Residents recognized for sustainability efforts |

Residents recognized for sustainability efforts

Local community members were honored Wednesday by the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council for their contributions to sustainability. Pictured are, from left, John Spezia, Michele Miller, Emilie Rogers, Karen Schulman, Jason Landers, Kelly Landers and Bob Keenan. Not pictured is a representative from The Clark Store.
Matt Stensland

— After eight years of advocating against litter, Karen “Litter Queen” Schulman admits coming up with solutions sometimes makes her feel like a crawling little turtle.

It is an ongoing effort, she said, but the anti-litter cause still has energy.

“We have made some progress, and we have to continue,” Schulman said.

Schulman was one of several people honored Wednesday during the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s annual awards. She received the Unsung Hero Award during a lunch meeting at Centennial Hall.

“It’s important to take a moment and reflect on what’s been accomplished,” Steamboat Springs City Council member Kenny Reisman said at the meeting.

John Spezia, who moved to Steamboat in 1975, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sustainability Council Executive Director Sarah Jones said Spezia has been a critical part of everything the Sustainability Council has done throughout the years, and he worked extensively on the Vision 2030 long-term community planning project.

“You name it, this guy has been involved,” Jones said.

After accepting the award, Spezia said that while some people get recognized for their achievements, it is important to look back on past achievements.

“We stand on the shoulders of the people that came before us,” Spezia said. “It’s always good to look back down on where you came from.”

Creekside Cafe & Grill received the Sustainable Local Business Award. It was accepted by owners Kelly and Jason Landers. In addition to recycling and composting, the business supports local producers of beef, pork and produce.

“I believe you were the first restaurant to go zero waste after the (Steamboat) Ski Area,” Sustainability Council Program and Marketing Director Andy Kennedy said.

The Green Award for Government went to the city of Steamboat’s Senior City Planner Bob Keenan. In addition to leading the city’s green team, he has worked on the green building program and spearheaded local legislation that allowed residents to raise chickens in their yards.

Jones said Keenan has been dedicated to sustainability despite the challenges he faced with minimal funding.

“He kind of just persevered,” Jones said.

The Clark Store in North Routt County was named the Outstanding Recycler. Resident Kelly Subr worked with The Clark Store to establish a self-funded recycling program that utilizes two recycling dumpsters outside the business.

“Offering recycling in North Routt has been a longstanding goal for Yampa Valley Recycles,” program administrator Emilie Rogers said.

It is not uncommon to see Soda Creek Elementary School teachers and parents sorting through the trash during lunch as part of the school’s initiative to be zero waste. The school also has an active green team, and for this reason, Principal Michele Miller accepted the Sustainable Educator Award.

“The Soda Creek community is an inspiration for our district,” Rogers said.

Routt County Director of Environmental Health Mike Zopf presented a surprise award to Rogers for being an essential part of the recycling efforts in the Yampa Valley.

“She goes well beyond what’s asked of her, what’s required of her,” Zopf said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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