Make Great Outdoors Greater

Redwood Creek offers $50K grant contest for outdoor-centric nonprofits.
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Redwood Creek offers $50K grant contest for outdoor-centric nonprofits.

Are you part of an outdoor nonprofit with a passion project you just don't have the bills to pull off? California winery Redwood Creek just might be your angel investor: Through their Greater Outdoors Project, they will award $50,000 to one deserving outdoor nonprofit organization to help complete an environmental restoration plan chosen by the public.

To apply, submit your project information, prospective budget, and 750 words or less describing why your organization rules before March 1, 2009. Redwood Creek will choose the top five finalists, and the public will vote for a winner between April 1 and May 31, 2009. Winner gets the $50K purse.

The Southeast Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited won last year, and they used the funds to restore Camp Creek, a local fishery near Madison. Trout Unlimited board member Michael Kuhr had this to say about winning the grant:

BACKPACKER: Tell us a little bit about the environmental improvements Trout Unlimited made.

Michael Kuhr: The grant money was implemented better than we could have possibly imagined. We regraded the stream banks to a gentle slope (reconnecting the river to it's floodplain). Then we stabilized the banks using rocks (rip-rap) and wooden fish cribs called "lunkers". Finally, we replanted the banks with native prairie plants to help prevent future erosion.

BP: How do those improvements affect the surrounding community?

MK: The upper Midwest is prone to flooding (we've had both 100-year and 500-year floods within the last two years). By reconnecting Camp Creek with it's floodplain, we're hoping to greatly reduce the damage caused by flooding in the surrounding community.

BP: Could you have made the changes without winning the grant?

MK: To put it simply, this project would not have had the impact on the ecosystem that we were trying to achieve without the help of Redwood Creek Wines.

BP: Any advice to aspiring organizations who’d like to win this year?

MK: Our recipe for success is teamwork. Believe in your project, get the full weight of your nonprofit organization behind it, and run with it!

You heard the man—run with it, nonprofits.

—Ted Alvarez

Greater Outdoors Project (Redwood Creek Wines)