The Environment Foundation made over $118,000 in grants to projects across the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond with this spring's grant cycle. The Foundation supported 20 projects and maintained its multi-year grant commitments to Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers.

Prior to this grant cycle, the board chose to revise the Foundation’s mission statement to clarify that it intends to support outdoor recreation programs with strong education and stewardship aspects, instead of projects aimed at “recreation for recreation’s sake.”

Nearly 50% of grants this cycle went to youth environmental education programs in conjunction with the Foundation’s newly adjusted mission statement. The board also allocated nearly $20,000 to responsible recreation projects seeking to develop and maintain trails throughout the region, including grants to Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association and White River National Forest.

Here is a spotlight on three of the programs.

Trail Maintenance in High Places

Environment Foundation Grants - Spring 2019 - 14ers Initiative
Environment Foundation Grants - Spring 2019 - 14ers Initiative

The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) received $5,000 to develop and rehabilitate high alpine trails on some of our state’s most iconic peaks throughout the Elk Mountains. The organization, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is the only trail restoration group in the state focused solely on peaks at, or above, 14,000 feet.

Brian Sargeant, Development and Communications Coordinator for the Initiative, said “This summer, CFI will use Environment Foundation funds to host three multi-day volunteer projects on Capitol and North Maroon Peaks in the Roaring Fork Valley. Volunteers and staff will complete much-needed trail maintenance and alpine vegetation restoration work on two of the state’s most dramatic mountains.”
The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative doesn’t stop there. The organization aims to gather usage data to inform future restoration work and advise trail closures and public notices. Sargeant mentioned that this summer, “CFI will continue monitoring hiking use on Castle Peak to help determine how visitor use impacts the on-the-ground trail conditions and help estimate the economic impact that 14er hikers contribute to local trailhead communities.”
Both above photos ©Emily Hines

Charging Up Young Engineers

Environment Foundation Grants - Spring 2019 - Engineering
Environment Foundation Grants - Spring 2019 - Engineering

Energetics Education’s Solar Rollers program gets students excited about and involved in solar energy engineering. Designed to empower kids, Solar Rollers breaks students into teams to design and build their own remote-controlled and solar-powered cars. The national program hosts solar car speed and endurance races solar energy trivia panels to tests teams engineering prowess and solar knowledge. Danika Davis of Solar Rollers noted the significance of this experience on students.

“The process requires creative, hands-on design and the build challenges as students learn how a complete energy system works. It encourages students to solve real-world problems with innovative solutions.”
Environment Foundation funding assists with the Solar Rollers program in the Roaring Fork Valley, including the strengthening of the program’s online solar curriculum. Says Davis: “The funds received ensure access for Roaring Fork Schools and help propel the program forward."

Protecting Our Favorite Spaces

The Foundation supported several land conservation projects focused on preventing industrial development on scenic or recreational areas in the region.

One project is led by The Trust for Public Land (TPL), an organization that has defended important natural spaces in Colorado since 1972. The organization worked in the High Elk Corridor in the early 2000s with support from the Environment Foundation and received funding this spring to return to support efforts to protect land near Marble and Lead King Basin. TPL seeks to acquire privately-held mining claims and transfer the land to the White River National Forest, ensuring that there are no new industrial developments.

“The Trust for Public Land thanks the Environment Foundation for its support of our efforts to limit backcountry sprawl by acquiring and protecting old mining claims in some of the most scenic and beloved places in the Elk Range,” said Jim Petterson, The Trust for Public Land’s Colorado and Southwest director. “Over the years, we have secured nearly 2,000 acres in the High Elk Corridor, helping ensure Coloradans and visitors alike can access and enjoy our remarkable public lands.”

Learn more about their projects across the State of Colorado.

How the Money Was Allocated

SPRING 2019
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies – ACES Ed: Children's Environmental Science Education Programs$10,000.00
Trust for Public Land – Protecting Colorado’s Wildlands
$10,000.00
Wild Rose Education (fiscal sponsor Third Street Center) – Youth Water Leadership Program$10,000.00
Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers – Three Years of Funding for
Trail Projects throughout the Roaring Fork Valley
$8,000.00
Colorado Outward Bound School – Enhancing Experiential Education in the
Roaring Fork Valley through Backcountry Educators Courses
$7,200.00
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps – Roaring Fork Valley Youth Corps
$6,000.00
Western Colorado Alliance for Community Action – Gasfield Justice: COGCC
Reform Campaign
$6,000.00
Energetics Education – Solar Rollers in the Roaring Fork Valley$6,000.00
Conservation Colorado and Western Resource Advocates - Advancing Bold Climate Change Initiatives in Colorado $5,000.00
Glenwood Springs Citizens Alliance - Public Awareness and Educational Outreach Project
$5,000.00
Colorado Fourteeners Initiative - Elk Mountain Fourteeners Trail Stewardship and
Hiking Use Study Project 2019
$5,000.00
Basalt Middle School – Environmental Stewardship through Outdoor Education
$5,000.00
Riverview School – Outdoor Environmental Education
$5,000.00
Basalt High School – Experiential & Outdoor Education
$4,900.00
Way of Compassion Bicycle Project – General Operating Support
$4,000.00
White River National Forest: Aspen-Sopris Ranger District – WAG Bags for
Backcountry Use
$4,000.00
Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation – General Operating Support
$4,000.00
Protect Our Winters – General Operating Support$4,000.00
Wilderness Workshop – Forest Watchdog Program
$2,500.00
Carbondale Middle School – Keystone Science School October 2019
$2,500.00
Solar Energy International – Solar and Engineering Training for Teachers
$2,000.00
Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association – General Operating Support
$2,000.00
Total$118,100.00


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