Birkie Green – Embracing Sustainability & Environmental Responsibility
Hayward, Wisc. (September 26, 2019) – At the core, the Birkie lifestyle is about embracing an active lifestyle in the great outdoors. In fact, one of the core tenets of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation’s (ABSF) mission is to serve as good stewards of the American Birkebeiner Trail. Knowing they have a responsibility to take the best possible care of this amazing resource, and the environment in general, the ABSF staff is excited to launch the new Birkie Green initiative.
The ABSF is committed to making choices to inspire and implement solutions to address changing climates; to implementing sustainability practices whenever possible; to creating solutions to support the environment and use of the land; and to consciously choose like-minded vendors and partners who demonstrate green and sustainability issues.
Knowing ABSF events place thousands of participants on the Birkie Trail each year, they’ve already begun to make choices, both large and small, to make a difference in the collective impact. Thanks to the support of the greater Birkie community, the ABSF now has over 9600 reusable Birkie gear/duffle bags in use, reducing thousands of plastic bags in landfills. The ABSF has installed solar lighting at aid stations; built the Samuel C. Johnson Family Outdoor Center at the OO Trailhead with a passive solar design to capture natural heat and light; installed a water bottle refill station at OO to eliminate the unnecessary use of plastic bottles; installed an electric car charger at OO; have moved from using plastic cups at Birkie events to beverages in recyclable cans; have posted Birkie Trail maps at all trailheads vs. paper handout options; provide all race guides as digital options; actively recycle at all events; and utilize a virtual race bag to eliminate the unnecessary use of waste at the annual Birkie Expo, to name just a few. In fact, for the first-time ever, the Birkie Trail Run Festival event will be completely cup-less. Over 1000 participants will bring their own hydration vessels or use the reusable, collapsible cup option made available during event registration, eliminating thousands of cups from landfills. In addition, only beverages in recyclable cans will be available to participants and spectators during the Birkie Trail Run Festival’s post-race celebration in the big tent.
Watch for the new Birkie Green logo at all future Birkie events, identifying spaces and places were green initiatives are underway. Participants and spectators will also notice the Birkie Green logo where the ABSF is actively sorting trash, composting, and recycling at Birkie events.
While in its infancy, the ABSF is inspired by initial progress and the excitement surrounding the Birkie Green program. The ABSF will continue working with experts on attainable sustainability options for future activation.