What do conservationists look like? Do they wear fleece jackets? Or hiking boots? Well, what about motorcycle helmets? The idea that motorcycle riders have a heart for conservation might surprise non-motorcyclists out there, but it shouldn’t.
After all, motorcycle riders see some of the most remote and distant lands in the U.S. and beyond. A huge component of the riding experience is the natural scenery that rolls by. That’s why it makes sense to protect it and why a leading global environmental conservation organization and the world’s most iconic motorcycle company now find themselves sharing the same road.
The Nature Conservancy is working with Harley-Davidson Motor Company to kick off Renew the Ride™ – a global initiative to help preserve the environment with the goal of ensuring that future generations of riders and outdoor enthusiasts alike will be able to enjoy nature’s beauty forever.
As part of this initiative, Harley-Davidson is supporting The Nature Conservancy’s work in the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil by helping to plant 110,000 trees through the Plant a Billion Trees Campaign.
Brazil’s Atlantic Forest is one of the world’s most fragile and important ecosystems in the world, harboring thousands of species found nowhere else on the planet. Today, this region is facing unprecedented challenges due to urban expansion, agriculture, ranching and illegal logging. The support from Harley will help advance the Conservancy’s restoration work in critical headwaters that help to secure clean water for more than 70 percent of Brazil’s population.
This partnership also gives the message of conservation more exposure. Harley-Davidson motorcycle riders (and other bikers) frequent national parks and recreation areas and truly rely on nature’s elements on a daily basis. They are, quite literally, on the prairie and in the forests stitching one stretch of road to the next. These riders see impacts to the natural world over seasons and years, unedited by car windows.
Harley-Davidson’s work with The Nature Conservancy now provides an outlet for these riders to take a bigger role in the scenery – one that helps to fund, raise awareness for and protect the places they call home away from home.
I expect this partnership to turn heads. Corporate partnerships often do. But the fact is conservationists don’t all look alike. I’ve actually been on the other end of this. I earned my motorcycle license years ago — which always surprises my “green” friends. But I can attest that motorcyclists ride for many of the same reasons anyone who embraces the outdoors does: the wind in our faces, the landscape rolling out in front of us. The enjoyment of our rides depends on protecting the landscapes we take in.
This personal tie to lands and waters is very much what riding is all about – and exactly what The Nature Conservancy’s more than 500 scientists are achieving every day in more than 35 countries around the globe.
[Image: Winding roads in Europe.]