Community Ag Alliance: Transitions in Steamboat
Steamboat Springs is fortunate to have beautiful landscapes in all seasons. As someone who moved here this summer, I am excited to witness the progression of summer into fall. Nature reminds us seasons are shifting, with the changing colors of the foliage around us, cooling temperatures and shorter days. Some long-time residents have warned me about fall’s “mud season,” but fall also means we have time to enjoy the current outdoor environment before the snow flies. Additionally, as tourism lulls, I look forward to the local community coming together.
I came here as a part of the Episcopal Service Corps, sponsored in Steamboat by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Oak Street, and I am also working as a naturalist intern at Yampatika. In addition to forewarning us about mud season and the coming snow, the tight-knit local community has been extremely welcoming to me and the two other Corp members working at Lift-Up and the Boys & Girls Club.
Through my work with Yampatika, I’ve been able to witness the collaboration that takes place in Steamboat Springs, especially through working with Colorado Mountain College to host our annual “Garden to Table” dinner at Legacy Ranch. We worked closely with faculty members to organize the event, namely, Dr. Tina Evans, who heads the Sustainability Program, and Jess Guanero, head of Restaurant and Culinary Management.
CMC students from the Sustainability Program harvested for and staffed the dinner, and culinary students served as chefs for the evening. They created a delicious, three-course meal out of ingredients provided largely through donations from local gardens and farmers.
The Garden to Table dinner marks the wrapping up of summer programs and the beginning of fall activities. Yampatika is excited about the transition happening in gardens as the weather gets colder and the growing season closes. The harvesting of personal and commercial gardens is slowing, and special care in putting your garden to bed is an easy way to ensure soil is ready for next year’s planting season. More information about this important topic can be gained through Yampatika and Elkstone Farm’s multi-seasonal “DIY Organic Gardening Series.” Its final session will be Oct. 5 and focus on preparing your garden for the long winter ahead.
Fall colors outside also mean teachers and students are settling into the school year, and Yampatika naturalists are excited to continue our Environmental Literacy Program. This program provides hands-on and outdoor learning experiences about science and the environment to elementary schools in Routt County. Children and teachers alike enjoy learning outside the classroom, and ELP involves field trips to Legacy Ranch in Steamboat, Carpenter Ranch in Hayden and a number of local parks within walking distance of the schools.
Through collaboration with CMC and local schools and farms, I am beginning to appreciate the cohesiveness of the community in Steamboat. Everyone experiences the transition of seasons in different ways, and as a newcomer, I am looking forward to experiencing more of nature’s transitions with this community throughout the year.
Harlowe Wang is a Yampatika naturalist intern.
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