Vital Ground partner advancing habitat protection, with retro merchandise and help from a star
We all want to live in the past sometimes. When it comes to grizzly bear recovery, returning to, say, 1995, would be a painful step back. Conservation efforts have helped the species’ population in the Lower 48 states roughly double since then. But when it comes to clothing style? No problem!
In that spirit, Vital Ground and our partners at Kodiak (formerly Kodiak Cakes) invite you to join this year’s Keep It Wild campaign and indulge your ‘90s retro urges while helping advance grizzly bear conservation boldly forward. But don’t just take it from us: there’s some serious star power behind this dream team effort to benefit habitat protection.
Since actor Zac Efron signed on as Kodiak’s Chief Brand Officer last year, he’s already helped grizzlies and the countless species that share their range to great effect. With Efron sounding the conservation call, Vital Ground’s longtime partnership with Kodiak led to a highly successful Keep It Wild campaign in 2022 as Kodiak donated 100 percent of proceeds to our habitat protection efforts, making a major difference in several projects crossing the finish line and permanently conserving key linkage areas for grizzlies and other wildlife.
Now Zac is back—and with a retro summer camp theme to this year’s conservation push, he’s helping educate his legions of fans on the grizzly’s road to recovery.
“Here at Camp Kodiak we believe in keeping it wild, but safety is the name of the game,” Efron says to open the campaign’s launch video. “So when we heard the safety of our bear population was in jeopardy, we knew we had to act. That’s why this summer, Camp Kodiak has teamed up with Vital Ground to help conserve bear habitat.”
Next, Efron shows campers a map of the Lower 48 states’ six grizzly bear recovery zones and explains that while Vital Ground has already protected significant habitat, the grizzly’s wild strongholds remain unconnected. (In other words, Zac Efron just explained our One Landscape Initiative. No big deal.)
After conducting a buddy check and showing off the items in this year’s merchandise collection—a retro raglan tee, throwback Igloo cooler and vintage bear towel—Zac reminds everyone that all proceeds from Keep It Wild go toward protecting bear habitat.
Meanwhile, Efron isn’t the only talented artist helping advance the conservation cause. Alaskan bear guide and wildlife photographer Brooke Bartleson designed this year’s Keep It Wild merchandise, giving several of her spectacular images of wild brown bears retro styling to fit the campy vibe.
“Help me protect bears and look great while doing it,” Bartleson wrote on her popular Instagram page. “The best part is, 100% of Kodiak’s Keep It Wild sales will go directly to Vital Ground, an incredible organization dedicated to protecting the land that bears depend on … Together we can help protect bears in the name of all things wild!!”
It adds up to one of Vital Ground’s most uniquely fun and fruitful partnerships in the name of habitat conservation, so before summer is over, be sure to visit the Keep It Wild homepage and get your order in while supplies last. And of course, a huge thank you to Zac, Brooke and our conservation teammates at Kodiak for keeping it wild—and stylish—on behalf of bears!