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Klean Voices: What's your Grand Canyon Story?

April 07, 2015

I was 13 years old when I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time. It was spring break, and my parents took my brother and me on a trip to Arizona. Before we went to the canyon, we did touristy things -- bought turquoise earrings, checked out crystals in Sedona, rode the Pink Jeep tours. That was all fun, in a typical vacation kind of way. And then we got to the Grand Canyon. I remember stepping out to the viewpoint for the first time. I was from Maryland and had never seen anything like this. There were no words for the colors, the silence, the wildness, the space. This was why we were here.

We stayed in a little one-room cabin, and we still laugh about how we all had to put up with my dad snoring all night. The next morning we hiked a little bit on a trail. It was steep and icy and I remember being nervous. The views were amazing, dizzying. I wondered about the people who hiked all the way down to the bottom. We turned around after a little while and headed back up the trail, sufficiently challenged and satisfied, humbled and in awe.

I overheard a woman exclaim: “It’s so beautiful, it looks manmade!” I remember thinking that was a weird thing to say. To me, the canyon was so beautiful because I didn’t see any sign of people. Because it was wild and natural, created by water and wind and time.

This place left its mark on me and I always remember that family vacation. Two decades later, I got to raft the Grand Canyon, diving deeper into this place, immersing myself into its timeless magic. I didn’t sleep much on that trip, either – the stars at night were so beautiful, I wanted to stay up and not miss a second of it.

But today this place, this magic, is threatened. American Rivers named the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon America's #1 Most Endangered River for 2015. From a massive construction project in the heart of the canyon, to radioactive pollution from uranium mining, to a development that could drain vital groundwater supplies, this place faces a battery of threats that could forever harm the very values that make it so special.

Now that I'm a mom, I'm thinking about the family vacations I want to take with my boys when they're older. The Grand Canyon is at the top of the list. I want them to feel what I felt, standing on the rim for the first time. I don't want that experience to be tarnished and cheapened by pollution, trash and noise. 

Have you visited the Grand Canyon? Have you shared it with your kids? Please share your own stories and speak up for protecting the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon so that it remains protected for all of us, for all time.

Klean Voice Contributor Amy Kober is the Senior Director of Communications at American Rivers, as well as the mother of two little boys. She lives in Portland, Oregon.   


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Klean Voices: My Travel Companion

March 24, 2015

Buongiorno! It's six in the morning. It is still dark outside, and I am waiting for my flight to Amsterdam in the Venice airport.

I just had my breakfast at a bar in the departure hall: a nice cappuccino and a brioche (Italian pastry). The coffee was served in a normal, "for here" cup or mug. Like in most Italian bars, there were no coffee-to-go cups. It’s a good tradition and I hope it will survive the growing demand for disposable to-go cups.

As always, when I travel around in Europe my travel companion is with me. It's a 27oz Reflect Klean Kanteen bottle. I love the steel's shiny look and the clean design. And, I love that the water still tastes like fresh water even if you carry it around for more than a day.

Before I passed the security to enter the departure hall, I emptied the bottle completely and kept the lid off so the security staff could see easily see that there was no liquid inside. Once in the departure hall, I filled it up with tap water in the restroom.

Now, boarding has started, so a lot of companion travelers are lining up; I count the travelers. I see that most of them are tourists with a plastic disposable water bottle. I keep counting, and get to 24. I suspect all of them bought their bottle at one of the coffee bars together with their last nice Italian cappuccino… in a normal cup. Even though they're drinking their coffee at the bar, they're buying water to-go. What if we stopped serving water in this way? Would they be more inclined to bring their own?

Klean Voice contributor Henry Hoogenveen is a passionate advocate for the outdoors, and represents Klean Kanteen in Europe. As such, he shares events, information, trends and happenings from across the ocean right here on the Klean Blog. 


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Klean Voices: Wild In the City

March 23, 2015

It was early on a Saturday morning, and I was sitting at the dining room table by the big front window, answering some emails while my one-and-a-half year old ate grapes. I looked up from the screen and there was a coyote, running down the middle of our street, with a swirl of crows cawing above it. The coyote ran the stop sign, turned right and headed up the alley. I grabbed the kiddo and ran to the window so he could see it, but it was gone in a flash. Then my five year old woke up and started crying because he had missed all the excitement. So we decided to go outside and see if we could track the coyote. We put boots and jackets over jammies, and we were out the door.

 

Our alley is wild. It isn't paved; it's a natural strip of grass with mud and blackberry brambles and big Portland dandelions. It was a beautiful spring morning. The grass was lush and wet. The sun shone on the puddles. The boys splashed. We heard a woodpecker. We didn't find coyote tracks, but just being out there was enough. The idea of a coyote, something wild in our neighborhood; the fact that our story and the coyote's story touched -- that was exciting enough. For a little while on a regular Saturday morning, our world expanded, our imaginations expanded. Where did the coyote go? How would you track a coyote? Are they friends with the crows? Maybe it's looking for a dry place to rest? Will it come back?

Nature isn't something separate, it's all around us. I want my boys to know wild things and wild places, even here in our own backyard. I want them to be filled with wonder and love for the world. Instead of being scared by it, we can learn from it, be humbled by it, celebrate it, be made whole by it. I want my boys to feel connected to something larger than themselves, to have an all-encompassing concept of neighbors, community, family.

Today we saw a coyote. The world is full of beautiful surprises.

Klean Voice Contributor Amy Kober is the Senior Director of Communications at American Rivers, as well as the mother of two little boys. She lives in Portland, Oregon.   

 

 


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Klean Voices: Surfers Against Sewage's Big Spring Beach Clean Event

March 12, 2015

One of the organizations Klean Kanteen supports in Europe is Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). SAS is focused on the protection of the UK’s oceans, waves and beaches for all to access, use and enjoy safely and sustainably. SAS spends their efforts campaigning, volunteering, educating others on conservation and conducting scientific research. In 2014, SAS organized over 350 beach clean-ups, and with the help of more than 9,000 volunteers, they removed well over 50 tons of marine litter!

Established in 1990 by a group of passionate local surfers and beach-lovers in the picturesque north coast village of St. Agnes and Porthtowan, the organization swiftly created a national calling for improved water quality across the UK.

At this year's 25th anniversary Surfers Against Sewage Spring Beach Clean, they are calling for community volunteers to lead Big Spring Cleans at their favorite beaches over the weekend of the 27th – 29th of March. Set to be the biggest ever, the Big Spring Beach Clean 2015 aims to cover at least 150 beaches and mobilize up to 5,000 beach clean volunteers to remove tons of beach litter around the UK coastline. 

The SAS Big Spring Beach Clean weekend will inspire, encourage and deliver environmental awareness amongst volunteers across all of the UK. The marine and coastal environments are under increasing environmental pressure, not least from the growing marine litter epidemic.

Klean Voice contributor Henry Hoogenveen is a passionate advocate for the outdoors, and represents Klean Kanteen in Europe. As such, he shares events, information, trends and happenings from across the ocean right here on the Klean Blog. 


#BRINGYOUROWN #Events #kleanvoices #plastic

Klean Voices: 3 Ideas for Family-Friendly Winter Escapes

February 21, 2015

Winter doesn’t mean you have to be stuck inside all day. While braving the rain, snow and cold with kids requires additional layers and a little more planning, this season has lots of wonderful treasures for those who venture out!

Here are three ideas for avoiding cabin fever and enjoying all that winter has to offer.

  • Explore a blue trail

Rivers and streams offer great opportunities to connect with the outdoors. Blue trails are rivers with enhanced access and recreation amenities. Stroll the boardwalk along South Carolina’s Congaree River Blue Trail, or watch birds along Arizona’s Verde. Even if it’s too cold for fishing and boating, blue trails are a great place to hike, play and explore. Find a blue trail near you. 

  • Visit a wildlife refuge 

If you’re looking wildlife, head to a National Wildlife Refuge (look for the map on the homepage and type in your zip code). You’ll find lots of hiking and wildlife-watching opportunities for all ages and abilities. Winter is a great time to see birds. On a recent visit with my kids to the Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge near Portland, we encountered lots of waterfowl and bald eagles. We also enjoyed a good deal of puddle stomping (always good to bring a change of clothes)!

  • Go on a scavenger hunt

Sometimes with kids, it’s best to keep it simple and close to home. You can get inspiration from these scavenger hunt printables and lists (here and here). Take them with you on a walk to your local park and discover winter treasures in your own back yard!

Klean Voice Contributor Amy Kober is the Senior Director of Communications at American Rivers, as well as the mother of two little boys. She lives in Portland, Oregon.   

 


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Klean Voices: Take Me to the River

February 10, 2015

Kids need the outdoors. They need wild places to run and pretend – where they can be, simply, kids. As parents, we know this – little children just aren’t meant to be cooped up inside all day.

That’s why I love this new video from American Rivers, following eight-year old Parker as he counts down his favorite things about rivers (#21, time with mom. My favorite).

I have two little boys, and outside time is important. Especially river time. Of course, a weekend on the North Umpqua or a float on the John Day isn’t always possible, because… work, laundry, groceries, diapers, naps, life. But we try. There are days we don’t get beyond the front yard, but sometimes exploring our old walnut tree, following bugs through the grass, and watching crows flying overhead is its own fantastic adventure.

When we get outside, we’re all happier.

When we’re outside, we get to bond as a family in new ways. My kids open my eyes to new perspectives. We’re away from screens and other distractions. My New Year’s resolutions centered around presence, patience and play. Being outside with my boys helps with all three.

So here’s to getting outside with our kids every day, rain or shine, whether it’s a camping trip or a simple walk around the neighborhood. Here’s to letting our kids be kids, and to enjoying the magic and beauty of fresh air and clean water together.

Klean Voice Contributor Amy Kober is the Senior Director of Communications at American Rivers, as well as the mother of two little boys. She lives in Portland, Oregon.  

 


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Klean Voices: Caroleigh Pierce on Why Klean Kanteen Gives Back

February 06, 2015

Giving back is part of who we are at Klean. As a family-owned brand and a certified BCorp focused on the triple bottom line of People, Profit and Planet (not necessarily in that order), we believe it’s our responsibility to support the nonprofit organizations out doing the tough work for us.

We choose partners like the Breast Cancer Fund who align with our company values and mission to provide safe, healthy reusable solutions. We aren’t interested in just cutting a check and showing up at the annual Gala. We seek real mutual relationships with our partners and find creative ways to share their story with our staff and community. I have the honor of having a full time position at Klean Kanteen dedicated to managing and nurturing these relationships. Pretty awesome.

This past month, while at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, we hosted the Breast Cancer Fund in our booth for a Happy Hour one evening. We invited guests to “Pick their Poison” and poured cocktails into our new 10oz steel cups branded “Protect our Peaks” for a donation of $5. We held a rowdy raffle of fantastic prizes donated by several BCF supporters in the Outdoor Industry. My friend Jessica Smith from BCF flew in for the show and said a few words at the event. We were also thrilled to make a donation of $10,000 to our friends that evening on top of the monies raised by the crowd. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to raise awareness of this amazing organization focused on prevention and to get others involved in supporting their cause.

For more information on Klean Kanteen's partnerships, please check out the Giving Back section of our website. We hope it inspires you to learn more about the nonprofit organizations that we support and to find one that share your passion for conservation, stewardship and the health of our people and planet.

Klean Voice Contributor Caroleigh Pierce is the Nonprofit Outreach Manager at Klean Kanteen, and quite possibly the most naturally energetic human on the planet. Caroleigh is incredibly skilled at aligning Klean Kanteen with nonprofits that do incredible things, and her passion for fostering these relationships is simply beautiful. 


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