Talking Green: Yampa Valley Climate Crew connects volunteers with local conservation opportunities

Ryan Messinger
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

With the threat of yet another drought-ridden summer looming over the Yampa Valley, the consequences of climate change are again knocking at our door. It’s the same story seemingly year after year, and people are yearning for an opportunity to be a part of the solution. Beyond taking simple measures to live a more sustainable lifestyle, people need hands-on projects with real results, where they can say, “Look, I did that. I made a change.”

To address this, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is introducing the Yampa Valley Climate Crew this summer, a volunteer-based program that connects motivated community members with local climate action projects that benefit both the environment and people.

The Yampa Valley Climate Crew emerges at an important time. Nationally, bipartisan leaders are working to develop the Civilian Climate Corps (CCC), the government jobs program aimed at putting Americans to work combating climate change.

Though the particulars of the newest version of the CCC are still in development, there is a growing recognition that environmentally focused workforce revitalization has an important place in our future. The Yampa Valley Climate Crew mirrors this national movement by connecting community members who wish to volunteer their time addressing climate change to local projects in need of an impassioned labor force.

Yampa Valley Climate Crew members will work at a variety of events hosted by local environmental partners, including the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Yampa Valley Sustainability Council. These projects range from restoration and reforestation to stewardship, all of which increase carbon sequestration and resilience in the lands around us.

Current opportunities include working on restoration exclosures in California Park, maintaining previous tree planting sites in the city of Steamboat Springs’ Rotary Park and surveying options for future reforestation efforts near Rabbit Ears Pass. By participating at these events, volunteers are directly contributing to a healthier and more resilient Yampa Valley while building community connections.

Volunteers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to join, and projects vary in their level of difficulty. Each project has a description that enables volunteers to select the project that is right for them.

Climate Crew volunteer days will take place on Saturdays throughout the summer. The next event will be at 8:30 a.m. June 19, where a team of 15 volunteers will be working at the Sustainability Council’s ReTree site to fix fences, mulch trees, work on irrigation and cut back encroaching grasses. Additional weekday projects are available for organizations and companies to host a team-building event for their members.

Check out the Yampa Valley Climate Crew website for more information on the program and upcoming events at

Ryan Messinger is the Yampa Valley Climate Crew and Volunteer coordinator for Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

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