Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard will receive the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at the SHIFT festival in October.

And the finalists are ...

For the SHIFT Awards for outdoor recreation and conservation, the finalists range from large corporations like REI to individual researchers.

Ahead of the 2019 SHIFT Festival, organizers of the nonprofit Center for Jackson Hole have selected a cadre of people and organizations to honor at their annual conference. The SHIFT Awards recognize “individuals, organizations or initiatives from around the United States that leverage outdoor [recreation] for conservation gains and/or promoting the health benefits of time outside,” according to SHIFT’s website.

The awards have been around since the conference’s inception. This year, the awards are tailored to the festival’s overall theme, “SHIFT RX: Nature as Medicine.” The description of this year’s festival says organizers want to answer this question: “How do we raise the value proposition of nature at a time when our move away from it is accelerating?”

In layman’s terms, “value proposition” refers to the benefit customers see themselves obtaining from a particular product. In this case, nature is the product, and SHIFT’s focus is to demonstrate the tangible benefits that people derive from nature.

The awards for the most part laud organizations and people that work to give others opportunities to be outside or that further research into the health benefits of outdoor recreation. The names announced recently are the award selections, basically the finalists, and winners will be revealed during the conference, which runs Oct. 16-18. Award categories are nonprofit leadership, business leadership, public land management innovation, technology, youth engagement, adventure athlete and research.

In the business leadership category, the finalists are M. Amos Clifford, of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, which works to include forest therapy, or forest bathing, in global health care systems; Luis Benitez, who created outdoor recreation programs and policy in the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office; and REI’s Rewinding Project, an endeavor to create access to outdoor recreation in urban areas like Chicago and San Francisco.

New this year is the Lifetime Achievement Award, designed to be given to “the individual whose commitment to leveraging outdoor recreation for conservation gains has brought the greatest value to American society.” The inaugural award will be presented to Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the outdoor retail company Patagonia, who pioneered American big-wall climbing and whose conservation work stretches from North America to the South American region for which his company is named.

In its announcement, SHIFT called Chouinard “the climber, surfer, fly fisherman and falconer whose disruptive approach to environmentalism has inspired a generation of activists to fight for the places in which they love to play.”

A full list of the selections can be found at SHIFTJH.org/category/news.

This story has been updated to clarify that these are the finalists for the awards and that research, not youth leadership, is the seventh category. — Ed.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-5902 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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