Updated: Feb 17
Hey everyone, hope you're having a great day! When I woke up and realized today was the first day of July, I felt like my head was going to explode. Pandemic and more free time aside, I feel like this year is somehow flying by faster than others. But then again, every year I seem to think that...
While the world seems to be slowly reopening in some places and quickly reclosing in others, one thing that is forever constant is mother nature. And let me just repeat myself in saying that nature is one thing that has been a huge help for me throughout this quarantine. Going from the hospital to home and back on repeat had me starting to feel like a prisoner. However, I am lucky enough to live near some woods and secluded parks- and venturing outside to these areas has really helped me maintain my sanity!
I've been aware of the Leave No Trace principle in hiking for quite some time now. And it's basically self-explanatory. Essentially, this is an intentional effort outdoor enthusiasts participate in to keep parks, trails, and the general outdoors clean. It scales down to taking the trash you may create during your time outside with you, not deviating from set trails (to protect certain wildlife and ecosystems), and a general agreement to protect our planet!
A really cool company I found on Instagram that seems to live and breathe this idea is Keep Nature Wild (KNW). This company is especially cool to me because it was founded by two people who, like me, did not start out in careers centered around nature.
Keep Nature Wild is an outdoor company created in 2016 by 2 brothers-in-law. Cameron and Sean worked as a photographer and teacher in Arizona. Like many of us outdoor-lovers, they wanted to share the cool places and adventures they had been on in hopes to encourage and inspire others to love and explore the outdoors too. What they quickly realized was by using their platform to promote the conservation of nature, they could give back and serve the planet by helping to keep it clean! This quickly sparked a movement which grew into the company it is today-by using the power of social media to promote volunteerism.
Keep Nature Wild picks up a pound of trash for every product sold.
You heard that right. A whole pound of trash is removed from our precious planet by simply participating in something we as humans do on a regular basis- shop! This company sells outdoor themed apparel, stickers, and more!
There has been over 330,000 pounds of trash picked up to date.
How It Works
When I first heard about the company and the impressive amount of trash they have been able to remove from parks and trails, I was intrigued by how it worked. When I started to do some digging, I was more and more inspired by the innovative way Cameron and Sean have used their company and merchandise to motivate others to promote their mission. Keep Nature Wild is seriously a movement and if you're even the least bit into the great outdoors, I promise you're about to hop on this bandwagon.
Keep Nature Wild has been able to pick up an immense amount of trash by the creation of brand ambassadors, who carry on the company's mission.
Brand Ambassadors, known as "Wild Keepers" go through a quick application process and receive exclusive deals and discounts for Keep Nature Wild products simply by upholding an agreement. As a newly dubbed Wild Keeper myself, I can tell you it is an easy and stress-free process. All you have to agree to is participate in picking up and recording the trash you pick up and then posting about it on social media. And if you're anything like me, this agreement is something you already do behind the scenes, so posting about it spreads awareness of planet conservation- and who doesn't want to be a part of that?!
Brand Ambassadors Applications are open three times a year. If selected as a Wild Keeper, you hold this title for four months, or longer if you reapply.
What is Required
Wild Keepers must be over the age of 18, follow @keepnaturewild, and have an active, non-private Instagram account.
Another thing that is encouraged (but not required) to be approved as an ambassador is a social media following of at least 100 people. That's not to be exclusive of smaller accounts, it is simply helping to spread the mission to as many eyes as possible. The same idea goes for having your Instagram account public. If it were private, no one other than your approved followers would be able to see the mission KNW is trying to promote.
Side note: I had used our newly created travel blog Instagram account, @hale.on.a.trail, when applying. At the time, I think we only had about 80 followers. I remember the application specifically saying less than 100 was not a deal breaker, so don't focus in on that.
Community of Friends
As a Wild Keeper, you become part of a community of like-minded people who automatically support you because your actions and mission align with their own. Wild Keepers have a private space online to share about their own outdoor adventures and make friends all across the country!
Keep Nature Wild also hosts cleanups. These are scheduled dates and locations where people can come together to pick up trash with others. Because this is an Arizona based company, most of these cleanups are located in their home state, but I'm hopeful that as the company grows so will the locations of these group cleanups!
The date Wild Keepers are expected to post about picking up trash is on "Impact Days." These dates are designated by the company as the last Monday in each month. Impact Day is not the date you have to be out picking up trash, just the date you're trying to spread the word online.
The last Impact Day was June 29th and my first one as an official Wild Keeper. It was really cool to see all the different ambassador's sharing the trash they found. It was also fun to see how far the company's reach is as ambassador's posted from all over the country. I didn't officially check on the 29th, but I imagine the purpose of Impact Day is to have their mission trending over the internet. What better thing to be 'popular' online than helping protect our planet?!
The Outsiders Club
If being an ambassador isn't enough, Keep Nature Wild recently promoted a new way of earning discounts and rewards toward their product with The Outsiders Club. Signing up as a club member allows you to earn points to put towards free shipping, discounts, prizes, and more from KNW. Receiving points is simple, you can get your first points by merely signing up. Other methods of point earning is through things such as sharing the company on social media, purchasing or reviewing product, and referring friends! You can get a whopping 500 points on your birthday! As you collect points, you are advanced to different tiers, unlocking more and more product discounts!
Side Note: The overall discount Wild Keepers receive as brand ambassadors cannot be combined with points collected through The Outsiders Club.
Awesome Apparel, Made With Purpose
All of the images throughout this blog post display some of the products we've gotten through Keep Nature Wild. I've loved finding a brand that makes clothing that aligns with my adventurous life. Even when I'm bustling through a busy week (i.e. currently) I'm able to throw on an article of clothing that reminds me that what I love most- adventure, is right around the corner.
I love that their apparel is created to be a continuation of their message. Some shirts have quotes such as, "Stand For What You Stand On" or "Everything Changes If Nothing Changes," to promote others to think twice about the planet.
Side Note: There's even baby apparel. Colton and I don't have kids, but the onesie that says "Force of Nature" has the name of our future kid written ALL over it!
Keep Nature Wild aligns their mission with their product creation by ensuring companies they partner with are ethical as well. Maybe most KNW customers don't care how their clothing was created, but I read into their process to ensure KNW is just as good as it sounds. Turns out their tees are made from recyclable materials and any company that partners with KNW is approved by WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production).
To put it lightly, Keep Nature Wild is a world-changing company with a mission we should all be excited and compelled by! Recycling and reusing are a great start, but an easy addition to your adventures is as simple as a trash bag. Carry it with you on all of our outdoor adventures to Leave No Trace of your own- and help erase the ones already there. There really is no planet B, so let's do what we can to keep the one we have healthy!