Talking Green: Yampa Valley Climate Crew kicks off its third season this month

Ryan Messinger
Talking Green

Land in the Yampa Valley is more special than you might realize.

We all love this place for its spectacular beauty and recreational havens, but what you may not know is that our land is also one of the most effective tools we have in fighting climate change. Natural climate solutions are actions we can take to protect, manage and restore nature to reduce greenhouse emissions and store carbon. They also make our land more resilient to the current and anticipated effects of climate change.

Natural climate solutions take on various forms, but here in the Yampa Valley, it’s our forests, grasslands, streams and wetlands that have the greatest impact. Yampa Valley Sustainability Council has initiated projects to restore and protect these ecosystems, but it takes community action to create long-lasting environment change. YVSC created the Yampa Valley Climate Crew to do just that — connect community members to climate action projects that create meaningful impacts on our landscapes.

The Climate Crew is entering its third season following two great years of community support and transformative projects. Since that time, over 150 volunteers have joined us to restore two miles of streams, revitalize dozens of acres of wetlands, and plant thousands of trees. This year’s projects are starting soon, and we’d love your help in creating more natural climate solutions here in the Yampa Valley.

On June 15-17, we will be working with the U.S. Forest Service to replant the site of the 2021 Muddy Slide Fire. Climate change has caused wildfires to burn hotter, which destroys seed banks and reduces our forests’ ability to regenerate naturally. Volunteers will help restore this portion of the forest by planting lodgepole pine seedlings across five acres of the burn scar.  Reforestation after a wildfire is the first step in creating more resilient forests that will continue to sequester carbon and provide healthy watersheds.

You can join also us in California Park on August 5-6 to continue our work restoring wet meadows. These sponge-like ecosystems mitigate drought effects by absorbing water and releasing it during drier periods of the year. They also serve as wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and sequester carbon. Climate Crew volunteers will be restoring degraded streams within the wet meadows by constructing rock dams that trap sediment, raise the water table, and ultimately “rewet” the meadows.

More projects, including forest regeneration surveys, wetland restoration, and tree planting will be available later this summer and fall.

Volunteers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to sign-up; we have a project for everybody! Community volunteer days are available on weekdays and weekends from June to October. We also host corporate volunteer days for businesses looking to get involved in climate action projects.

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

Ryan Messinger is the Natural Climate Solutions Project Manager for Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

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