I love it when people have as much fun writing as I do. Here’s a press release from Harlot Clothing Company.
Santa Fe, NM February 22, 2011
“It’s a project to turn bad beavers into good beavers,” says Jennifer Steketee, president of Harlot Clothing Company, when asked about the environmental project Harlot has partnered with. The project (officially called Building Riparian Resilience through Beaver Restoration) is directed by Seventh Generation Institute, a non-profit organization based in Santa Fe, NM, and uses beaver to restore damaged wetland ecosystems and fend off climate change around New Mexico. Harlot Clothing Company is donating a portion of the proceeds of their Beaver t-shirts and socks to the program, and Harlot president Dr. Steketee, a veterinarian, is donating her veterinary services to the project.
What’s a company that manufactures cycling apparel doing getting involved with beaver? “When we first started Harlot, we jokingly called the unique padding system in our women’s shorts the “Beaver Comfort Zone”. Honestly, we never though the company would get off the ground,” Steketee laughs. The name stuck, and the company has grown greatly since its inception in 2004. People have come to associate Harlot with the beaver logo, and the sales of Harlot’s beaver socks and t-shirts have been strong over the years. “It’s a small part of our business – we really focus on performance cycling apparel and activewear for women and men – but the beaver product sales have been consistent. People just like beaver,” states Steketee.
Actually, most people like beaver, but for some landowners, beaver on their property can become a major headache. Currently, many of these “nuisance beaver” are being destroyed. This project will relocate the “problem beaver” to areas where their work benefits stream ecosystems, specifically targeting areas that are warming and drying due to climate change. Beaver dams are very efficient at slowing water flow and improving the health of wetland areas, and beaver have been used successfully in many areas to create or restore riparian ecosystems. “And they are cheap labor,” offers Seventh Generation Executive Director Cathryn Wild. “Where beaver flourish, the end result is less flooding and erosion and a greater diversity of plants and wildlife in these areas,” adds Wild.
For a company like Harlot, supporting an environmental program like this one was a no-brainer. They already manufacture their apparel in the USA, making their carbon footprint much smaller than most apparel manufacturers by eliminating the need for overseas shipments of supplies and finished goods. “Despite our somewhat racy name, we are a bunch of nature-loving do-gooders,” says Steketee. And that’s how two unlikely partners, Harlots and beavers, came together to improve wild areas and fight climate change.
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