee has fundamentally altered the ecosystem’s ability to survive, decimating seagrass, oyster and fish populations. In addition to the rich intrinsic value of this once-vibrant ecosystem, recreation and tourism tied to the health of the Everglades supports 1.3 million jobs and contributes $109 billion annually to Florida’s economy.
Orvis asks those interested in protecting more than 70 threatened and endangered species that call the Everglades home to submit comments to legislators at https://www.evergladeseconomy.org/take-action.
5% for Nature and Customer Matching Grant Fund
Orvis launched the 5% for Nature program in 1987, committing five percent of its pre-tax profits to conservation projects over the ensuing 32 years. Every year, these funds are used to support campaigns and non-profit organizations through Orvis’ grant programs, which funded 173 non-profit organizations in 2019. Since the program’s inception, Orvis has raised and donated over $20M for conservation.
Introduced in 1991, the Orvis Customer Matching Grant Fund multiplies the impact of 5% for Nature by unlocking the power of the Orvis community in providing 1:1 matching funds for conservation and other projects. In 2019, partners benefiting from more than $240,000 in funding included The Everglades Foundation, Trout Unlimited Alaska, and Petfinder Foundation. These donations helped to protect the Everglades, fight the construction of the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, improve river ecosystems, and protect adoptable pets from unnecessary euthanization.
Breaking barriers in fly fishing
Orvis is also leading the industry in breaking down gender and racial barriers in fly fishing, welcoming people to the sport and educating beginners on the water. In 2019 alone, Orvis introduced 15,000 new anglers to the sport through its free Fly Fishing 101 courses, hosted at Orvis retail stores acoss the country. The 50/50 On the Water program, which aims to inspire and enable women to discover fly fishing, also launched a family-friendly 50/50 film tour and hosted several women’s specific fly-fishing schools, including a women’s fishing experience at El Pescador Lodge in Belize.
Tracy Nguyen-Chung, founder of Brown Folks Fishing (BFF), a national, angler-led initiative that cultivates access, conservation efforts, and community for black, indigenous, and people of color in the sport of fishing, earned the 2019 Orvis Breaking Barriers Award. Introduced in 2015, the annual award recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond to bring new participants into angling by breaking down barriers and introducing new audiences to fly fishing.
For 2020, Orvis has renewed partnerships with Save Bristol Bay, Everglades Foundation and Petfinder Foundation, and will continue to support additional non-profit organizations and educational programs throughout the year. To read the full 2019 Impact Report, please visit https://www.orvis.com/impactreport, and to learn more about Orvis’s conservation efforts, please visit https://www.orvis.com/conservation.
About The Orvis Company: Founded in 1856, we believe the most meaningful experiences are created by sharing the love of nature and being inspired by its endless possibilities. Orvis pioneered the mail order industry in the United States, operates more than 80 retail stores in the U.S and the U.K., and maintains a network of over 400 dealers worldwide as a trusted source of discovery and adventure in the natural world. We promise to open the door to extraordinary outdoor experiences, and to protect nature by committing 5% of our pretax profits each year to conservation efforts worldwide. www.orvis.com