In its 20th year of grant-making, the Environment Foundation continues to support organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley that are doing big things for the environment. This fall, the Foundation awarded more than $90,000 to 14 nonprofits in the valley, with the largest donations dedicated to renewable energy legislation, public land defense, and the sustainability of high-use wilderness areas. Other grants helped to fund environmental stewardship programs, educational opportunities for youth, and financial investment in community farmers and local food entrepreneurs.

Some other notable grants helped to fund environmental stewardship opportunities for youth and financial investment in community farmers and local food entrepreneurs.

Wilderness Workshop

Since 1967, Wilderness Workshop has been protecting and conserving the natural resources and wilderness areas of Western Colorado. A grant of $10,000 will defend public lands that are threatened by oil and gas exploration. By challenging legislation and getting involved with relevant federal agencies, Wilderness Workshop is playing a major role in defending the Thompson Divide and other vulnerable areas like it.

“We’ve recently filed several court challenges against the Bureau of Land Management for its failure to consider the climate impacts of their fossil-fuel exploitation programs,” writes executive director Sloan Shoemaker. “This grant allows us to do our part to keep dirty fuels in the ground.”

Stewardship and Trail Conservation

This fall, board members dedicated a number of grants to promoting environmental stewardship and preserving the natural beauty of our trails and public lands.
The Environment Foundation donated $2,000 to the Independence Pass Foundation for their Young Stewards Program. This past summer, students from Aspen Middle School took part in this program by planting trees along the highway (pictured).

“For almost three decades, the Independence Pass Foundation has worked with kids planting trees, removing metal debris from wilderness areas, and performing other service projects on the Pass,” writes Independence Pass Foundation’s executive director Karin Teague. “Our goal is two-fold: to restore and protect the magnificent Independence Pass landscape for future generations, and to inspire the next generation of stewards through meaningful, tangible service work.”
Environment Foundation Fall 2017 Grants Update
Environment Foundation Fall 2017 Grants Update

The White River National Forest is the most heavily visited National Forest in the United States and many wilderness areas are feeling the strain that comes with such a high number of visitors. An $11,500 grant to the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service will fund the implementation of a permit system that will limit the use of the Conundrum Hot Springs wilderness area.

“This grant will allow us to have on-the-ground Wilderness Ranger presence in the Conundrum Creek Valley and Conundrum Hot Springs during the first, and most crucial, year of the permit system,” says Katy Nelson, Wilderness and Trails Program Manager. “This is a job we take seriously and we are honored to care for these lands on behalf of the public.”
The Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association (RFMBA) received $4,000 to bolster their Trail Agent and Seasonal Trail Crew programs. “While our mission is to promote a positive evolution of our local trail systems for mountain bikers, we are also focused on maintaining existing trails in best possible conditions,” says executive director Mike Pritchard.

These programs ensure that there will be trained independent stewards on the ground to perform basic maintenance activities on trails where necessary and report field observations to public land managers. To access remote sections of trail, Trail Agents are equipped with portable tool sets that they can easily transport while mountain biking to a specific area for maintenance (pictured).
Environment Foundation Fall 2017 Grants Update
Environment Foundation Fall 2017 Grants Update

Conservation Colorado Education Fund (CCEF)

“Coloradans overwhelmingly support the use of renewable energy, so we are working to turn that public opinion into momentum for better policies,” writes Beka Wilson, development director of Conservation Colorado Education Fund (CCEF). The Fund received a grant of $15,000 to bolster initiatives that support renewable energy policy in Colorado. “Our state has long been a leader on clean energy, and this grant helps Conservation Colorado continue that legacy by moving our state away from fossil fuels.”

2 Forks Club

Board members donated $5,000 to the 2 Forks Club, an organization that makes 0% interest loans to community farmers and local food entrepreneurs. These loans go to both North Fork and Roaring Fork Valley enterprises, which make up the valley’s local food economy. By creating a financial support system for these farmers, the 2 Forks Club is helping to build a healthier and more robust food economy while reducing the carbon footprint associated with industrial agriculture.
Environment Foundation Fall 2017 Grants Update
Environment Foundation Fall 2017 Grants Update

Fall 2017 Grants

Fall 2017 funded projects represent a broad range of environmental issues facing the Roaring Fork Valley:

FALL 2017
2 Forks Club: Strategic Investment in Revolving Loan Fund$5,000.00
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies: Three Years of General Operating Support
for Environmental Education Programming ($7,500 commitment per cycle through 12/31/17)
Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club: Reusable Water Bottle Station
Buddy Program: LEAD Outdoor Leadership in Carbondale
Colorado Fourteeners Initiative: 14er Mountain Safety Education Videos
Community Office of Resource Efficiency: Educational outreach program that will
challenge Roaring Fork Valley high schools in a contest to see which school can realize
the most energy-saving actions this winter
Conservation Colorado Education Fund: Moving Toward a Clean Energy Economy
Glenwood Springs Middle School: Outdoor Adventure Program Expansion
Independence Pass Foundation: Young Stewards Program
Protect Our Winters: Mobilizing the Roaring Fork Valley’s Influence Against Climate Change
Roaring Fork Conservancy: Crystal River Restoration and Weaver Ditch Project
Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association: General Operating Support focused on Trail Agent
and Seasonal Trail Crew programs
U.S. Forest Service – Aspen Sopris Ranger District: Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness
Conundrum Hot Springs Permit Implementation Wilderness Ranger
Wilderness Workshop: Oil and Gas Defense$10,000.00

Applications for the spring 2018 grant cycle are due March 1, 2018. Those interested in receiving an application can email CC Cunningham.

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