The 2017 spring cycle marks 20 years of Environment Foundation grant making. Over the last two decades the Foundation has donated more than $3 million to more than 500 projects across the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond. From the Ute Trail to Carbondale’s Sopris Park to the wilderness of the Thompson Divide, the Foundation has had a significant impact.

Spring of 2017 was no exception as the Foundation’s board invested in the future generations of farmers, scientists, and engineers throughout the valley.

Basalt High School

EF Grants Spring 2017
EF Grants Spring 2017

The board provided Basalt High School’s science classes $2,000 to explore renewable energy. “With this grant we are able to engage more students at Basalt High School with hands-on STEM exploration. Through their learning they develop the passion to make their world a better place to live,” writes Karen Ross, current Basalt High School STEM teacher and former aerospace engineer.

Solar Rollers

Energetics Education’s Solar Rollers program also engages youth through hands-on science education focused on renewable energy. Students design and build solar powered remote controlled cars that are tested through a series of head-to-head competitions with teams from across Colorado. It’s like NASCAR powered by the sun. A $4,000 grant directly supports Roaring Fork Valley students.

“While building and racing Solar Roller cars is fun, fast and inspiring for teenagers,” explains Noah Davis, Energetics Education’s Executive Director, “these little cars represent a valuable opportunity for students to engage deeply in studying energy-based solutions to climate change. Students start off building solar-powered cars and wind up building their lifelong love of learning as part of a team.”

Supporting Local Food Systems

EF Grants Spring 2017
EF Grants Spring 2017

$15,000 in grants were provided to Fat City Farmers, Riverview School and the “How We Grow” documentary. These proposals support local food production. “More and more, people in America are seeking locally raised, fresh food, over factory farmed and processed food, because they know it is better for their health, and for their local economy. We believe that the best foundation for a robust local food economy, is the education of school children,” says Michael Thompson of Fat City Farmers.

As a project-based dual language school with a significant population of students receiving free or reduced lunch the Riverview School’s garden infuses the curriculum with outdoor education and science through gardening. In addition, it creates community connections while deepening the connection to the land. Fat City Farmers’ supports these efforts by helping streamline school and community gardens and greenhouses into more efficient efforts more closely connected to the school’s curriculum.

Western Resource Advocates and Conservation Colorado

The most significant award this spring went to Western Resource Advocates and Conservation Colorado to promote renewable energy at the state level. The $25,000 grant is a recognition that building a strong foundation for policy action at the state level is critical to addressing climate change.

Western Resource Advocates’ Steve Seely says, “We are facing a new level of open hostility toward climate change policies from the federal government. The best way to make progress in this political environment is to focus on the state level and pursue policies for Colorado to tackle climate change. The complementary policies we are pursuing would not only significantly impact climate change and reduce carbon pollution, but also provide millions of Coloradans with an opportunity to drive investment in clean energy and reestablish the state’s leadership role in building a clean energy future.”

“It can take a long time to create and implement policy solutions,” adds Conservation Colorado’s Beka Wilson. “The Environment Foundation grant provides crucial funding for our long-term fight for action on climate change through clean energy policies. The continuing support of the Environment Foundation helps ensure that our work moves from an idea to reality, and that we are able to leverage public support to act on Colorado values and to secure bold measures to reduce carbon pollution.”

Spring 2017 Grants

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

Spring 2017
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies: Three Years of General Operating Support
for Environmental Education Programming ($7,500 commitment per cycle through 12/31/17)
$3,000.00
Aspen Valley Land Trust: Strategic Conservation Plan –
Increasing the Impact of the Chapin Wright Marble Basecamp
$5,000.00
Basalt High School: Renewable Energy Exploration
$2,000.00
Buddy Program: LEAD Outdoor Leadership in Basalt
$5,000.00
Citizens for a Healthy Community: Pipeline Safety Project
$5,000.00
Colorado Fourteeners Initiative: Elk Mountains Fourteeners Trail Maintenance,
Restoration and Data Collection
$4,460.00
Conservation Colorado and Western Resource Advocates: Tackling Climate Change in Colorado
$25,000.00
EcoFlight: Overflights for Wild & Scenic designations for Deep Creek and Crystal River
$4,000.00
Energetics Education: Solar Rollers Program
$3,999.00
Fat City Farmers: Teacher Gardening Workshops
$5,000.00
High Country News: Environmental News for the Roaring Fork and Western Colorado
$5,000.00
How We Grow Documentary
$5,000.00
LOVA Trails Group: South Canyon Trail
$5,000.00
Middle Colorado Watershed Council: Riverwatch/Citizen Scientists from Glenwood to DeBeque$6,000.00
Riverview Elementary School: Riverview Greenhouse y Jardin: Planting para el Futuro
$5,000.00
Roaring Fork Conservancy: Water Quality Program Support
$4,430.00
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps: Youth Programs Expansion
$10,000.00
Snowmass Discovery: Science Education Programming in Schools
$3,000.00
White River National Forest: Provide Bear Food Storage Lockers
at Lincoln Creek Dispersed Camping
$11,500.00
Total$117,389.00

Applications for the fall 2017 grant cycle are due October 23, 2017. Those interested in receiving an application can email Matthew Hamilton at mhamilton@aspensnowmass.com.

The employee-funded, -founded and -directed Environment Foundation has awarded more than $3 million to 505 diverse local environmental projects since its inception in December 1997. More than 1,600 employees per year contribute to the foundation directly from their paychecks.

Learn More About the Environment Foundation