Patagonia was founded in 1973, and is headquartered in Ventura, CA. Since that time it has become one of the most inspirational and environmentally focused businesses in our region and beyond, and the Wilderness Legacy Award is presented each year to honor local conservation heroes.
Chouinard has proven that if you prioritize people and the planet, you can still make a profit, and he has placed environmental advocacy and corporate responsibility at the forefront of his company. Beginning as a self-taught blacksmith in the 1950s, Chouinard made high-quality metal pitons for himself and friends to use as climbing anchors, and then expanded into clothing in the 1970s. In 1972, he realized that climbing products were damaging the rocks, so he introduced and patented new aluminum chocks that eliminated that harm. It was the first major business decision he made on behalf of the environment, and it revolutionized the climbing world. Chouinard later infused the same ethical principles into Patagonia’s clothing and gear lines, using recyclable and organic materials.
As part of Chouinard’s goal to use the company to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis, Patagonia instituted an Earth Tax, pledging 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. In 2001, Yvon started One Percent For The Planet, an alliance of businesses that contribute at least 1 percent of their net annual sales to environmental groups. He also co-founded The Conservation Alliance to encourage other companies to take similar steps.
“Hands down, Patagonia has been the most supportive and influential company in the development of Los Padres ForestWatch,” said Jeff Kuyper, ForestWatch Executive Director. “Though their grants, volunteer programs, and events, Yvon Chouinard and Patagonia have enabled us to grow into one of our region’s leading land conservation forces, and have had a positive and lasting influence on the preservation of the Los Padres National Forest.”
The honor will be bestowed at the 6th Annual Ojai Wild! benefit event, the region’s largest gathering of outdoor enthusiasts and forest supporters. The benefit event will take place on Saturday, April 13, 2013, starting at 2:30 p.m. and the awards presentation will begin at 4:00 p.m. Open to the public, this family friendly celebration of our region’s wildlife and wild places is hosted by Los Padres ForestWatch and will be held at The Thacher School’s picturesque Diamond Hitch Camp along the foothills of the beautiful Los Padres National Forest in Ojai.
Tickets to Ojai Wild! are available by calling the Los Padres ForestWatch office at 805/617-4610 ext 2 or on-line at www.ojaiwild.org and are $80 for adults, $20 for children 14 years and under, and a table for 8-10 people may be reserved for $600. All proceeds from Ojai Wild! will benefit the local forest protection efforts of Los Padres ForestWatch. For more information, please call Los Padres ForestWatch at 805/617-4610 or visit www.LPFW.org.