Environmental Stewardship Award Winners
- The City of Fort Collins Utilities and Natural Areas Departments, for their black-footed ferret reintroduction program at the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Meadow Springs Ranch. Black-footed ferrets were thought to be extinct until a small population was discovered in 1981. The City of Fort Collins worked in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department to plan and implement the reintroduction of captive-bred ferrets. The ferrets live in prairie dog colonies — which provide their main source of food. The long term impact will be to have self-sustaining black-footed ferret populations that positively contribute to the ecosystem of the area. These animals will be significant in the recovery of their species in the wild. A potential long term impact may include management of an ecosystem that produces wild young ferrets that can be transported to other sites with suitable habitat for additional re-introductions. As noted in the nomination for this award, environmental stewardship is an ethical approach and mentality to managing today's environmental resources in a manner that will provide future generations with a quality environment that includes a place for a wild population of one of the rarest mammals on Earth.
- James E. Gano, for his strong personal commitment and sustained effort training volunteers for conservation activities related to the Nature Conservancy's Phantom Canyon Preserve. Mr. Gano directs the Phantom Canyon Special Projects Crew, a group that he organized in 2003. A wide range of projects were implemented by the crew in 2014: a sustainable dirt road design and maintenance project to capture water and minimized erosion; leading nature hikes on the Preserve; repair and improvement of structures on the Preserve, and training interns. The skills necessary to address these tasks include planning, teaching, motivation, and at times hard physical labor. These activities are a great benefit to the Nature Conservancy in their efforts to manage the Phantom Canyon Preserve. In addition to his work related to Phantom Canyon; Mr. Gano participates in up to six patrols each year on national forest lands for the U.S. Forest Service through the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers. James Gano is a committed leader with the ability to draw others into the work and thereby create a sustainable effort to preserve the environment beyond the present.
- The Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed, for their effective efforts to improve and maintain the ecological health of the Poudre River Watershed through community collaboration. Begun initially as an informal network following the Hewlett Gulch and High Park fires in the summer of 2012, initial activities focused on the identification of restoration needs, finding funding, training volunteers, and completing the first projects. Based on the success of those early efforts, the group made the transition to a formal non-profit; the Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed. The Coalition brings together a wide range of stakeholders to plan and implement watershed activities in order to reduce the risk of future catastrophic wildfires and to address other important watershed needs. A diverse group of stakeholders including natural resource professionals, scientist, landowners, and government agency representatives have come together in the spirit of cooperation and community benefit. Their efforts continue to provide important resources for fundraising, planning, technical assistance, training and volunteers. As noted in the nomination for this award, the Coalition is a crystallization of the shared community spirit present in Larimer County. And for full disclosure, Larimer County government is a voting member of the coalition.
- Sarah Bayer, for her leadership and guidance on the High Park Fire Research and Recovery Project, a Fort Collins Polaris Expeditionary Learning School high school student project. The students are studying fire ecology and burned area restoration and this includes long-term monitoring of fire effects at the Mariah Tree Farm in Redstone Canyon, which was heavily impacted by the High Park Fire. The students also conducted a restoration project on the property in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Colorado State Forest Service and the Larimer County Weed District. In addition, the students had classroom study which included professional CSU mentors. The result is a real and valuable research project carried out at the high school level. Planning and organizing a school-year long project of this nature requires exceptional dedication and Sara Bayer is an exceptional teacher who provides the kind of guidance and caring that is needed to motivate students to believe in themselves and their abilities.
- Troy Seaworth, for his leadership in implementing and demonstrating conservation practices on over 1,000 acres of irrigated cropland north of Wellington. Those practices include a change from conventional moldboard plowing to strip tillage which leaves more crop residue on the soil surface thus reducing erosion. The practice also allows Mr. Seaworth to reduce fuel, irrigation water, nutrient and pesticide input. Other practices Mr. Seaworth has employed are: the use of center pivot irrigation technology combined with GPS; soil mapping; and, soil moisture monitors for precise irrigation control. Mr. Seaworth has also been a leader in holding field days to discuss and demonstrate his operation with other farmers, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials, Growers Associations, tillage manufactures and Land Grant University Extension agents and researchers. Troy Seaworth has demonstrated that individual commitment to land stewardship, combined with technical know-how and a willingness to communicate with others has the potential to enhance environmental stewardship on important agricultural lands.
- Gallegos Sanitation, Inc. for their program Gallegos Sustainable Innovations (GSI). Gallegos Sanitation went above and beyond the usual business model to support sustainable practices in the area of solid waste management. Their program provides initiatives such as full-service yard waste management and offers consultation to businesses on recycling and waste diversion opportunities. GSI dedicated staff members visit areas schools to educate on recycling, composting and waste diversion. They also assist with and sometimes sponsor local events aimed at zero or low-waste events. The Gallegos Sustainable Innovations program demonstrates that environmental stewardship in the waste management industry sometimes involves activities that might be seen as counter to the traditional role of collecting solid waste from customers. Seen in a larger context, it is clear that these sustainable practices are a benefit to the company and the community they serve.
- James B Shaklee, a leader on the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers weed crew, was nominated by that organization for his dedication and effectiveness. Shaklee's education on weeds and the methods for their control began on his own property in Rist Canyon. He brought that knowledge and persistence to the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers in 2006. The weed crew works to prevent the spread of invasive, noxious weeds along hiking trails on US Forest Service lands, Wilderness areas in the Poudre and Big Thompson Canyons, and, the Red Feather Lakes area. Each year Jim Shaklee provides training to new and returning members on the identification and control of weeds. He also provides an annual three-hour class for the public on noxious weeds that occur in Larimer County. In return, class attendees are asked to sign up for one weed pulling event. In the five years that the weed crew has been actively pulling musk thistle at the North Fork trailhead at Glen Haven, the density of this weed has been reduced from the predominant species to an occasional plant. Jim Shaklee's efforts show that a knowledgeable approach combined with commitment and energy can benefit our public lands and educate many people along the way.
- Richard L Eversole, for his long-term efforts at forest and wildlife habitat improvement on his 165 acres of forested land in the Cherokee Park area in northern Larimer County. Working in cooperation with the Colorado State Forest Tree Farm Program, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife Northern Larimer County Habitat Program, Mr. Eversole has dedicated much of his time to labor-intensive activities such as removing mistletoe and pine beetle infested trees, weed control, and wildlife habitat restoration. The reviewers felt that this nomination described an unusual level of commitment and work for such a large property. It shows that land stewardship on forested property impacted by issues such as pine beetle requires considerable commitment, knowledge, and energy. This Environmental Stewardship award recognizes these efforts and the example they set for other landowners.
- Redstone Canyon Mitigators, for their demonstrated effectiveness at fire mitigation ahead of the High Park Fire. Last year the County recognized the Redstone Canyon Mitigators for their high level of community participation in working together on a project aimed at forest health and wildfire management. This year it is appropriate to honor the success of that project, and the positive example it sets for other communities in wildfire hazard areas. In their letter of support, the Poudre Fire Authority noted that the fuels reduction work along Roan Mountain Road in Redstone Canyon provided a safer environment for burnout operations and structure protection, and was instrumental in enabling firefighting resources to keep the High Park Fire from spreading south of Roan Mountain Road. The Colorado State Forest Service also supported this nomination, and noted that the net result of the Mitigatorsí work was a significant reduction in private and public property damage. This community-led project provides an example of the success that dedicated volunteers can achieve through common effort.
- Fred Allen, for his long-term dedication and accomplishment involving two volunteer organizations that support National Forest Service lands. Those organizations are the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers, and the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest and Pawnee National Grassland Foundation. Fred has served as member and chair of both groups, and led efforts to secure major partners and grants to continue their conservation work with the US Forest Service. In their letter of nomination, the Canyon Lakes Ranger District noted that Fredís recruitment efforts this year have been instrumental in getting volunteers from local businesses and organizations for three major stabilization projects on trails directly impacted by the High Park Fire. Those efforts resulted in reopening several Poudre Canyon trails shortly after the fire. Through his service as a motivator and fundraiser, Fred Allen has demonstrated that individual efforts can be instrumental in the success of larger group efforts aimed at conservation and environmental stewardship.
- The Environmental Learning Center, for providing important natural resource education catered to K-12 students. The Environmental Learning Center, or ELC, is part of Colorado State Universityís Warner College of Natural Resources. Educational programs at the Centerís 80 acre preserve located on the Poudre River offer students firsthand experience with environmental topics ranging from wildlife, invertebrate biology, and water quality to watershed science. The program is an invaluable aid to teachers who rely on the Center as a field-based environmental education resource that can help make classroom lessons real and relevant. Because of its link to the world class research and programs at the Warner College of Natural Resources, the Environmental Learning Center introduces youth from our community to the highest quality science available. The ELC is a model for how a large organization can reach out and engage with community members in a positive and beneficial way.
- The Fort Collins Bicycle Co-op, for their comprehensive actions designed to make bicycles and bicycle riders sustainable. These efforts include bicycle safety education for children, such as the bike rodeo and helmet distribution held in conjunction with the Salud Family Clinic's annual block party last summer. The Co-op also works to repair bikes that may be neglected, damaged or worn in order to keep them on the streets. Many are returned locally to our community, and this year 450 refurbished bikes were shipped to Ghana as part of the village bicycle project. The Co-op works with the Fort Collins Police Department to collect bikes that are found and abandoned and ultimately can release unclaimed bikes back into the community. Of course some bicycles ultimately reach the end of their useable life. These are dismantled for recycling. In the past two years more than 10 tons of steel, a ton of aluminum, and 3/4 ton of rubber have been recycled through the Co-op and its partners. The Fort Collins Bicycle Co-op embraces the principle of sustainability and provides an important example for our community.
- RB + B Architects, for their Sustainability Management System. RB + B Architects have a reputation of helping their clients design and use efficient sustainable buildings. A familiar local example is the Kinard Junior High School in Fort Collins. The Sustainability Management System focuses that effort inward, and is a roadmap for the firm to achieve corporate sustainability. RB + B worked with the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University to develop a comprehensive plan and framework to guide the practices of their organization. Principle elements of the plan relate to carbon emissions, health and well being, waste reduction, sustainable materials, and culture and community. The plan provides opportunities for involvement by all staff members, sets measurable goals, and provides guidance for tracking progress. RB + B Architects have demonstrated a positive example by linking business practices with internal culture for maintaining environmental stewardship.
- Redstone Mitigators, for their example of how a community can work together to achieve common forest management and wildfire safety goals. A group of residents in Redstone Canyon obtained a series of grants with the Colorado State Forest Service to assist with forest management. Each grant of assistance requires a 100% match in labor from the property owners. With guidance from a comprehensive management plan, clearing work involves a crew of 4-8 residents that work every Saturday from November to February to cut down and stack trees slated for removal. The grant funds are spent in the spring when a contractor with heavy equipment chips the wood waste onsite. This core group of mitigators coordinates with the Poudre Fire Authority and Larimer County Emergency Services on planning, training, and implementation. This project is an example of how a small, dedicated group of rural residents can achieve success on a scale much larger than individuals working alone. The end result is a safer more sustainable community forged through partnerships and cooperation.
- The Growing Project, for their efforts to connect community members to each other, their food, and their land through urban agriculture and community gardening. Over the past four years the Project has implemented a series of projects ranging from community gardens that provide space, training, tools and food for those involved, to a Glean Team that cooperates with farmers to harvest food that might otherwise be wasted for delivery to the Food Bank of Larimer County. A program for youth called Garden Time is conducted in cooperation with a residential foster care facility and detention center to grow, harvest and even market locally grown food. The Growing Project has strived to continually expand its emphasis and impact, and thereby demonstrate the benefits that a committed group of people can achieve. The achievements of this grass-roots group can be measured on many levels, including nutrition, food security, community development, youth outreach, and environmental stewardship.
- Irene Little, for her sustained efforts on behalf of recycling opportunities in the Estes Park area. As Chairperson for the League of Women Voters community recycling committee in Estes Park, Irene has worked tirelessly and effectively on a number of projects, including the introduction of cardboard recycling for residents and businesses, the promotion of reusable shopping bags, and a community recycling program in Bond Park. These projects required a combination of commitment and vision, great communication skills, and persistence. Irene has effectively coordinated with county and town officials, the Park Service, private waste haulers, and local citizens and business owners. The nomination received by the County probably said this best: andquot;Environmental stewards come in many sizes and shapes. In Estes Park it comes in a little, silver haired bomb shell named Irene Littleandquot;.
- Big Thompson Elementary School of Nature and Science, for their innovative educational approach involving students, teachers and community partners in a comprehensive program spanning the elementary curriculum which creates opportunities for learning and action. For example, the 3rd grade Green Team students are responsible for sorting and managing materials collected for the recycling program. The 5th grade Worm Wranglers monitor and promote a worm composting project for cafeteria waste. Together these two programs have reduced cafeteria waste by over 40%. An important benefit to the students continues to be the partnerships with area agencies.
- Wes Rutt, for his tireless efforts to empower landowners to manage their forested property to counter the effects of mountain pine beetles. Through Beetle Busters, Mr. Rutt is leading a major effort to help teach people how to treat infected trees on their property. Volunteers trained through the Beetle Busters are available to help landowners with management efforts, accomplished through site visits, identification assistance, flagging of beetle-infested trees, and providing accurate information on removal and treatment of infested trees. The pine beetle epidemic affects public and private lands and is unprecedented in scale. It is easy for a private landowner to give up in the face of such destruction. Wes Rutt and the Beetle Busters provide help to these landowners by empowering them with the technical support and knowledge they need to take action.
- EnergyLogic, for their serious and sustained efforts to promote energy efficient new homes. EnergyLogic provides energy auditing and rating services to help builders construct and certify homes under the EPA's Energy Star program. Through their business model, the company has provided services to over 100 home builders and trained over 400 energy raters and auditors. This effort greatly increases the impact that one company can make for energy conservation. Homes built to Energy Star standards are more comfortable and provide a healthier indoor environment, plus they ensure long-term savings on energy bills while protecting the environment. EnergyLogic has helped improve over 10,000 new homes in Colorado. They have also helped to raise the knowledge and skill of home builders who build new houses.
- Rocky Mountain Raptor Program, for their commitment to community education about raptors and their importance in the natural environment. The raptor program has been rescuing and rehabilitating sick, injured and orphaned raptors in Colorado since 1979. The genius of the program is that they fully understand the inspirational value of these magnificent birds. Last year the Rocky Mountain Raptor program provided 130 presentations to 51 schools, 16 children's organizations, and 63 various adult and family groups. These presentations allowed more than 11,000 audience members to gain knowledge about raptors and conservation. In addition, program staff and volunteers host booths at community events like New West Fest in Fort Collins. Our modern lifestyle means that many people to not have an opportunity to experience raptors in the wild. The Rocky Mountain Raptor program brings an important and inspirational piece of our natural environment to children and adults throughout the region.
- National Center for Craftsmanship, for their DeConstruct training program. The National Center for Craftsmanship is a Fort Collins based non-profit organization founded in 2006 with the goal of preserving and enhancing quality craftsmanship. The DeConstruct training program is an integral part of the Center. Existing buildings that are slated to be torn down are utilized in a unique training program that involves educators, trainers, private contractors and students. Buildings are carefully dismantled and the materials are salvaged, sold or recycled. To date, the projects have diverted hundreds of tons of materials from landfills. Students benefit by learning construction and conservation techniques through the deconstruction process. Property owners benefit because they are able to credit the reduction of waste for their new construction project under the United States Green Building Council's LEED certification program. And our community benefits not only from the reduced landfill burden, but also from the energy and material savings that are achieved through saving useable materials.
- Clean Air Lawn Care, for their strong commitment to protect air quality. Clean Air Lawn Care was started in Fort Collins by Kelly Giard in 2006, and has since grown to include 27 locations. Clean Air Lawn Care is a lawn maintenance business that uses clean electric and Biodiesel powered equipment.
- Jean Weaver, for her leadership and support of recycling. Ms. Weaver is known as the Queen of Recycling in the Estes Valley. Her efforts began in the early 1970's with newspaper drives to support the Estes Park Chorale.
- K-Lynn Cameron, for her contributions to the conservation of open space and the addition of recreation opportunities in Larimer County and the State. As a citizen, K-Lynn was instrumental getting petitions signed to place four citizen sales tax initiatives on the ballot, and then worked tirelessly on the campaigns to get the sales taxes passed by voters to fund the Larimer County Open Lands Program and Fort Collins Natural Areas Program. She was the first manager of the Larimer County Open Lands Program and served for 13 years until her retirement in June.
- Poudre Wilderness Volunteers, for their long-term dedication to assist the Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service in managing and protecting wilderness and back-country areas. Poudre Wilderness Volunteers recruit and train citizen volunteers to serve as wilderness rangers and hosts for the purpose of educating the public and assisting with land preservation.
- Big Thompson Watershed Forumandrsquo;s Volunteer Monitoring Program, for their collaboration with community volunteers to collect water samples. The Big Thompson Watershed is crucial for providing water for drinking, agriculture, recreation and natural habitat. Water samples collected as a result of this program allow the Forum to compare sample results with water quality standards and to identify water quality trends within the watershed. The volunteer monitoring program also increases community awareness and understanding of watershed issues and the importance of good stewardship. The result is an effective blend of science and community involvement that benefits the Big Thompson River.
- FortZED Task Group of UniverCity Connections, for their success in organizing a diverse group of public and private entities around the goal of creating a net zero energy district. The goal of FortZED is to create a district where all of the energy used is created locally via sustainable non-polluting sources such as wind and solar that provide for long term stewardship of the environment by reducing carbon emissions produced through traditional energy production. A combination of technology, education, financing and most of all commitment will be needed in order to achieve success. While the complexity of the work ahead should not be underestimated, the Task Group represents unprecedented grassroots community collaboration aimed at one of the most important issues of our time.
- Jim Reidhead, for an important body of work that includes both environmental and historic preservation. Jim was instrumental in the creation of the 1,600 acre Phantom Canyon under the Nature Conservancy. That model for success was expanded during his tenure as director of the Countyandrsquo;s Rural Land Use Center. Under that program more than 11,000 acres have been protected using voluntary agreements with landowners who develop a small portion of their property in exchange for preserving large tracts of valuable natural resources and agricultural lands. The skills necessary to accomplish these tasks include technical knowledge about environmental values, an understanding of legal conservation practices, and exceptional personal skills to develop good relations with land owners. Jim also has a record of accomplishment in renovation and historic preservation efforts in Old Town Fort Collins. The results of Jimandrsquo;s dedication and skill will benefit the community far into the future.
- Darlene Halvorsen, for her work with River Watch at Loveland High School. Science teacher Darlene Halvorsen coordinates the activities of the River Watch club. Weekly meetings center on monitoring the biological, chemical and physical health of the Big Thompson Watershed. The River Watch students perform monthly water analyses at designated river locations and share that information with the Colorado Division of Wildlife. They also organize river cleanup events and provide educational presentations. The nomination received for this award notes that andldquo;Mrs. Halvorsen has been the driving force behind River Watch at the school for 9 years. Her passion for preserving the environment and teaching others truly sets her apartandrdquo;.
- Legacy Land Trust, for their efforts that have resulted in the conservation of over 35,000 acres of important lands since the Trustandrsquo;s founding in 1993. The Legacy Land Trust is a non-profit organization which works with local land owners, the community, and local government to conserve important wildlife habitat, farm and ranch lands and scenic areas in Larimer, Weld and Jackson Counties. All of the conservation easements held by the trust were negotiated as a result of voluntary agreements with willing landowners. The emphasis is on maintaining a trust and mutual dialogue. The Legacy Land Trust has demonstrated that they have the technical, management and personal skills necessary to partner with our region on these important conservation projects.
- Anita Comer from Waste-Not Recycling, for her leadership in all aspects of solid waste recycling. Under Anita Comer's leadership, Waste-Not has grown from providing volunteer-based curbside recycling programs to offering complete recycling services to hundreds of businesses, schools and public entities. Services include recycling of construction and demolition wastes, electronics waste recycling, recycling programs in schools, and help with zero waste events. Waste-Not staff provides waste audits to determine the current status of a business's waste, and designs recycling services tailored to those needs. These services include everything from recycling containers to education and training for client needs. Anita and her staff have the reputation as problem solvers when it comes to finding solutions for recycling or reusing all manner of wastes. The result is a significant reduction of materials going to the landfill and a more sustainable community.
- Ben Delatour Scout Ranch, for their stewardship program which has been active for more than fifteen years to protect and improve the natural resources on the ranch property. The stewardship program is lead by volunteers and accomplished through numerous work projects. For example, a conservation committee made up of volunteers, many of whom are professional natural resource managers, developed both a forest stewardship plan and a grazing plan for the property. The ongoing implementation of these plans has improved the forest health and grazing resources. Ben Delatour Scout Ranch has also developed effective partnerships related to their stewardship activities including students from Colorado State University and Front Range Community College. The stewardship activities at Ben Delatour serve as an example for other public and private institutions that manage large tracts of land in Larimer County.
- Loveland Youth Gardeners, for their important efforts to cultivate skills, stewardship and service in young people through sustainable gardening. A variety of programs are offered each year to serve Loveland area youth. In conjunction with gardening skills, the students learn important job and life skills such as team work, leadership, public speaking and the importance of service to the community. In addition to the youth gardening, other programs include andquot;Plant a Row for the Hungryandquot; and andquot;Leaf Outandquot;. In the Leaf Out program, students volunteer to organize a variety of service projects in the community, such as landscaping at a local middle school, assisting with gardening at the Benson Park Sculpture Garden, teaching younger children about gardening, and landscape design, planting and maintenance for local nonprofit agencies.
- Rose Watson, for her commitment, dedication and skill as education coordinator for the Garbage Garage Education Center. Rose hosts classes for children ages 5 and up to teach them about solid waste and the importance of reducing and recycling waste. Both parents and coworkers report that the result is motivated children that challenge their families to lower the amount of waste they set out on the curb each week. Through Rose's leadership, classes designed for families have recently been added for the fall and winter. Rose is able to be effective because she brings enthusiasm, knowledge and hard work to her efforts, plus a willingness to be such an important leader for the Garbage Garage Education Center.
- Platte River Power Authority, for their commitment to stewardship activities as demonstrated in many actions and projects related to their core service of power generation. Environmental accomplishments include the voluntary installation of a new air combustion system at the Platte River Rawhide Energy Station that resulted in a 63 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions, and a 16 percent reduction in both sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions. Other activities include wind energy generated from Platte River's Medicine Bow Wind Project, customer conservation assistance programs, reducing employee gasoline consumption through the purchase of hybrid vehicles and participation in the Smart Trips VanGo program, and programs to foster wildlife on the property surrounding the Rawhide Energy Station. Major utilities such as Platte River Power Authority have a unique opportunity to demonstrate environmental stewardship by going above and beyond regulatory requirements.
- The Roberts Ranch: for granting conservation easements on its entire 16,500 acres. The Roberts family has been involved in ranching in the Livermore area since 1874, and their ranch has a Centennial Ranch designation. This is a working ranch that still supports traditional Hereford cattle ranching. It also provides exceptional open vistas and scenery including red bluff landmarks such as Steamboat Rock and Tug Rock. The Ranch is part of the Laramie Foothills Mountains to Plains Project, a partnership for conservation that includes private landowners, Larimer County Open Lands Program, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program, Legacy Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy. The Roberts Ranch lies in the very heart of the project. The Roberts have put their passion for preservation of the land above considerations of economic gain. The result is a permanent legacy that benefits all the Citizens of Larimer County and serves as an example for the conservation of private working farms and ranches.
- Glacier View Meadows Ecology Committee: for their educational efforts related to sustaining the long-term well being of the natural habitat in the Glacier View Meadows residential community. Glacier View Meadows is located in the mountains west of Livermore and east of Red Feather Lakes. The Ecology Committee has used several educational procedures to help property owners learn how they can live in and interact with the surrounding environment in a manner that does not significantly alter or degrade the environment. The Ecology Committee has: constructed and now maintains a demonstration garden to show residents how to select and care for plantings that are appropriate for the area; they have constructed a self-guided nature trail to acquaint residents with many of the important ecological features of the habitat in which they live; they have produced educational articles about issues such as noxious weeds, pine beetle and mistletoe management; and, they have encouraged fire-wise safety practices. The efforts of the Ecology Committee have been ongoing for 10 years.
- Envirofit International's Two-Stroke Engine Retrofit Kit: for their partnerships at the local and international level to reduce air emissions from two-cycle motorcycle engines. The original technology grew from a Clean Snowmobile Competition by Colorado State University (CSU) students to a full blown operating corporation that has the backing of the Philippine government. Envirofit developed from research work undertaken at the CSU Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory. This locally produced technology has important practical applications for developing nations like the Philippines where serious air pollution from two-cycle engines is occurring. We are very proud that this synthesis of intelligence, technology, and business springs from our County.
- Timnath Education and Charitable Association's Timnath Community Garden: for their efforts to preserve the rural and gardening heritage of Timnath. This 2.5 acre garden is in the heart of town. During this first year of operation, it helped to promote a sense of community by bringing together groups and individuals to learn about organic gardening. Two of the garden plots were planted by Traut Core Knowledge School kindergarteners, who later harvested tomatoes, peppers and cilantro to make fresh salsa. Over 550 pounds of produce from the garden were donated to the Larimer County Food Bank. The garden has brought together community members, educated people, created beauty, and fed people in need.
- The Environmental Club and Rocky Mountain High School and sponsor Dave Swartz, for their sustained stewardship activities. The club coordinated a school wide recycling program for the past 15 years. Members collect, consolidate and prepare recyclables on a weekly basis for pickup by a recycling vendor. During the past year, the school recycled over 19,000 pounds of paper, as well as metal cans, plastic and glass bottles, batteries and printer cartridges.
- Dr. Robert Streeter, Wildlife Commons Committee Chair of the Trappers Point Homeowners Association, for conservation activities on the Association's eight acre open space parcel. Dr. Streeter led the effort to transform a parcel of reverted farmland covered with weeds to a seasonal wetland surrounded by a mosaic of native grasses, wildflowers and shrubs. The revegetation plan was designed to attract breeding and migrating birds to a semblance of native prairie that was no longer present in the surrounding farmlands and developments. Management of the area, especially weed control, will be an ongoing homeowner's association responsibility.
- The Town of Estes Park and their Knolls-Willows Conservation Project, for their conservation activities on this strategic property. The Knoll-Willows properties include 20 acres of contiguous natural open space located in Estes Park between the Highway 34 bypass, MacGregor Avenue, and the downtown. It contains a number of important natural features. These include jagged rock cliffs, ponderosa pine forest, and a riparian zone with wetland and willows. Cultural features include a 1904 historic stone ruin on a promontory overlooking downtown Estes Park, and a 1908 cabin listed on the State Register of Historic Properties. A master plan for managing the property was developed by an eleven-member Citizens Advisory Council.
- Gary Householter and his dog Timber, for a unique human-canine relationship. Timber has been taught to retrieve litter and trash, and the pair has faithfully worked together on daily walks over the past 5 years. People are amazed at Timber's performance as he goes deep into the bush, into a river, or over obstacles to pick up what others have carelessly discarded. Gary bags the trash and deposits it in his own dumpster for proper disposal. The stewardship ethic need not always be technical in nature. Personal commitment and leading by example can achieve results and motivate others to act is similar ways. Gary and Timber live in the Estes park area.
- Vicky Jordan, for environmental education activities at Wellington Jr. High School. Vicky teaches 8th grade science, and was nominated for a stewardship award because of her dedication and creativity in making important concepts about nature's cycles relevant to students. Students review the water cycle by creating a story, song or cartoon that depicts the flow of water through different locations on earth. The concepts become more complex as the class studies the carbon/oxygen cycle, and finally the nitrogen cycle. Field studies include observations at a recycling center, sewage treatment plant and dairy. The result is a learning experience that is part of the culture at Wellington Jr. High, and shows students how they can make a difference and become environmental stewards themselves.
- Jon and Susanne Stephens, for land stewardship activities on their Rocky Mountain Lazy J Bar S Ranch. The Ranch is located at the upper end of Ryan's gulch in southwest Loveland. The Stephens provided a conservation easement for the Ranch in 2002 which will permanently preserve 327 acres, balancing the historic agricultural operation with protection of important wildlife and plant habitat. Examples of wildlife enhancement including the planting of over 2,800 berry-producing trees and shrubs in buffer areas between fields, establishment of non-traditional slash piles to attract burrowing wildlife such as the eastern cottontail, and modification of their tractor with an attachment to flush out birds while cutting hay. The Ranch is an excellent example of preservation of functional open space adjacent to an urban area.
- Lafarge Northern Division, for commitment to citizen outreach in conjunction with their Kyger sand and gravel operation. The Kyger pit is located adjacent to a rapidly growing urban area near Windsor. The Kyger-Lafarge neighborhood committee was formed to identify community concerns and develop solutions before issues become serious problems. Issues such as noise and truck traffic are often very difficult to address in areas where gravel mining and residential development are in close proximity. Examples of measures developed to lower the potential impacts in this case include vegetative buffers, and berms to conceal operations from the surrounding neighbors, and the use of electric pumps instead of the more common diesel generators to reduce noise levels. This sand and gravel operation will ultimately become a landscaped water storage reservoir.
- Poudre School District, for constructing the Zach and Bacon Elementary Schools in Fort Collins as the state's first high performance, sustainable schools. The schools feature energy efficient design, the use of recycled building materials, and andquot;learning wallsandquot; through which students and others can actually view the buildings' internal systems. Both schools also subscribe to the Fort Collins Utilities' wind power program.
- Josie Plaut, for her work as operations manager at the High Plains Environmental Center in Loveland, where she showed dedication and enthusiasm in her quest to protect and enhance 275 acres, including wetlands, former agricultural land and a reservoir.
- Racinda Godbold, Katrina Korzyniowski, Kim Krenning and Nancy Kreider, kindergarten teachers at Dunn and McGraw IB World Schools, Fort Collins, for collaborating together to write, implement and revise a unit planner entitled, andquot;Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.andquot; The planner has become an integral part of the kindergarten International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program curriculum at the Dunn and McGraw schools.
- MacGregor Ranch, Estes Park, for its dedication to long-term research on wildlife and vegetation management in a ranch setting, as well as providing educational opportunities to more than 3,000 students and teachers annually. The ranch serves as a working model of sustainable agriculture and conservation stewardship
- Mark Easter and the Resource Use Audit Committee of the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL) at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, for their research into the NREL's resource use and environmental impacts. Their final report includes suggestions, many of which have been implemented, on how to minimize the lab's andquot;environmental footprint.andquot; The report also describes the methods they used to quantify their resource use and impacts, so that other entities can follow suit.
- Gina Harvey, for her work as a wildlife rehabilitator. Deer, elk and bighorn sheep are cared for in this operation, which provides safe, professional licensed care for injured or orphaned wildlife. The Colorado Division of Wildlife relies on volunteer facilities for this important function.
- Nancy and George Wallace, for their Wallace Family Environmental Stewardship Activities. Since 1993 they have worked tirelessly creating a working model of farming and environmental compatibility on their farm north of Fort Collins. In addition to expected crops and livestock, they have cultivated a large number of native plants, and created valuable wildlife habitat and corridors. Approximately 25% of the farm is uncultivated and managed for wildlife habitat. Over the years, the Wallaces have freely shared their knowledge and experience with community members and CSU students.
- Ken and Steve DeLine, for their DeLine Environmental Stewardship Activities. The Northeast Neighborhood Coalition nominated the DeLines for their commitment to preserving a working agricultural landscape, ensuring open spaces, protecting wildlife habitat, and maintaining the rural character of Larimer County while at the same time pursuing a limited amount of residential development. The DeLines have accomplished this, the nominators write, by working with the county's Rural Land Use Center in the development of several properties northeast of Fort Collins. The projects include the Westview and Cottonwood Farms Rural Land Use Projects and the Douglas road Farms Exemption. Each provides new clustered rural residential lots while preserving the majority of the property in working agriculture.
- Trees, Water andamp; People, for development of the Larimer County Wetland Education andamp; Enhancement Program. The goals of this program are to facilitate on-site wetland education with schools, community groups and youth organizations. The EAB noted that projects such as the Dragon's Lair Wetland (one of this group's programs) combine educational, youth-oriented emphasis, with the very tangible community benefit of sustaining urban wetlands.
- Volunteers of the Larimer County Master Gardener Program, for their efforts over 25 years at improving the horticultural environment of Larimer County. The program currently involves 86 volunteers, two of whom have been active for 20+ years. The EAB recommended the Larimer County Master Gardener Volunteers, in part, because of their long-term success in assisting thousands of people in maintaining and enhancing their piece of the natural environment through sound horticultural practices.
- Stan Everitt, for his work with Larimer County and the City of Fort Collins in the development of the Fossil Lake Planned Unit Development in advance of passage of the Fossil Creek Special Area Plan. The Planned Unit Development represents a voluntary integration of important wildlife protection strategies, transfer of development units, and residual lands management provisions. The EAB felt it was appropriate to recognize Mr. Everitt specifically for his cooperation with Larimer County and the City of Ft. Collins in creation of the Fossil Creek Reservoir Area Plan, the county's pilot program for the implementation of TDUs.
- Poudre School District River Watch Teachers and Students, for ongoing efforts to monitor local water quality by collecting and testing water samples on the Poudre River and Spring Creek. This effort involves teachers and students from Rocky Mountain High School, Poudre High School and Blevins Junior High and represents over 4,000 hours of volunteer time in the past 7 years. The data becomes part of a statewide water quality database maintained by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. This project results in creation of a useful database, education of students about water quality issues, and creation of lasting partnerships between teachers, students, and community members.
- Jon Anderson, for his commitment to composting and community education about its benefits. Jon Anderson lectures to public school classrooms and community groups about vermiculture composting using worms and worm castings. He has developed a andquot;Worm Mobileandquot; (an old ambulance) and demonstration composting bins as visual tools to engage public interest. Through his efforts, community members learn important principles about solid waste reduction, soil amendment and self-sufficiency.
- New Belgium Brewing Company, for their commitment to purchase 100% of their electric power needs for the next 10 years from wind turbine generation. Through a unanimous vote of employees for wind power, the costs of doing business will increase and employee bonuses will lowered. However, the decision will result in a significant community benefit due to reduced air pollution by decreasing demand on fossil fuel generation. It is estimated that the wind power used by New Belgium Brewing Company will reduce the amount of coal burned by more than 900 tons per year, eliminate more than 4 million pounds or carbon dioxide emissions annually, and reduce sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions. Had these gasses been produced, they would have contributed to air pollution and global warming.
- Help Preserve Open Spaces, for their tremendous efforts in preserving open spaces, natural areas, wildlife habitat, parks and trails through out the county. This volunteer countywide citizens group organized a successful grassroots petition drive and political campaign that resulted in a 15-year extension of the current open spaces sales tax in the county. Sixty percent of voters said 'yes' to the initiative. The efforts of the Help Preserve Open Spaces Citizens Committee will leave a lasting legacy for Larimer County.
- Harris Bilingual Elementary School, for the Harris Schoolyard Project, a playground with an environmental theme designed to help teach environmental ethics and stewardship.
- Holnam Inc., for many projects that reduce the amount of pollution generated or emitted from the cement plant.
- Fort Collins Board of Realtors, for corporate donorship to the Larimer Land Trust with a 5-year contribution of $7500 per year.
- Howard Alden, for his organization of the annual Poudre Riverfest and other efforts to preserve the Poudre River.
- Houska Automotive, for its ongoing efforts regarding pollution prevention in an automotive repair shop and for community involvement including participation in the Larimer County Pollution Prevention Advisory Group and regional workshops to provide training to other shops.
- Friends of the Poudre, for ongoing activities regarding protection of the Poudre River. Activities over the past year include participation in the northern Colorado GOCO Legacy Grant, the 11th Poudre River Festival, participation in three water forums, and community education projects.
- Larry Gamble and the National Park Service, for their work with neighboring landowners to develop strategies for protecting natural and cultural values using citizen work groups and computer-generated mapping data in a project called the Related Lands Evaluation.
- Steve Hird, for his donation of $15,000 for reclamation activities of two roadcut scars crossing ridgeline property recently purchased by the Larimer County Parks and Open Lands Department.
- Poudre Wilderness Volunteers, for the education and trail maintenance efforts of this volunteer ranger program.
- Committee for the Poudre-Big Thompson Rivers Legacy Project, for environmental protection and enhancement.
- Poudre School District, for its many environmental programs.
- Merrill R. Kaufman (Fort Collins), for saving his cabin during a fire by creating a 'defensible space.'
- Doug Gladwin, Mike Sheahan, Jeff Lakely, Robert Wilkinson, for their efforts to transform the W.R.E.N. gravel mine into a wildlife habitat.
Background Image: Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson
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