Ice Age, Arizona trails get REI Force of Nature grants

Adapted from an August 23, 2017 news release from REI

Women of all ages participate in a Trailtessa event through the Ice Age Trail Alliance thanks to a Force of Nature REI grant.
(Photo courtesy Samantha Haas)

As part of its commitment to create access to the outdoors for all, Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) has invested $1 million in organizations across the country that are creating opportunities to connect women and girls to nature. Among them are two nonprofits that represent the Ice Age and Arizona national scenic trails.

In May, REI launched an expansive, consumer-facing effort called Force of Nature to advance gender equity in the outdoors and encourage millions of its members to embrace the outdoors as “the world’s largest level playing field.”

As part of the effort, REI committed $500,000 to three national, women-focused nonprofits with whom it already had a relationship, including Camber Outdoors, GirlTrek and the YMCA’s GOLD initiative. It also launched the $500,000 Force of Nature Fund, which extends the co-op’s existing work with women-focused nonprofits into new territory. Over 500 organizations responded to REI’s open call for submissions, and REI selected 26 to receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.

Girls are becoming more of a #ForceofNature on the Arizona Trail thanks to an REI grant.
(Photo courtesy Hailey Hagerty)

The Ice Age Trail Alliance received a $15,000 grant to launch Trailtessa retreats, designed for women and girls to experience adventure, freedom, and a new way to be while exploring the rugged beauty of the Ice Age NST.

The Arizona Trail Association’s Seeds of Stewardship program received a $20,000 grant to launch Gear Girls, a girls-only club that uses mountain biking, trail work, and snowsports to build confidence, outdoor competence, character, and community in young women grades 4-8.

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