Outbound Collective logo

Restoring Nature. Restoring Lives.

Restore land through action, impact, and education.

By: TruFlask + Save to a List

Nicole and Justin Corey are regular people like all of us. They don't wear capes; they don't leap buildings in a single bound (at least not that we know of) - and yet what they've been able to create with Natural Restorations has been nothing short of heroic. It all started several years ago on a camping trip. Justin's best friend Derek had recently returned from a military tour overseas, and like many veterans, he was having a hard time assimilating back to civilian society. The outdoors had always been a source of respite, so Justin and Derek decided to take a weekend camping trip.

Justin vividly recalls how calm and at peace Derek was during this particular trip. At one point, during a hike where they had begun randomly picking up trash along the trail, Derek proclaimed “I wish I could do this all day!” It was the first time he had felt comfortable since returning home. It was at that moment, the seeds for what would eventually become Natural Restorations were planted. Tragically Derek would lose his battle with PTSD and TBI. Still, his memory and legacy would become the catalyst for the non-profit that Nicole and Justin officially launched in March of 2015. 

The decision to leave comfortable corporate jobs to run Natural Restorations full time was hard but never in question. The Corey's had found their purpose at the intersection of passion and conviction. Fast forward five years later, and Natural Restorations is fulfilling its mission to “Remove trash, graffiti, and anything foreign to the environment from outdoor recreation and wilderness areas while enriching the lives of Military Veterans and other community members.” To do this, they have a “Dedicated Restoration Team” that contracts veterans; they host reoccurring volunteer cleanups to educate the public throughout the calendar year. *

The Dedicated Restoration Team is a crew comprised of veterans.

The growth the organization has seen since its inception has been incredible. As Justin puts it, "I never thought I'd see eighty-year-olds walking alongside five-year-olds picking up trash." The best part is everything has been organic. Nicole and Justin are not marketers; they're not selling t-shirts, hats, or stickers to support a for-profit brand; they simply love nature and want everyone to experience the same joy and love that it has provided them.

Justin and Nicole addressing volunteers before a cleanup.

"It's all happened very organically; we just wanted everyone to have an opportunity to come out and see these areas. To help us educate the community," says Nicole. 

To that end, they are succeeding, to date, Natural Restorations has removed over 822,000 pounds of trash (411 tons) and over 31,552 square feet of graffiti. As the community continues to grow, Nicole and Justin hope to expand as well, increasing the Dedicated Team to over 20 veterans and expanding volunteer cleanups beyond Arizona within the next five years.

“Natural Restorations means everything to me," says Nicole. “It’s the vehicle we use to accomplish all of our passions. We get to have an impact on the environment and on the community.”

Watch the video below to learn more about Natural Restorations.

(* The "Dedicated Restoration Team," is a crew comprised of veterans that handles the more heavy-duty, labor-intensive cleanup projects of public lands and wild areas throughout the state of Arizona. - Volunteer cleanups throughout the calendar year help to educate the general-public on how to care for, cherish, and enjoy public lands.)

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


Chasing sunsets and silver linings in Marin

Brian Heifferon

Ski pregame: Early season preparation

Dani Reyes-Acosta

Inhale / Exhale

Kyle Kotajarvi

Pedaling Through North Carolina's Scenic Yadkin Valley

Erin McGrady