Customers of Great Outdoor Provision Co. got more than a great deal on outdoor gear this month – they helped select the winner of the 2010 Vote For Land conservation project. Congratulations to Airlie Gardens and the North Carolina Coast Land Trust – this year’s winner.  A $3000 grant will be awarded to help protect Airlie Gardens forever with a conservation easement that will allow the gardens to flourish for centuries to come.

The contest is part of Great Outdoor Provision Co.’s celebration of Land Trust Day, an annual celebration in which local businesses and the state’s land trusts work together to save natural areas in the community.

“Land Trust Day helps to highlight the rapid rate at which North Carolina is losing – and will continue to lose – its beautiful open spaces to development,” said Tom Valone, Great Outdoor Provision Co. owner. “This contest is a way for us to make our customers aware of the work land trusts are doing to save the places we all love.”

arlie gardensThe Conservation Trust of North Carolina nominated four places across the state for protection. This year’s nominees included farms, forested riverbanks, an educational nature preserve, and a century old garden by the sea. Once they’re permanently protected, the lands will offer new places to hike, bike, paddle, and enjoy nature for generations to come. The projects will also preserve habitat for endangered plants and animals, provide a buffer for rivers from pollution, and maintain the state’s scenic beauty.

Chaco, Columbia, Merrell and Patagonia helped in the underwriting for a $3,000 grant to help protect the chosen site. Great Outdoor Provision Co. highlighted the projects on its Web site and invited customers to vote online for their favorite.

Voting ended at noon on June 3, and the winner, Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, NC was announced on Saturday, June 5, Land Trust Day.

Land Trust Day was founded by Great Outdoor Provision Co. in 1992 as a way to celebrate National Trails Day, which is always the first Saturday in June.

In addition to sponsoring the contest, Great Outdoor Provision Co. donates a percentage of sales on Land Trust Day from each of its seven stores to land trusts that serve the stores’ regions.

“We see Land Trust Day as a way for businesses to participate in a self-imposed ‘earth tax’,” said Valone. “Many people do not realize the important work land trusts are doing in their communities. We hope by supporting land trusts we are calling attention to their good work and contributing to it.”

Vote for Land