Conservancy offers thanks for Annual Event

Nov. 16, 2017 — The Central Colorado Conservancy held our Annual Event and Fundraiser on November 9th.  This was a fantastic event with 200 people in attendance. We raised $47,000 for our efforts in protecting working lands, natural areas, public access, ecological restoration, and community conservation projects.

Central Colorado Conservancy Executive Director Andrew Mackie

The Conservancy is grateful for the broad based community support. We sincerely thank all of the individuals attending the event and the following sponsors: (Event) Barton Design, Inc.; Vely Agency, LLC; (Platinum) Central Colorado Title and Escrow; Marquez & Herrick-Stare, LLC; (Gold) Pinon Real Estate Group; Powell & Murphy, PC; (Silver) Allan Beezley, P.C.; Colorado Central Magazine; DeLarue Building Co.; First Colorado Land Office; High Country Bank; HydroGeo Designs, LLC; Jefferson Farms Natural Fibers; Law Office of Jane B. Fredman, LLC; Lewis and Glenn Funeral Home; Michael D. Scott, Attorney; Natural Habitats; Peak Solar Designs; Timberline Partners; (Supporters) Jodi Addis; John Andrick; Pamela and Jay Close; Collegiate Peaks Bank – Stacey and Cammeron Larson; Mary and Dick Cuyler; Bunny Dines; Ute Development – Tom Eve; Marsha Brown and Michael Fischer; Heart of the Rockies Radiology; Pamela and Peter Mackie; Jim McGannon, Forestry & Landscape Consultant, LLC; Tim Martin; David Moore; Round River Design, Inc.; Roberta Smith; and Cliff and Doris Wurster.

We also want to thank Pinon Vacation Rentals, Brady’s West, Chaffee County Fairgrounds, Dove Graphics, Kalamatapit Catering, and event volunteers (Marsha Brown, Donna Childress, Kelly Collins, Samar and Mike Fay, Michael Fischer, Janet Franz, Tyler Grimes, Jeanne Herrick-Stare, Rebecca Hinds, Tom Johnson, Jim Keil, Kate Larkin, Cindy Lawrence, Brad Leach, Jim McGannon, Hallie Mahowald, Hayden Mellsop, Drew Peternell, Terry Peterson, Pete Scales, Cindy Williams).

The Conservancy’s Artists for Conservation program held its first art show, with the following artists participating: Evelyn Gottshall Baker, Laura Barton, PJ Bergin, Fay Golson, Robert Gray, Fred Hubicki, Nora Larimer, Susan Mayfield, Patti Vincent, Gary White, and Mary Hansen Wolfe. Silent auction contributors included: Absolute Bikes, Adidas, American Adventure Expeditions, Arc’teryx, ArkAnglers, At Home Pet Doctor, Back Country Access, Boathouse Distillery, Brown Dog Coffee Company, Camp Chef Mountain Series, Central Colorado Conservancy Board of Directors, Kelly Collins, Mary and Dick Cuyler, Cycles of Life, D&J Rare Gems, Denver Art Museum, Dove Graphics, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Dvorak Rafting and Kayak Expeditions, Samar and Mike Fay, Linda Frances, GIRO, Goal Zero, Golden Crane Massage, Gone to the Dogs, Hi Rocky Store, High Country News, Historic Georgetown Loop Railroad, Icebreaker, In the Current Imports, K2, Betsy Wallace and Jerry Kemperman, Dana Ladzinski, Lost Wonder Hut, Andrew Mackie, Lisa Marvel, Monarch Mountain, MSR, Mt. Shavano Ski Rental, Murdoch’s Ranch Supply, National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, Osprey, Outdoor Research, Orient Land Trust, Patagonia, Pioneer Wine and Spirits, Poncha Lumber, Fred Rasmussen, Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Lee Coveney & Dan Smith, Soulcraft Brewing, Tractor Supply, Vortex Optics, Gary White, and ZEAL Optics.
Thank you!
Andrew Mackie
Executive Director

Longtime ranching family receives Conservancy’s 2017 Conservationist Award

Oct. 14, 2017 — Taylor Ranch and Oswald Cattle Company owners Steve and Nancy Oswald are the recipients of the Central Colorado Conservancy 2017 Conservationist Award.

Established in 2009, the award is given for significant commitment and leadership in protecting the region’s natural and agricultural resources.

Nancy and Steve Oswald are the recipients of the Central Colorado Conservancy 2017 Conservationist Award. They will be presented the award at the nonprofit’s Annual Event & Fundraiser on Nov. 9.

The Taylor Ranch, located at the north end of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Fremont County, has been in Nancy’s family for more than 60 years. Her great grandparents started ranching about 10 miles away along Texas Creek in the late 1800s.

Since taking over ranch operations in the early 1990s, the Oswalds have developed planned adaptive grazing methods that changed their number of pastures from two to 100. Their ranching practices include increasing soil health and biodiversity and no till farming or cover cropping.

As part of the system, they built 15 miles of interior fencing and created 11 permanent transects to monitor the land and vegetation. They also shifted calving season to eliminate the need to feed hay and reduce equipment costs. They use a multi-species mix of annuals and perennials to stimulate soil microbes below the land’s surface.

They also improved irrigation systems to help conserve water and have treated over 200 acres of piñon to enhance wildlife habitat – 75 acres of that in partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

After the 2002 drought, they developed a written plan that prescribes management practices based on the climate. Accurate rainfall records are maintained along with the other data.

They focus on water and nutrient cycling, energy flow and community dynamics to develop their grazing plans, running animals in one herd and moving them to a fresh pasture at least once daily.

“Ultimately, we’re in the sunshine business, converting the solar energy that falls on our ranch into nutrient-dense healthy beef,” Steve said. “Every action we take in management of the ranch has that idea in mind.”

Their vision is to leave the ranch in a healthier ecological state than when they arrived on the scene in 1991, they said.

The couple was married on a hill above the ranch in 1977. They left two years later and spent 12 years ranching in British Columbia, where Steve honed his ranch management skills and Nancy began a writing career, publishing historical fiction for young readers and teaching in one- and two-room schools.

They moved back to Colorado in 1991 and went into business for themselves with the purchase of 24 bred heifers and the remainder of Nancy’s father’s cow herd on shares. During this time, Steve attended the Ranching for Profit School, which led to the future changes on the ranch.

They have taken their methods to fellow ranchers and the community, Central Colorado Conservancy Executive Director Andrew Mackie said.

“Both Steve and Nancy are willing to give time and energy to anyone who requests it,” Mackie said. “They live by what they practice on the ranch, helping to make southern Colorado a healthier place.”

The Oswalds have hosted teachers in the T.E.N. program to share about ranching and healthy grazing practices. They also are active participants in the ranching community, including the Fremont Cattlemen’s Association, Bureau of Land Management Grazing Advisory Board, Fremont County Weed Board, Ranching for Profit Executive Link, and the BLM Resource Advisory Council Board.

They invite ranchers on their property for education programs, and Steve has presented twice at the Colorado chapter of the Society for Range Management.

As an early member of the Central Colorado Conservancy board, when the organization was named the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas, Steve was a strong advocate for protecting local ranchland, Mackie said.

Promoting sustainable, profitable agriculture is a part of the Oswald Cattle Company’s business model. The Oswalds said they are committed to carrying on the heritage of the ranch in a world of change.

“We are connected to both the land and our past, with the hopes of passing on a legacy of ranching, agriculture and land preservation to future generations,” Nancy said.

The Oswalds will be presented the Conservationist Award during Central Colorado Conservancy’s Annual Event and Fundraiser at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds on Nov. 9. Event tickets start at $40 and are available at

Conservancy partners in major growth planning project

Sept. 11, 2017 — Central Colorado Conservancy has received major grant funding to partner in a community project that will address growth and its implications for Chaffee County’s future. The 12-month project titled Envision Chaffee County is aligned with the Conservancy’s mission to protect the lands and waters that sustain us, while also exploring Chaffee County’s broader sense of community.

Supported by a $100,000 LOR Foundation grant, the project will define the community’s best assets and then deliver a plan to maintain them as the county grows a projected 31% by 2030 and 52% by 2050. Nine community leaders — including Conservancy Executive Director Andrew Mackie and Board President Cindy Williams — applied for and received funding and are working together to ensure countywide engagement in the project. The Conservancy will provide overall project management, administer the grant and provide additional assistance such as staff and office support.

Chaffee County Commissioner Greg Felt was instrumental in the grant award and among those who worked to submit the application.

Project partners believe that the county’s natural beauty and rural character are an essential part of our identity, and are among the main reasons people choose to live here and visit. Project outcomes will be generated by the community through Envision Chaffee County’s outreach, to include town hall-style meetings, a community survey and social media.

“I see this broad community engagement as an excellent way to create a better future together,” Williams said. “Chaffee County is a special place. I think we all care about our natural resources, our rural landscapes, and our communities, that make this place special. Only by working together with our full community can we find ways to help maintain those things we love as we grow and prosper.”

The planning portion of Envision Chaffee County will involve facilitated work sessions over the term of the grant funding, where groups of community members will create a plan to maintain the county’s best assets into the future. These sessions could explore development tools such as community funded conservation easements, connected land and water use planning, and inter-governmental growth agreements but the topics have not yet been decided and will be driven by the community engagement process.

“From a conservation standpoint, Chaffee County has reached a pivotal point as we see accelerating growth around us every day,” Mackie said. “This is the perfect time to look ahead through Envision Chaffee County and protect those things we value most.”

Envision Chaffee County will begin with two town hall meetings to introduce the project to the community:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 20 from 5-7 p.m. at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds in Salida.
  • Thursday, Sept. 21 from 6-8 p.m. at the Buena Vista Community Center.

“Envision Chaffee County is consistent with the Conservancy’s strategic goal of connecting our community to conservation,” Williams said. “This project is an opportunity to broaden the conversation to our full community, and to find real ways to balance coming growth, prosperity and conservation.”

Conservation deal could provide public access to some of the Ark’s best fishing

Sept. 10, 2017 — Central Colorado Conservancy is working on an agreement that could provide additional public access for fishing on one of the most productive stretches of the Arkansas River downstream of Salida.

The Conservancy is partnering with the Trust for Public Land, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the San Isabel Land Protection Trust to preserve the 200-acre Maverick Ranch in Bighorn Sheep Canyon five miles east of Salida.

The property borders both sides of the Arkansas River and is not currently open for wade fishing from shore. It provides habitat for bighorn sheep, mule deer, black bear, songbirds and other wildlife, as well as wetlands.

The partners have raised $2 million so far to acquire the ranch. The Trust for Public Land has taken the lead in negotiating the transaction and putting together the funds needed for acquisition.

If the deal is completed, the Conservancy would hold the title to the property, adding this site as a natural preserve open to the public. San Isabel would hold the conservation easement, and CPW would hold the public access easement and enforce fishing regulations.

“This is still an ongoing negotiation and it is not a completed deal,” Executive Director Andrew Mackie said. “If the Conservancy were to own it, we would need to raise funds to take care of it. Our preserves require funding for the long-term stewardship of the properties.”

Mackie said annual costs would include invasive plant control, ecological restoration, fence and structure upkeep, and access-road maintenance. The property is located in Fremont County, just over the border with Chaffee County. If the deal is completed, the property would be opened to the public and protected from future development.

“The ranch is currently privately owned and the landowners want to sell it to this consortium of groups, so that it can be enjoyed by everyone in the future,” Mackie said.

Colorado’s diverse landscape has a rich natural and agricultural heritage that fuels the economy, a new analysis by Colorado State University researchers of state investments in conservation easements found. The 507-acre Chubb Park Ranch on Trout Creek Pass (pictured) was protected through the Conservancy by longtime rancher Joe Cogan in 2009.

Conservation easements reap benefits for Colorado

July 21, 2017 — A new analysis from Colorado State University  found that each dollar invested by the state for conservation easements produced benefits of between $4 and $12 for Coloradans. Public benefits include clean water and air, scenic views, access to things produced by local farms and ranch products, and wildlife habitat — all things that contribute to a high quality of life in the state.

Not surprisingly, state officials have repeatedly identified conservation of the state’s natural and agricultural lands as sound public policy. This includes providing incentives for conservation easements. These are legally binding agreements between private landowners and nonprofit land trusts such as the Central Colorado Conservancy to protect conservation values of a property.

Colorado State University researchers said data shows that easements are conserving land that is important for wildlife, agriculture, tourism and outdoor recreation for Colorado’s visitors and residents alike. The study, titled Investing In Colorado found that state programs have invested nearly $1.1 billion on conservation easements since 1995. Researchers who examined 2.1 million acres of Colorado lands with conservation easements said the related benefits for state residents are as high as $13.7 billion.

Childress joins Conservancy board

Donna Childress

July 17, 2017 — Leadville resident Donna Childress has joined the Central Colorado Conservancy Board of Directors.

Childress moved to Leadville from Virginia in 2016 after vacationing in Colorado for years and spending many hours in the mountains surrounding the Arkansas River Valley. She founded Childress Communications LLC in 2001. As a consultant, she provides strategic advice, shapes messages, and writes websites and other communications to help her clients reach audiences nationwide. She is the marketing consultant for the Lake County Tourism Panel.

Drawn to the area’s peaks, natural beauty, mining and agricultural history, and wide open spaces, Childress said she hopes to help preserve the valley’s wild and agricultural spaces in her position on the Conservancy’s board of directors.

“Donna is a great addition to the Conservancy’s board of directors. She joins ten very committed volunteer directors striving to protect the heart and soul of Central Colorado,” Executive Director Andrew Mackie said.

Fourth annual Nature-a-thon a success

Central Colorado Conservancy raises $6,000 and gains new participants in event focused on wildlife spotting

June 15, 2017 — The winning team of the 4th Annual Central Colorado Nature-a-thon spotted a record 135 species in 24 hours during the fundraising and educational event that took place in May. Participants raised $6,000 for the Conservancy’s wildlife habitat programs, while learning how to spot local wildlife in their habitats.

Fledgling great horned owls peek out from their nest during the 4th Annual Central Colorado Nature-a-thon that took place in May. The event raised $6,000 for the Conservancy’s wildlife habitat programs. Photo by Cindy Williams

“Seeing the variety of wildlife that was right in front of me, where usually I might have just driven right by, that was really special,” said Jane Jolley, president of the Central Colorado Humanists, which fielded an event team for the first time this year. “Next time I go out, I will be more aware and I’ll do a little bit better identifying after such a great experience.”

Participants like Jolley work in teams to find as many bird, mammal, fish, reptile and amphibian species as possible in a designated timeframe. Before they search, teams raise pledges and donations to support the fundraiser and competition. The event’s prior record set last year was 127 species in a 24-hour period.

The winning team, Counting Critters, visited three key locations, spotting wildlife on properties held in conservation easement by the Conservancy, team captain and Conservancy Board President Cindy Williams said.

Participants from the Humanists for Conservation team, Jan Ohmstede, left, Jane and Martin Jolley, and Mary Hellen Dunn, view fledgling great horned owls in a nest during the event. Photo by Cindy Williams

“I was reminded how important our local working lands are to wildlife,” Williams said. “We witnessed a herd of 60 elk, including many pregnant cows feeding around a local alfalfa field.” The team also saw beaver, trout and owls living near cascading ponds on another conservation easement north of Buena Vista.

The second place team, comprised of the Conservancy staff, found 129 species. Executive Director Andrew Mackie started the Nature-a-thon in 2014 to build awareness of wildlife species not always seen by residents, such as the plains garter snake dependent on wet meadows and the marsh wren nesting only in emergent wetlands in the area.

The Conservancy works on multiple projects that benefit wildlife, including habitat for lynx, moose, elk, bighorn sheep, black bear, cougar, waterfowl, raptors, songbirds and trout. The Lewis’s Woodpecker Project is our most recent effort dedicated to wildlife protection.

Conservation Stewards toil over multiple projects for healthy land, water resources

Western Native Seed owner Alex Tonnesen, right, his two daughters and Conservancy volunteer Dori Denning plant sedges during a wetland restoration project on June 5.

June 12, 2017 — Since its inception in April, the Conservation Stewards land stewardship team has cleared irrigation ditches, re-planted a wet meadow, created habitat for burrowing owls, pulled weeds, and planted dozens of trees at seven locations from north of Buena Vista to a ranch in Bighorn Sheep Canyon.

The tough assignments over nearly a dozen work days in two months involved wielding chainsaws and metal rakes, bending backs over muddy ground, toting wheelbarrows and large tree branches, and digging many, many holes for new trees and shrubs.

“You have to have a strong back,” said Chuck Washer, a Conservation Stewards volunteer from Nathrop.

Conservancy volunteer Kathy Hoerlein digs holes for cottonwood plantings to restore a wet meadow near Buena Vista.

Together, the Conservation Stewards cleared miles of ditch lines on five working ranches, launched a wetland restoration project on a dried up lakebed near Buena Vista and cleaned up a state wildlife area near Salida — all to improve local land and water resources. The diversity of the work and different project goals is a strength of the program, said coordinator Buffy Lenth, who appreciated gleaning a peek into life as a rancher through the irrigation ditch work.

“We’re helping ranchers maintain the open space, the wildlife habitat and local foods. Then we turn around and help Colorado Parks and Wildlife improve habitat, or restore a wetland where we’re putting in native plants,” said Lenth, the Conservancy’s watershed restoration specialist.

Conservation Stewards was developed to connect the community to conservation in a visceral way — with volunteers literally digging in the dirt to connect with it. The goal is to help improve the health of land and water resources through each individual project. Thirty volunteers have become involved since the team’s inception. Many of them also became new Conservancy members.

The team’s results are evident. While tree plantings take time to grow and thrive, a neighbor on the wetland restoration project expressed appreciation for the help, as well as hope for the future of the dry lake bed.

“It will be beautiful when we’re done,” said Cheryl Rauschke, secretary of the Yale Lakes Estates homeowners association.

The Conservation Stewards land stewardship team worked on five local ranches clearing irrigation ditches in April and May.

During the June 1 work day, Rauschke worked alongside new Conservancy member Kathy Hoerlein, who kneeled on wet ground digging holes for cottonwood plantings. Hoerlein volunteered for the wetland project even though she does not live in the neighborhood because riparian restoration fits into her interest in nature.

Work on the irrigation ditches delivered an immediate benefit — water for the growing season — and also many thanks from ranchers.

“We appreciate everything they did,” rancher Ellen Miller said of the work that took place over three days on the 200-acre Maverick Ranch east of Salida. “They were wonderful. They worked well, they gave up their time, and they did a fabulous job.

“I’d still be trying to do it because while my mind says I can, my body says no-you-can’t since I’m no spring chicken,” Miller added. “It saved us lots of time and I don’t know when we would have gotten it done without them.”

Volunteer work plays the important role of making up for budget shortfalls on public lands, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Wildlife Technician Matthew Coen said. The state agency increasingly relies on volunteers to complete projects.

“The volunteers are filling a huge need that we have as we are facing budgetary issues,” Coen said. “Getting local people involved and interested in what we’re doing is also a key component.”

The next work day on July 11 is in collaboration with CPW to improve a new state wildlife area west of Salida. Volunteers will remove old fence line to open migration routes for birds and large mammals, which can get caught in barbed wire.

To sign up or receive more information about Conservation Stewards and future events, contact

Tenacity and Love: Essential ingredients for conservation

Lillian Bender’s 86-acre Poncha Springs property has been placed under a conservation easement with the Conservancy.

April 29, 2017 — Thanks to Lillian Bender’s perseverance, 86 acres on both sides of the South Arkansas River are now protected forever. A proud native of Poncha Springs, Lillian honored the memory of her parents, Lawrence and Christine Bender, by donating a conservation easement to the Central Colorado Conservancy. Neighbor Ted Henry gifted much of this riverside property to Lillian’s parents back in the ’60s, in gratitude for their great care during the last years of his life. Some people also may remember Lillian’s father, Lawrence Bender, as one of the founders of Poncha Spring’s first fire department.

Lillian’s property, including 1⁄4 mile of the river, is home to songbirds, turkeys, deer, trout, an occasional bear, and a small herd of cattle. Lillian also worked with the Conservancy to restore part of her river frontage, allowing removal of the old vehicles and scrap her father had used to prevent flooding and bank impacts when high runoff threatened the neighborhood homes. The Conservancy restored the river to its historic function and look, created fish habitat and added to the riparian vegetation. The Conservancy partnered with National Trout Unlimited and the Collegiate Peaks Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Funding for the restoration was provided by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Trout and Salmon Foundation, and Salida Sunrise Rotary.

The Bender property includes one-quarter mile of the South Arkansas River.

Lillian began to pursue the idea of a conservation easement about three years ago. She diligently gathered documents, hosted site visits, and worked closely with Conservancy ConservationDirector Lucy Waldo to create a conservation easement that fit Lillian’s needs. Central Colorado Conservancy submitted grant applications to Chaffee County and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to help fund the costs of Lillian’s project. Both the County and GOCO recognized the benefits of protecting this unique agricultural and riparian property and granted funds to help Lillian with transaction costs for her donated conservation easement.

Lillian’s conservation easement also protects the piñon/ juniper hillside above the river valley, part of the viewshed for the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway and the popular Methodist Mountain/Rainbow trail system. Lillian’s protected land will continue to provide food, shelter, and water for fish and wildlife, plus the beautiful views enjoyed by the local community and visitors.

“Now I know this land will remain protected and will never be filled up with buildings,” Lillian said. “It will be here for the birds and the animals forever. I can sit and listen to the brook bubbling and the birds singing and enjoy the peace.”

Central Colorado Conservancy is grateful to Lilian Bender for her vision. She has protected a critical property in Poncha Springs. This private property is active ranchland and is not open to the public.

Focus on wetlands for collaborative committee

April 28, 2017 — Central Colorado Conservancy is coordinating the Arkansas Headwaters Wetland Focus Area Committee, a group of natural resource professionals and concerned citizens working to protect, restore and enhance the function of our region’s wetlands and riparian areas.

While wetlands and riparian areas comprise only 2% of our region’s surface area, they are used by more than 80% of wildlife species. In addition to being hotspots of biodiversity, wetlands serve important functions like filtering and cleaning stormwater runoff, mitigating floods, and recharging our freshwater supply.

In the headwaters of our watershed conserving wetlands is especially important. If you have ever tried to wipe up a spill with a dry sponge, you’ll know that it doesn’t soak up much water. A moist sponge, however, will soak up a surprising volume of water. Wetlands act the same way. When soil is moist it can quickly absorb heavy rains or even floods. That water is then filtered, cleaned and stored underground. When this happens on a landscape scale the whole water table can rise, making our landscape more productive and fertile, increasing the health of the entire watershed.  The opposite is also true. As our landscape becomes drier, water more quickly runs off rather than being absorbed. More runoff creates water erosion and stream channels become deeply incised, dropping the entire water table and turning our landscape into a dry sponge.

There are several threats to our region’s wetlands including piping of irrigation ditches, dry-up of ranches (when water is sold off to downstream municipalities), dry-up of ponds when landowners do not own enough water rights to cover evaporative loss, housing developments, and road building. The Wetland Focus Area Committee is working on a strategic plan to mitigate these threats and come up with specific strategies to accomplish our goals.  These will likely include multiple approaches like conservation easements, restoration projects and community education.

The Conservancy took on the collaboration effort of the Wetland Focus Area Committee because of the importance of forming these working relationships and protecting our limited wetland and riparian areas. The Conservancy’s watershed restoration specialist, Buffy Lenth, is coordinating this effort. If you would like to join our committee please contact her at

Get your hands dirty for conservation!

Join the Conservancy’s new land stewardship team to support the local landscape

March 17, 2017 — Central Colorado Conservancy seeks volunteers to join an active team working on projects that support our agricultural and public lands, ultimately improving the health of our land and water resources.

Central Colorado Conservancy seeks volunteers to join the Conservation Stewards, a new team of volunteers working on projects that improve the health of land and water resources. An upcoming project will improve habitat for the bright-eyed burrowing owl.

Volunteers with the organization’s Conservation Stewards team plant trees on riverbanks, remove old fencing to open wildlife migration routes, and clear ditches to increase water flow. The projects allow you to improve the landscape for benefits such as ranching, wildlife, water quality and local food production.

View the team’s upcoming projects on our Upcoming Events page!

“This is an opportunity for you to get your hands in the dirt, put down roots in this community, and give back to the lands that provide us with clean water, life-giving soils, food, wildlife, awe inspiring beauty and a bounty of recreational opportunities,” coordinator Buffy Lenth said.

Lenth is the Conservancy’s Watershed Restoration Specialist. This spring and summer, Conservation Stewards will help local ranchers get ready for irrigation season by clearing ditches, create habitat for Burrowing Owls, restore a wet meadow near Buena Vista, and plant a stream bank along the South Arkansas River near Poncha Springs,.

An upcoming project involves digging homes for the grassland-living burrowing owl. These small owls nest and roost in burrows such as those excavated by prairie dogs. Working with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to identify appropriate locations for this work, the Conservancy will improve habitat for this gregarious, bright-eyed bird.

The Conservancy provides the Conservation Stewards volunteers training in local plant ecology, ecosystem services, restoration and planting techniques, and wildlife habitat enhancement to prepare them with the tools needed to make a meaningful contribution to the health of our local landscape. Through projects on private lands, volunteers support working agriculture while gaining knowledge of local ranch operations.

For more information, contact Buffy at or 719-539-7700.

Conservancy seeks Volunteer Coordinator

Educational outings — such as this free snowshoe hike to Raspberry Gulch near Nathrop on March 4 — are just one example of the many events in which Conservancy volunteers help connect our communities to conservation. Contact us if you are a motivated, organized person interested in helping to coordinate our many volunteers.

March 10, 2017 — Central Colorado Conservancy seeks a motivated leader to help take on the task of volunteer coordination for the organization. This volunteer position will work with all of our other volunteers to build a strong effort toward achieving community conservation program goals affecting land, water and wildlife here in Central Colorado.

Conservancy volunteers carry out a wide range of projects from land stewardship, land and water restoration, community outreach, education, special events, and more. We need help from an individual who is highly organized and wants to be part of a growing program of local conservation.

Volunteer Coordinator duties include helping to structure the volunteer program, recruiting of new volunteers, scheduling, as well as organizing volunteer training and recognition events.

If interested, please contact Executive Director Andrew Mackie at 719-539-7700 or email


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