Social Media Site Increases Support for Canada's Wilderness

The Big Wild - an initiative founded by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and Mountain Equipment Co-op - has been leveraging the viral benefits of online social media in the hopes of growing support for its cause.

The Big Wild refers to the part of Canada that is still in its natural state. And the vision is to keep at least half of Canada's public land and water wild forever. The hope is to achieve this through education, fundraising, and support and encouragement for the public to lobby decision-makers.

The social movement launched this past Spring, with guerrilla marketing stunts in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax and St. John's that introduced Canadians to its social networking site, www.thebigwild.org/

The site allows Canadians not only to learn about Canadian wild spaces in need of protection, but encourages supporters to share stories, videos and photos about their own wilderness experiences. This keeps the site real, personable, and fresh. People can truly feel a part of the project and gain a sense of pride. The prizes available for various ways of getting involved only increase the incentive to participate.

To complement the online components of the campaign and keep the viral message going offline as well, Mountain Equipment Co-op is selling (by small donation only), green Big Wild shoelaces.

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