Sunday, February 28, 2010

WV Online Auction Is Live...Bid Away!

The Wilderness Volunteers Online Auction is underway! The auction site is live at Wilderness Volunteers Auction. Place your best bid now.

We're excited to bring this tremendous collaboration together, unifying volunteers and supporters with great companies and individuals who have donated a wide variety of great items -- from gear to adventures to apparel to accommodations -- you'll surely find super deals on some very nice things, all while "giving something back." Proceeds benefit Wilderness Volunteer's mission to organize and promote volunteer service to America's wild lands.

Once you have registered, you can bid on items and ask to be notified when your bid has been beaten.

In order to have a successful auction, you'll need to receive communications from us while the auction is underway. The auction emails will come from "" so be sure to add this domain to your acceptable email list.

Please help us to get the word out about the auction by letting your family, friends and contacts know about it. Mention it on your and your company's Facebook or MySpace page, blog about it, call your mom!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tips for the Trail

Here are few tips for the next time you're on the trail and in the kitchen.

1. Look at the position of these Dragonfly stoves. The fuel canisters are upright. The leader on this trip called me during the trip to complain that "the stoves don't work." I walked him through the steps of using the stove and he couldn't get them to work. I was baffled until I saw these pictures. It didn't occur to me that they would be used in this position.

Don't do this - lay the fuel bottles down lengthwise so that they'll pressurize properly. I'm also concerned about the stoves & pots being up off the ground on small uneven pedestals. These are too easy to spill when stirring or when someone walks by and brushes against them. Ouch!

2. This tarp is a recipe for disaster, especially if it fills with rainwater at night or while the group is at work and there isn't anyone available to empty the water. It isn't that hard to put up an effective tarp that sheds water.

Don't do this - take the time to locate the kitchen in an area where you can properly hang a tarp. There are little plastic "do-hickeys" that you can buy to add a temporary grommet to the top, middle - anywhere - on the tarp where some lift is needed. Throw a line over a branch and tie it to the grommet and do away with center poles that aren't grounded. In windy or rainy weather, angle the tarp with the low edge facing the wind. The wind will be forced over the kitchen instead of through it, and water can run off the tarp instead of collecting in a pool.

3. Don't do this! This is a health code violation. People cannot lick or use their fingers in the pots on a group trip, I don't care how good that cheesecake filling is! Bring a small scraper and scrape those dregs into a dish. The only things that should be in the pots besides the food is a spoon or sponge. We all have germs in our mouths, and we don't know how effective the dishwashers are going to be. It's best to reduce the bacterial load at the source. Have one person serve the food to reduce the number of germs on the serving spoons. Don't let anyone put their dishes over the food pots, or place their hands in them.

Got any tips to share? Let us know.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Lost Generation?

Here's a creative video brought to our attention by a volunteer. I'll leave it at that. Watch for yourself.

Friday, February 05, 2010

So, We're Holding An Online Auction

As we eagerly prepare for the very first Wilderness Volunteers Online Auction, here are answers to some good questions we’ve heard. We need your help to make it a successful event!

How does it work, what’s the timing? The auction occurs in three phases: receiving auction items (now through Feb 26th), live bidding (Feb 27th-Mar 14th), and winning something really cool for a great price in support of a great cause…but you gotta bid to have a chance!

What kinds of items are we looking for? Darn near anything related to: outdoor gear and products, guide services of all kinds, home and condo stays, clothing, spa & massage services, lodging, event tickets, art of all kinds, books, restaurant meals, gift certificates of all kinds….We’re looking for new items, preferably still in original packaging.

How do I donate an item to be auctioned? The slick way to donate something is to fill out this donation form. The form asks you for some basic information about the item; its value, how the winner claims it, shipping, and including a function to upload a photo and logo for display on the auction site.

What happens on Feb 27th? Once we’ve got all the items loaded onto the auction site, we’ll send an initial email blast opening the auction, followed by a series of emails as we move into the last days, hours and minutes. We’ll also make announcements and make links available through the WV Facebook page, the WV Blog, and any other means available. And we want you to help us spread the word through all your channels too.

Who can bid, how do I bid, when does it end? Anybody can bid who has a credit card registered on the auction site, although we will still take check payment. We’ll place links to the auction website in all our announcements. Once registered, you’ll be issued instructions and personal ID to enter the secure bid site, and once there while the auction is live (ends throughout the day on Mar 14th) you can monitor and strategically bid on any item right up until the clock stops!

Who’s our audience, who’s doing the bidding? Our audience includes our trip participants, trip leaders, supporters, agency personnel, and all who enjoy the outdoors. We are entering our 13th year of organizing service projects and have a loyal following of fit, active outdoor adventurers who engage in a variety of outdoor pursuits including backpacking, camping, hiking, climbing, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, cycling, road-tripping and traveling abroad.

Is there an event I have to attend? No. An online auction is much like other auctions, only all the bidding is conducted on a website in real time over a period of two weeks, Feb 27-Mar 14. We chose to do an online auction because the Wilderness Volunteers’ family is so geographically broad-based, our supporters literally live all over the country. We don’t even have a physical office, as our staff work from their homes!

How do I claim the item I won? Most items will be listed with their claim information, so you’ll know before you bid. Depending on the item (mainly size and fragility), you may receive the item by mail, shipped by the donor, or shipped by Wilderness Volunteers.

Where does the money go? Funds raised through the Wilderness Volunteers Online Auction are used in support of our mission to organize and promote volunteer service to America’s wild lands.