Brands who are passionate about sustainability and the ocean—like longtime partner Columbia Sportswear—have been donating product to The Ocean Foundation to be used by projects in the field for three years. By formalizing this model into a partnership program, field researchers can now share updates with participating brands, share photos and social media posts and even wear test products and equipment in the field. The Ocean Foundation has implemented the Program to both provide a value-add to their current partners and attract the attention of new ones.
In Costa Rica, Columbia hats are used by field researchers monitoring sea turtle activity on the beach. Numi Tea keeps Polar Seas Fund grantees warm in the frigid temperatures arctic temperatures. In San Diego, students and program coordinators are not using plastic bottles as they clean up marine debris from beaches, but instead drinking water from stainless steel Klean Kanteen bottles. JetBlue has also been providing travel vouchers for the past two years to assist The Ocean Foundation partners and affiliates with field research to get to locations they need to reach to do their work.
“We are always looking for new, innovative solutions for our conservation projects, whose leaders look to The Ocean Foundation as a resource to enhance their field work,” reflects Mark Spalding, president of The Ocean Foundation. “The Field Research Partnership Program delivers products that raise performance levels of all projects, which leads to more successful ocean defending initiatives.”
Columbia’s focus on outdoor conservation and education make them a leading innovator in outdoor apparel. This corporate partnership began in 2008, with a contribution to TOF’s SeaGrass Grow Campaign, planting and restoring seagrass in Florida. For the past 6 years, Columbia has provided high quality in-kind gear that our projects rely on to perform field work critical to ocean conservation.
In 2010 Columbia Sportswear partnered with TOF, Bass Pro Shops, and Academy Sports + Outdoors to save the seagrass. Columbia Sportswear made special “save the seagrass” shirts and t-shirts to promote restoration of seagrass habitat because it directly relates to key fishing areas in Florida and many other places. This campaign was promoted across environmental and outdoor/retailer conferences and on stage at a Margaritaville private party for retailers.
The Ocean Foundation’s Laguna San Ignacio Ecosystem Science Project (LSIESP) received gear and apparel for 15 students and scientists to weather the wind and salty spray that they encountered each day they worked on the water with gray whales.
Ocean Connectors, an interdisciplinary education program that links students in San Diego and Mexico uses migratory marine animals that travel between the two countries, such as the green sea turtle and the California gray whale, has case studies to teach environmental stewardship to students and foster the views of a shared global environment. Project Manager, Frances Kinney and her staff received jackets and apparel to use during habitat restoration, field trips to sea turtle research sites and on whale watching trips.
The Ocean Foundation’s Cuba Marine Research and Conservation project received a variety of gear for the sea turtle nesting team working out of the Guanahacabibes National Park, where this year the team broke the annual record for the region by counting their 580th nest. Team members were given insect blocker and omni shade apparel to help fight off the intense sun and raging mosquitos found in the region. Additionally, the team used Columbia Sportswear tents to offer protection from the elements during 24 hour monitoring shifts.
“Columbia Sportswear has been a proud partner of The Ocean Foundation for seven years,” said Scott Welch, Global Corporate Relations Manager. “We are honored to outfit The Ocean Foundation’s incredible group of field researchers as they work in diverse environments across the globe to conserve and protect endangered marine habitats and species.”
The SeaGrass Grow campaign is proactively restoring sections of damaged seagrass beds in key Florida markets. This community outreach and education campaign teaches boaters and ocean go-ers how to minimize their impact to ensure productive fisheries, healthy ecosystems, and continued access to our favorite fishing holes.
“My team and I constantly work in harsh and grueling environments, we need durable, high-quality clothing and equipment,” noted Alexander Gaos, Executive Director of the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative (a project of The Ocean Foundation in Central America). “With Columbia’s gear, we can manage long days in the field in a way that we were not able to before.”
The Ocean Foundation partnered with JetBlue Airways Corp. in 2013 to focus on the long-term health of the Caribbean's oceans and beaches. This corporate partnership sought to determine the economic value of clean beaches to strengthen protection of destinations and ecosystems upon which travel and tourism depend. TOF provided expertise in environmental data collection while JetBlue provided their proprietary industry data. JetBlue named the concept “EcoEarnings: A Shore Thing” after their belief that business could be positively tied to shorelines.
The results of the EcoEarnings project have given root to our original theory that there is a negative relationship between coastal ecosystem health and an airline’s revenue per seat at any given destination. The interim report from the project will provide industry leaders an example of the new line of thought that conservation should be included in their business models and their bottom line.
In 2015, Klean Kanteen became a founding member of TOF’s Field Research Partnership Program, providing high quality products to projects completing critical conservation work. Klean Kanteen is committed to producing innovative products designed to last and safe for all. As a certified B corporation and member of 1% for the planet, Klean Kanteen is dedicated to being a model and leader in sustainability. Their commitment and passion for reducing plastic waste and preserving the environment made our partnership a no brainer.
"Klean Kanteen is proud to be participating in the Field Research Partnership Program and to be supporting the incredible work of The Ocean Foundation,” stated Caroleigh Pierce, Nonprofit Outreach Manager for Klean Kanteen. “Together, we will continue working to protect our most valuable resource – water.”
In 2014, Numi became a founding member of TOF’s Field Research Partnership Program, providing high quality tea products to projects completing critical conservation work. Numi celebrates the planet through their thoughtful choices of organic tea, eco-responsible packaging, offsetting carbon emissions, and minimizing supply chain waste. Most recently, Numi was a Leadership Award Winner for Citizenship by the Specialty Food Association.
“What’s tea without water? Numi’s products are dependent upon a healthy, clean ocean. Our partnership with The Ocean Foundation gives back to and conserves the source we all depend on.” -Greg Nielson, VP of Marketing