Clean Earth Challenge Inspires Action

Photo: Clean Earth Challenge

Johnson Outdoors, National Wildlife Federation partner to help participants collect 1 million pieces of trash.

Want to lend a hand helping out the Earth? It’s as easy as picking up a piece of trash. And the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Public Lands’ outdoor gear brand Johnson Outdoors are making it even easier—and trackable—with their new Clean Earth Challenge. 

The two have teamed up to help preserve the planet by calling upon people of all walks—individuals, families, students, teachers, environmentalists, leaders and more—to get outdoors and collect 1 million pieces of trash. 

“Cleaning up the waste and pollution that has contaminated our precious natural resources,” says National Wildlife Federation (NWF) CEO Collin O’Mara, “is critical to protecting the health of people and wildlife.” Founded in 1936, the NWF is the country's largest grassroots conservation organization with more than 6 million members and supporters, ranging from hunters and anglers to birders, hikers, campers and paddlers. “By taking collective action on such a grand scale,” he adds, “we can work collaboratively to give wildlife the opportunity to thrive in our rapidly changing world. We can’t wait to see the benefits that this challenge will have on our nation’s wildlife and the habitats they call home.” 

How To Join 

The program—whose goal is to inspire collective conservation action to clean up pollution and improve ecosystem health—is easy enough to participate in. Follow the three key steps: 

  • First, join the Challenge by signing up at
  • Next, get outside and start cleaning up waste and debris (and encourage others to do the same). 
  • Third, track your progress and measure your impact by downloading the Litterati app to report your results at

Public Lands caught up with the National Wildlife Federation’s Anna Vecchio to glean a little more insight behind its new planet-cleaning program.  

Young activists cleaning up trash in a forest

PUBLIC LANDS: Who came up with the idea and how?

ANNA VECCHIO: This idea came from the National Wildlife Federation’s Innovation and Growth team. We wanted to bring people together and inspire them to take simple conservation action to improve the health of our environment. While the primary goal of this challenge is the collection of 1 million pieces of trash from our nation’s lands and waterways, we also hope it empowers individuals with the belief that they can make a difference in the sustainability of our planet; raises awareness of the degradation of the environment and the threatened state of our ecosystems; fosters greater empathy for the environment, resulting in behavior changes that support the sustainability of our natural world; and supports the next generation of environmental stewards by contributing to the elevated environmental consciousness of our nation’s youth.  

Have you ever done anything like this before?

This is a completely new idea. We’ve never created a challenge quite like this before. 

How important is it to clean up the Earth and protect our outdoor spaces?

Whether it’s cleaning up litter or planting native plants or inspiring the next generation of conservation champions, the actions of individual students, gardeners, teachers, parents, and outdoor recreationists add up for the planet.

Why is JO a good partner for something like this?

The Challenge builds on Johnson Outdoors’ legacy of sustainability and commitment to leaving nature better than we found it. Johnson Outdoors believes that it’s their duty as outdoor adventurers to be good stewards of the lands and waterways. That’s why we're working together toward a common goal: protecting and preserving the wild spaces we love for generations to come.  

How long do you think it will take to collect 1 million pieces of trash—is that a big threshold to reach?

Our vision is that it will take one to three years to reach our goal of collecting 1 million pieces of trash, depending on health restrictions—it’s a very big threshold to reach. 

Do you hope it’ll instill an ethic for people to continue helping to preserve our planet?

Absolutely. It’s our hope that these actions not only add up across all of the participants, but also that it inspires people to go the next step and plant native plants, clean up their local parks and waterways, and encourage their leaders to act on climate and the wildlife crisis. 

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.