Sonja Macys: Support 2A, 2B

— I am writing on behalf of Yampatika, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire environmental stewardship through education. For the past 16 years, Yampatika has provided school-based and summer environmental education programs in Northwest Colorado. We appreciate your recent editorial stressing the importance of referendums 2A and 2B, and hope that voters will support both 2A and 2B.

In recent years, the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act and its emphasis on standardized testing has diminished greatly the time and resources available for place-based environmental education. With the emergence of “nature deficit disorder,” as documented by Richard Louv in his book “Last Child in the Woods,” and childhood obesity on the rise, we simply cannot ignore the need for education outside of the classroom.

At a federal level, steps are being taken to remedy this situation. H.R. 3036, the “No Child Left Inside Act,” was passed recently by the House and is moving to the Senate floor. At the local level, we have an opportunity to make our own statement.

By supporting 2A, we provide for meaningful outdoor programming such as the Yampa Valley Science School, which gives public school sixth-graders a week-long residential learning experience at Perry-Mansfield to create excitement about our natural environment. By supporting 2B, we create this same possibility for our outlying districts and their residents, many of whom have paid this tax for years by shopping here in Steamboat Springs.

We hope that Steamboat Springs residents will consider the importance of place-based environmental education when going to the polls during the next few weeks and support 2A and 2B.

Sonja Macys

Executive director, Yampatika

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