Community Agriculture Alliance: Giving thanks for where we live |

Community Agriculture Alliance: Giving thanks for where we live

Community Agriculture Alliance

— Northwest Colorado and the Yampa Valley are truly unique places to live. And that’s coming from someone who has lived on the East Coast, Midwest and Denver for the past 20 years.

As a new resident and the new executive director for Yampatika, I have been overjoyed with how wonderful a place this is and the important relationship the residents, visitors and environment have with each other.

Whether you are a skier, hiker, biker, rancher, farmer or anything in-between, part of the reason we live here is the environment and our access to nature. Whether it’s the mountains, river, parks, open space, trails or camping, we get to experience it every day.

I’ve spent a good part of the last two decades living in “concrete jungles.” Never before on the job did a staff person come in to the office and talk about a bear encounter until I started working here. That was just the first week.

At Yampatika, we are finishing up our fall season of school-based programs. In addition to the 1,100 Routt County elementary students that will participate in our environmental literacy program, we launched a new program with the Montessori Charter School and a fire ecology program with Hayden High School.

In December, we will launch our winter seasonal walks and ski and snowshoe hikes for visitors and locals. Our hope is that by getting people outside, they will come away with a better appreciation for the Yampa Valley and their role in ensuring its availability for generations to come.

If you are passionate about the environment and ensuring its availability for many years, get involved with one of the many great organizations in the area. Yampatika is looking for volunteers along with most other environmental nonprofits right now. If you don’t have the time, but are able to make a financial gift, Yampa Valley Gives Day is coming up Dec. 6.

This annual event supports area nonprofit organizations. On that day, when you make a gift through, 100 percent of your gift will go to the nonprofit you support because all credit card fees are covered through the generosity of several local businesses. If you have already scheduled your gift, thank you.

Supporting the environment is a proactive experience. It’s recycling, it’s practicing zero-waste ideas, it’s shorter showers. It’s also educating tomorrow’s generation of leaders about the place they live. It’s giving this generation of decision makers the chance to get outside and remember why we live here. It’s remembering we are all stewards of this beautiful place, and we all have a responsibility to ensure it is around for many more years.

Joe Haines is executive director of Yampatika.

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