Yampa Valley Sustainability Council awards honor achievements, old and new
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Yampa Valley Sustainability Council handed out six awards Wednesday to community members who contributed to local sustainability in 2018.
Among the recipients were Marsha Daughenbaugh, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award for decades of environmental work in Routt County, as well as Megan Moore-Kemp and Scott Kemp. Their recently completed home won the Sustainable Home Award the Sustainability Council unveiled this year.
The council has hosted the award ceremony since 2011 as a way of recognizing environmental stewards in the community and promoting sustainability initiatives. Four additional awards are given each year to a government representative, a local business, an education program and a “shining star,” which this year went to a high school group that proposed a plastic bag ban to the Steamboat Springs City Council.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Marsha Daughenbaugh, for her decades-long involvement in promoting local agriculture producers and education programs.
Sustainable Home Award: Moore-Kemp House, for its holistic approach to sustainable home construction. The home features efficient plumbing and lighting, recycled building materials and a modest size of 1,880 square feet.
Education Award: Hayden Totally Kids for their work with Yampa Valley Sustainability Council on the ReTree program at Elkhead Reservoir and Hayden Elementary School. Students helped to plant and map new trees in the area.
Local Business Award: Aces High for its efforts to reduce waste in Routt County. Since setting a goal two years ago to become a leader in recycling and diversion, the company has begun recycling wood, metal and rock to divert materials from construction waste that would otherwise go to the landfill.
Government Representative Award: Ernie Jenkins for his involvement with the Sustainability Council’s ReTree program that plants trees around town and his advocacy for recycling bins at parks in and around Steamboat Springs.
Shining Star Award: Steamboat Springs Teen Council for its proposal to Steamboat Springs City Council to ban plastic bags in stores around town. Efforts from students led City Council officials to draft language that would reduce plastic bag use in the city.
As she accepted her Lifetime Achievement Award, Daughenbaugh acknowledged the people she has worked with at the Sustainability Council and around town who have supported her numerous initiatives over the years.
“It takes a community to make things better,” she said.
Fostering community through sustainability programs has been a cornerstone of Daughenbaugh’s life work.
She retired in March as the executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance, a nonprofit that united many local farmers to help them sell their produce to consumers in the area. During her time with the Agriculture Alliance, she was instrumental in starting the Community Agriculture Market, a website where people can order a variety of local produce from alfalfa-fed beef to alpaca hats.
Anne Mudgett, the Sustainability Council’s communications and development director, discussed the impact of such a website as she handed Daughenbaugh her award.
“When people are buying local, they’re really reducing the carbon footprint of their food,” she said.
Daughenbaugh grew up and still lives on her family’s cattle ranch in Routt County, Rocking C Bar Ranch. She said environmental stewardship is especially important in Northwest Colorado, where water is often scarce and the soil requires responsible farming to stay healthy.
“Folks around here understand the importance of sustainability,” she said. “They have to make sure to take care of the land or the land won’t take care of them.”
Megan Moore-Kemp and her husband, Scott Kemp, made a cramped commitment to sustainability. For eight years, they lived in a 624-square-foot apartment with their two kids and two dogs while they built their home that won this year’s new Sustainable Home Award.
“Our 1,800-square-foot house feels like a mansion now,” Moore-Kemp said of her new digs in the Fairview neighborhood.
The home, designed by Erik Lobeck from Workshop L and built by New Mountain Builders, was constructed with recycled materials and will use energy-efficient lighting and plumbing that will be about 40 percent more efficient than a house built at the basic building code, Scott Kemp said.
Mudgett emphasized that the Sustainability Council values the diversity of environmental initiatives that the annual award ceremony recognizes.
“We talk about sustainability being a community effort,” she said. “This year’s award recipients really show that.”
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At 7 p.m. Thursday, the Yampa River’s temperature was 72 degrees at a spot in the Chuck Lewis Wildlife Area south of Steamboat. That’s about 15 degrees higher than the typical average.