By Laura Ferreiro
My Morning Jacket has recorded a gorgeous and wistful cover of Woody Guthrie’s famous anthem, “This Land Is Your Land,” and the band wants people to take that message quite literally. The Kentucky indie rockers have teamed up with outdoor brand The North Face and the Department of the Interior on a campaign to encourage people to spend more time enjoying the outdoors and supporting the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC).
Its name might be a mouthful, but 21CSC’s mission is simple. It employs young people and veterans to protect, restore and enhance public lands across the United States.
Through the campaign, people can download a copy of My Morning Jacket’s version of “This Land Is Your Land” via iTunes, and the band is donating all of their proceeds to support the cause. What’s more, The North Face is donating $250,000 to 21CSC, and running an advertising spot featuring the tune and encouraging people to support the cause and get out into the great outdoors.
The spot shows world-class athletes including ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes, skier Hilaree O’Neill and climber Alex Honnold excelling at their sports at breathtaking locations across the country.
“If you can inspire people to love the outdoors, they will grow to care about their natural world, protecting and conserving the places that many of us know as our playgrounds,” says The North Face president Todd Spaletto. “We are extremely proud to raise awareness, support the 21CSC and motivate people to reimagine exploration in their own lives.”
My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James said it was an honor to cover Guthrie’s moving tune. “I was moved to tears last summer as I stood at the Guthrie Archives in Tulsa listening to him sing this song and singing along, while looking at his original hand-written copy of the lyrics, words that ring with such vital truth and speak so deeply to the soul of everyone who hears them,” he says. “We are so thrilled to sing these lyrics once again, and have it benefit an initiative we care so deeply about – protecting and preserving our country’s vital resources.”
The North Face’s “Your Land” campaign is the brand’s largest to date, and will encourage people to reimagine what it means to explore. One way it will do this is by whisking away random people in the country’s largest concrete jungle – New York City – and taking them on an outdoor adventure in secret locations where they’ll kayak, bike and do other outdoor activities. They’ll be documenting the adventures on social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter with a #seeforyourself tag, and encourage others to take photos of themselves at gorgeous outdoor destinations and share them with the same hashtag.