Announcing Our 2018 Conservation Matching Grants

We are pleased to announce the recipients of our annual Customer Matching Conservation Grant program.  These grants are the cornerstone of Orvis’s annual commitment of 5% of its pre-tax . . .

We are pleased to announce the recipients of our annual Customer Matching Conservation Grant program.  These grants are the cornerstone of Orvis’s annual commitment of 5% of its pre-tax profits to protecting nature.

Each year, members the Orvis Conservation Committee explore the problems effecting the preservation of our natural environment, and select what they feel to be the most pressing issue.  They collaborate with non-profit organizations working on initiatives that can effectively move the needle to mitigate this issue. For 2018, the overarching issue is the protection and preservation of clean water.

To address this issue, Orvis has awarded cash grants to the following organizations:

  • Trout Unlimited to support the Save Bristol Bay/Stop Pebble Mine campaign. If Pebble Mine is built, one of the most magnificent ecosystems and the world’s last great wild salmon habitat will be endangered forever.   (link to landing page)
  • Everglades Foundation, continuing support for the Now Or Neverglades campaign. While great strides were made to save America’s River of Grass in 2017, the battle isn’t over yet.  To fund the construction of a reservoir to correct environmental imbalances, this initiative now moves on to the national stage. (link to landing page)

Throughout 2018, Orvis will feature each of these grant programs in its catalogs, website, and retail stores, as well as in other print and online promotions.

“The in-kind value of this kind of exposure exceeds $600,000 on top of the cash grants”, says Orvis Director of Multi-Channel Marketing, Brian Galloway. “These promotional efforts, coupled with the matching funds from Orvis, provide a remarkable opportunity for customers, organization members, and the general public to amplify their contribution to the protection of clean water through these programs.”

Orvis CEO Perk Perkins coined the company mantra, “If we are to benefit from the use of our natural resources, we must be willing to act to preserve them”. Orvis has selected these projects because they provide us with the opportunity to make an immediate and substantial impact on two of our most imperiled and iconic bodies of water.

“For Orvis, it is not only a moral obligation but an investment in our future”, said Perkins. “We invite customers to participate with their own donations, and we match their contributions dollar for dollar.”

To learn more about these projects, go to the Orvis Commitment page.

Over the past 29 years, Orvis has raised and donated in excess of $21 million to a wide variety of conservation organizations, including National Wildlife Federation, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Clark Fork Coalition, and World Wildlife Fund, to name a few.  Details of this and past years’ Orvis Customer Matching Grant projects can be found at the Orvis Commitment page.

Morris Animal Foundation: Heart Disease in Dogs


Help your best pal stay healthy
Photo by Morris Animal Foundation

Five common signs of heart disease in dogs

By Dr. Kelly Diehl
Scientific Adviser
Morris Animal Foundation

Heart disease is a common problem in dogs that can be caused by a variety of underlying diseases including heart valve degeneration, irregular heart rate and rhythm (arrhythmia), and heart muscle disease. Despite the different types of heart diseases affecting dogs, many share common signs that can alert an owner to a problem….


Help your best pal stay healthy
Photo by Morris Animal Foundation

Five common signs of heart disease in dogs

By Dr. Kelly Diehl
Scientific Adviser
Morris Animal Foundation

Heart disease is a common problem in dogs that can be caused by a variety of underlying diseases including heart valve degeneration, irregular heart rate and rhythm (arrhythmia), and heart muscle disease. Despite the different types of heart diseases affecting dogs, many share common signs that can alert an owner to a problem.

Five common signs of heart disease in dogs include:

1. Cough – Many dogs with heart disease have coughs that don’t get better. Dogs with heart disease cough for many reasons. Fluid can begin to accumulate in the lungs because the heart isn’t pumping efficiently, leading to coughing. Some heart diseases lead to heart enlargement. The enlarged heart can press on airways and stimulate coughing. Any persistent cough that lasts more than a few days should be checked by a veterinarian.
2. Fainting or collapse – When heart function decreases, vital organs such as the brain can become deprived of nutrients, especially oxygen. Blood flow to the brain can be compromised in dogs with heart disease, leading to fainting or collapse. Fainting and collapse in dogs with heart disease is usually triggered by exercise, although sometimes coughing can trigger an episode.
3. Difficulty breathing – Dogs with heart disease will often have difficulty breathing. A dog may breathe more rapidly, or with more force. Some dogs will sit or stand with their legs wide apart and with their neck stretched out. Dogs with severe heart disease have more trouble breathing when lying down, and often will sit or stand for long periods of time.
4. Fatigue, inability to exercise – Dogs with heart disease will tire out more quickly on walks and during exercise. They may sleep or rest more than usual.
5. Behavior change – Many behavior changes can be seen in dogs with heart disease, including poor appetite, isolation, and a reluctance to play or engage in previously pleasurable activities.

Many of the signs of heart disease can mimic other diseases, such as arthritis, seizures and chronic lung disease. Your veterinarian can narrow down the diagnostic possibilities with a good history and diagnostic tests. Tests that are very helpful in the diagnosis of heart disease include:

• Chest X-ray – X-rays remain a good way to assess heart size, and they remain one of the best ways to assess fluid build-up in and around the lungs.
• Electrocardiogram (ECG) – An ECG is the best way to detect an arrhythmia. Sometimes a veterinarian will use a Holter monitor to look for irregular heartbeats over several days while a dog is at home.
• Echocardiogram – An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. This non-invasive test has revolutionized the diagnosis of heart diseases in both people and dogs. An echocardiogram performed by a skilled veterinarian can provide important information not only about disease but also provide measurements that can be used to assess therapy.

Although heart disease in dogs can be serious, many treatment options are available that can help our dogs with heart disease not just control signs but live a higher quality life. Diet therapy, modification of activity, and therapeutics are all strategies used to treat heart disease in dogs. Your veterinarian can help select which therapies are best for your canine companion.

Morris Animal Foundation has been funding canine heart disease studies since 1960. Our studies have covered cardiac issues from understanding canine ECGs to our most recent study looking at the genetic basis of heart valve disease in dogs. We’re passionate about helping dogs live longer, healthier lives.

Orvis is proud to support the Morris Animal Foundation’s canine cancer research through its Cover Dog Contest.

Earth Day: We Were Green Before It Was Cool!


What’s Not to Love?!
Photo by Paul Gooney

I have a reusable tote bag emblazoned with the slogan, Vermont: We Were Green Before It Was Cool. It’s true. I don’t know if it’s the serenity of the landscape, the improbability of the weather, or the commitment of Vermonters to live and let live, but there is a respect and a reverence for. . .


What’s Not to Love?!
Photo by Paul Gooney

I have a reusable tote bag emblazoned with the slogan, Vermont: We Were Green Before It Was Cool. It’s true. I don’t know if it’s the serenity of the landscape, the improbability of the weather, or the commitment of Vermonters to live and let live, but there is a respect and a reverence for the environment here that I’ve experienced in very few other places.

Orvis was founded in Manchester, VT in 1856. As a company with such deep roots here in Vermont, perhaps it was inevitable that we would attract people hopelessly in love with nature. Conservation is at the very heart of our brand, so much so that each year we donate 5% of our pre-tax profits to protecting nature. In fact since 1989 Orvis has raised and donated more than $20MM!

Through our Matching Grants, we encourage our customers to get involved as well. With so many organizations doing so many worthy projects, deciding which ones to support can be daunting. Each year the Orvis Conservation Committee carefully curates initiatives from around the world, and selects a few that we feel are particularly worthy of our customers’ attention and support. Orvis then matches customer donations, dollar for dollar up to a stated goal, to encourage customers to double their money!

But the Customer Matching Grants are only part of the story. In celebration of Earth Day, take a look at some of what Orvis and you, our customers, accomplished in 2015. (Click the image to enlarge it):


Happy Earth Day!
Photo by Orvis

Everglades Foundation: Making Conservation Look Good!


These ladies really live their work!
Photo by Everglades Foundation

As regular readers of the Orvis News may have noticed, for the past year we’ve been deeply committed to the work being done to restore the health and well-being of Florida’s Everglades. Working in partnership with our friends at The Everglades Foundation we have been working to restore water flows south of Lake Okeechobee and to stop discharges down the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers….


These ladies really live their work!
Photo by Everglades Foundation

As regular readers of the Orvis News may have noticed, for the past year we’ve been deeply committed to the work being done to restore the health and well-being of Florida’s Everglades. Working in partnership with our friends at The Everglades Foundation we have been working to restore water flows south of Lake Okeechobee and to stop discharges down the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers.

In addition to positioning EF as our principal Matching Grant partner for 2017, Orvis will donate 5% of the profits of a specially designed Women’s drirelease(r) Everglades Conservation Tee to the organization. It’s the perfect opportunity to do some good and look good doing it!

And who best to model this beautiful shirt than the lovely, hard-working women staffers at the Everglades Foundation? How’s this for a show of support?!

Orvis Solar Installation Completed


Solar Array at Orvis HQ
Photo by Orvis

What better time than Earth Day to announce the installation of solar panels at Orvis corporate headquarters in Sunderland, VT? The Orvis Company has partnered with New Hampshire based solar developer and financier, SunRaise Investments, for the installation of a 75 kilowatt solar array.

Occupying 12,000 square feet of the building’s rooftop, the array is anticipated to generate approximately 20% of Orvis’ electricity needs. The environmental benefits are both significant and measurable, with each year the solar panels saving nearly 70,000 pounds of coal from being burned or 7,200 gallons of gasoline getting consumed….


Solar Array at Orvis HQ
Photo by Orvis

What better time than Earth Day to announce the installation of solar panels at Orvis corporate headquarters in Sunderland, VT? The Orvis Company has partnered with New Hampshire based solar developer and financier, SunRaise Investments, for the installation of a 75 kilowatt solar array.

Occupying 12,000 square feet of the building’s rooftop, the array is anticipated to generate approximately 20% of Orvis’ electricity needs. The environmental benefits are both significant and measurable, with each year the solar panels saving nearly 70,000 pounds of coal from being burned or 7,200 gallons of gasoline getting consumed.

“The entire construction process went very smoothly with little to no disruption to our occupied facility. Now, instead of just keeping the rain outside, our roof space produces electricity for us. A win/win for us all,” said Bruce Woodruff, Manager of Orvis Vermont Facilities.

Development for the project began in 2015 but was put on hold due to the Vermont solar program reaching its cap in late 2015. In July of 2016, when the program cap was lifted, Orvis and SunRaise re-engaged and moved forward on development of the project. The array was then constructed in the Fall of 2016 and placed in service in December.

SunRaise provided a solar equipment lease agreement to Orvis, which was formally entered into in September of 2016. Under this agreement, SunRaise pays for the cost of the solar array and Orvis is charged a monthly lease payment in exchange for receiving the solar generation and associated electricity credits.

“In addition to substantially reducing our carbon footprint,” said Ken Smith, Vice President of Customer Operations, “we will see a proportional reduction in our monthly electricity costs that allows us to reallocate those funds to conservation efforts worldwide.”

A wall mounted monitoring screen has been installed in the lobby of the company offices that displays the array’s daily generation. This allows employees and visitors to track the daily and accumulated environmental benefits. Orvis prides itself on its commitment to conservation and sustainability, and each year commits 5% of the company’s pre-tax profits to protecting nature.

Orvis Fishing Manager Argues for Public Lands


NWF Invitation to DC Public Lands event
Photo by NWF

The National Wildlife Federation issued an invitation to sportsmen and sportswomen throughout the country to attend an event in Washington, DC last week. The purpose was to meet with . . .


NWF Invitation to DC Public Lands event
Photo by NWF

The National Wildlife Federation issued an invitation to sportsmen and sportswomen throughout the country to attend an event in Washington, DC last week. The purpose was to meet with senators and representatives from their states to discuss the importance of keeping public lands just that.

Orvis Fishing Manager Mark White answered the call. As Vice President of his Greenville, South Carolina Trout Unlimited chapter and an active member of Ruffed Grouse Society, Mark has a passion for the outdoors and is deeply committed to conservation.

He had the opportunity to meet with Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Tom Rice. His asked them to keep public lands in public hands, and to oppose all legislative attempts of wholesale transfers of public lands to the states, or to sell them to private interests. He requested their support for appropriations increases, and that they oppose decreased funding for public lands and public lands management. In addition he asked for support for legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land & Water Conservation Fund as well as opposition to undermining the Antiquities Act, or rescinding existing national monuments.


Mark White (l) meets with Senator Graham
Photo by NWF

Mark also brought the support of Orvis with him in the form of letters from Executive Vice Chairman David Perkins to Sen. Graham and Rep. Trey Gowdy. Here’s the text:

April 4, 2017

The Honorable Lindsey Graham
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Graham:

We are writing you to seek your leadership and support in protecting America’s public lands. One of the truly remarkable privileges we Americans share and treasure is not only the beauty of this country, but our ability as citizens to access and enjoy it. These lands more and more provide a refuge for Americans from the ever-increasing pace of modern life. They are more important now than ever, both spiritually and economically, as our citizens seek out the respite of wild places. There is a historical pride in the fact that for American citizens, this country is ours to use, protect, and love. The specter of our children and grandchildren being denied this privilege is beyond deeply troubling. The present budget proposals if enacted, include a proposed 12-percent decrease to the Department of the Interior budget, which will slash the resources needed to manage public lands, support state management of fish and wildlife, and enact vital conservation efforts across the country. Under this proposal, America’s greatest treasure could become America’s most tragic loss.

Economically, public lands are the backbone of the $646 billion outdoor recreation economy and they are the linchpin to hunting and fishing in America. The headwaters of almost every blue ribbon trout or salmon river are on public lands, and a substantial portion of American hunters hunt on public land. These lands need to remain in federal hands. If the funding and management is transferred to the states, the inevitable fiscal result will be the selling off of these lands, and once gone, they will likely never be recovered. Congress needs to invest in public lands. If money is the only arbiter, this is an investment that will pay substantial dividends in the future. Once private, these lands will provide little if any economic benefit to the government, but more importantly to the American people.

Finally, on a personal note, imagine the impact on the Sumter and Frances Marion National Forests or wildlife refuges such as the Santee in your state, and the rural communities that depend on outdoor recreation and tourism spending. It would be devastating to the lives of your constituency and to the lives of those who live and thrive in the outdoors across all 50 states. America is unique in that everyone has access to these lands including, and most importantly, the hard-working middle class who find their lives richer and more fulfilled through this access. These are the people who now most need your leadership. Will our outdoor ethic now be relegated only to those who can afford access to private lands? Do we truly want an estate mentality to prevail as it does in other countries? It is an unimaginable threat that would forever change the definition of an American citizen’s freedom, but under the current budget proposal, a very real one.

Sincerely,

David Perkins
Executive Vice Chairman
The Orvis Company, Inc.

Kudos to Mark White for standing up for unfettered access to our precious public lands.


Mark White, Senator Graham and Ben Gregg, Executive Director of SC Wildlife Federation
Photo by NWF

Casting for Recovery/Orvis Challenge


Orvis helps CfR kick off their retreat season
Photo by Casting for Recovery

The mission of Casting for Recovery® (CfR) is to enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique retreat program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. The program offers opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with other women and nature. CfR serves breast cancer survivors of all ages, in all stages of treatment and recovery, at no cost to participants….


Orvis helps CfR kick off their retreat season
Photo by Casting for Recovery

The mission of Casting for Recovery® (CfR) is to enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique retreat program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. The program offers opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with other women and nature. CfR serves breast cancer survivors of all ages, in all stages of treatment and recovery, at no cost to participants.

As a founding sponsor of Casting for Recovery, Orvis has always had a soft spot for the compassionate work done by this incredible organization. CfR is kicking off their 2017 Retreat Season. Here’s how you can help us help them!

Orvis CEO Perk Perkins Calls for “Urgency and Total Devotion” in the Fight to Save The Everglades


Perk Perkins silhouetted against a slide of Orvis’ Now Or Neverglades campaign imagery
Photo by Everglades Foundation

The following comments were made by Orvis CEO Perk Perkins at the Everglades Coalition Conference on Jan. 5, 2017.

I remember from my earliest days camping with my father, he taught me and my brother to always leave a campsite better than we found it. That has become a metaphor for my life and our company. I first became aware of the plight of the Everglades 32 years ago, the same year you were holding your first Everglades Coalition Conference. I was privileged to be tarpon fishing . . .


Perk Perkins silhouetted against a slide of Orvis’ Now Or Neverglades campaign imagery
Photo by Everglades Foundation

The following comments were made by Orvis CEO Perk Perkins at the Everglades Coalition Conference on Jan. 5, 2017.

I remember from my earliest days camping with my father, he taught me and my brother to always leave a campsite better than we found it. That has become a metaphor for my life and our company.

I first became aware of the plight of the Everglades 32 years ago, the same year you were holding your first Everglades Coalition Conference. I was privileged to be tarpon fishing with Rick Ruoff in the back country north of Islamorada. I noted a remarkable abundance of jellyfish pulsing on the bottom, and he explained to me that they were the Cassiopea jellyfish, fond of hyper-saline water. “They weren’t here like this five years ago …” and that led him to explain to me how the freshwater from Lake Okeechobee formerly flowed through the “Sea of Grass” into the Everglades and how those freshwater pulses made the Everglades the global ecological treasure that they were. He went on to explain how nature’s plumbing of South Florida had been re-routed by private and public interests to flow east out the St Lucie River and West out the Caloosahatchee River, depriving this part of the Keys of the freshwater that made it such a rich fishery. He alarmed me with the scale of the problem, and the huge economic interests at stake.

From that day on, I have never thought about any conservation challenge, large or small, without thinking of the plight of the Everglades. And in the three decades since then, it has been an emotional roller coaster, with heights of hope and depths of despair as solutions have risen and fallen. Even from the first (of many) of Rick’s lectures on the subject, I realized this ecological tragedy would take my lifetime to resolve, if ever! This was one campsite that I really wanted to leave better than I found it.

So why now? Why, in 2017, Orvis is devoting its full conservation effort to the Now Or Neverglades campaign? I’ll tell you why – the stars have aligned, and the opportunity has never been better to enact a long-term permanent solution to the wreckage of the Everglades. Climatic, scientific, economic, and political forces are lined up like windows through an abandoned building – and a solution is clearly visible–IN THE NEXT 5 MONTHS. After 32 years, we’re talking 5 months!

This is a long shot, but raise your hand if you attended the first Everglades Conference 32 years ago. [Out of the 200 attendees in the room, 4 hands went up.] Thank you! Thank you for your persistence, for the glue you have supplied to keep this effort building year upon year, amassing the passions, learnings, lessons. And thanks to all of you, whether this is your first conference, your 5th, your 10th – whatever. I have learned in my four decades of conservation that it is a game or persistence. But when the right moment comes, it so often requires urgency and total devotion to get across the finish line. It’s a difficult duality. If you need convincing on this, read “The Crucible of Conservation,” the 21-year-long saga of the creation of Grand Teton National Park where, twice, defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory; how Rockefeller’s persistence and staying power combined with exasperated urgency to get the job done when the right moment came a third time.

The checks that Orvis can deliver to the Now Or Neverglades Campaign are a drop in the bucket. And while I know they are encouraging, needed, and appreciated, what we and others like ourselves can bring is the energy it requires to change gears of essential persistence to Urgency and Total Devotion. But let me give credit where it is due, and that is to Orvis’s customers. They have the wealth, power and influence to accomplish far beyond what we as a company could ever do. Our goal is to inspire and focus them with conservation opportunities like this one – Now Or Neverglades – get it done!

Orvis is a proud sponsor of the Now Or Neverglades Campaign. To learn more about this critical issue and how you can help, visit Now Or Neverglades and the Everglades Foundation.

Orvis CEO Perk Perkins Addresses Everglades Coalition Conference


Perk Perkins expounds upon Orvis’ support for the Now Or Neverglades campaign
Photo by Everglades Foundation

Last night, Orvis CEO Perk Perkins addressed attendees at the opening reception for The Everglades Coalition Conference in Sanibel, Florida. The theme of this year’s conference is . . .


Perk Perkins expounds upon Orvis’ support for the Now Or Neverglades campaign
Photo by Everglades Foundation

Last night, Orvis CEO Perk Perkins addressed attendees at the opening reception for The Everglades Coalition Conference in Sanibel, Florida. The theme of this year’s conference is “Three Estuaries, One Solution,” focusing on the mis-allocation of water resources in southern Florida, which is leading to toxic algae blooms and the demise of Florida Bay. In his remarks–which we will publish later today–Perkins called for “Urgency and total devotion” to the cause.

Click here for more information on the Everglades Coalition Conference

You can learn a lot more about the important issues involved at these websites:

The Everglades Foundation
Captains for Clean Water
Bullsugar.Org

And if you haven’t already done so, please sign the #NowOrNeverglades Declaration. In the months since Orvis executives signed the Declaration, their names have been joined by tens of thousands of others. Add yours now.