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Peak and Prairie E-newsletter

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

June 2014

Electronic Edition

Message from the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter Director, Joshua Ruschhaupt:

"...But wait, there's more!"

Last month, our Legislative Chair, Karen Dike, provided you with a review of our work in the 2014 Colorado Legislature.

But wait, there's more!

This month, we have an added review for you in lieu of my normal message -- Karen explains below, and we'll update you again next month for (hopefully) the closing review of what is becoming a very strange and interesting cap to this year's legislative session.

Waiting (im)patiently for a special session

By Karen Dike
RMC Legislative Chair

Karen Dike, RMC LegCom Chair

RMC LegCom Chair,
Karen Dike 

I can be naïve at times. When the regular legislative session ended, my first thought was: "Whew, we made it!" Then it got tougher! Word came there might be a special session to address local control and fossil fuel extractions. Then a plea came from a Sierra Club member that SB 14-023, an important water bill, was about to be vetoed by Governor Hickenlooper.

The operative word became waiting … and then patience … And patience is not my strong suit. I need the sign that says, "God grant me patience and I want it now." So we waited to hear what the Governor would do with the water bill, eventually hearing he would probably veto it. This left us scrambling...

Read more...


EPA carbon pollution standard hearing set

RMC Energy Chair

On June 2, the Environmental Protection Agency released draft language to curb carbon emissions from dirty, coal burning power plants. If adopted, the language would cut carbon emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Colorado celebrated the announcement and is on track to reduce statewide carbon emissions 35 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, a full decade earlier than the EPA deadline. Sierra Club will...

Oil and Gas Roundup
Keep dirty fuels in the ground

By Catherine Collentine
Colorado Campaign Representative
 

Colorado Oil & Gas Roundup vertical logo
Take action
!  Join Sierra Club to call on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address methane emissions caused by oil and gas fracking across the country. As the Obama Administration continues to push for a reduction in harmful methane, we are calling on the EPA to update their rules to reflect the latest estimates on the climate impact caused by methane. In light of our efforts to curb climate disruption, we need to ensure that fracking pollution is reined in.

Read more...

 


Special discounts to go solar this month

RMC Communications Team

A special $1,000 discount! Go solar today! 

You still have two weeks to take advantage of Sierra Club's special June promotion to add solar panels to your home's roof, including getting a $1,000 discount this month only.

You can go solar easily and affordably—with the guaranteed goal of lowering your future energy bills—by taking advantage of the Club's innovative partnership with Sungevity, a leading national solar company.

Read more...




Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary
Indian Peaks offers spectacular mountain hikes

By Alan Apt
Sierra Club RMC Wilderness Chair

Alan Apt on Mount Audubon
Alan Apt hikes to Mt. Audubon
summit
with grandson, Jeremiah,
and friend Matt

Photo provided by Alan Apt
Like many Sierra Club members, I'm a longtime hiker. There is nothing like being outside in nature, alone or with others, hiking on a scenic Colorado trail. To me, our state's wilderness areas are the poetry of the natural world and the best places to hike.

This year we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act. Visiting or taking a hike in one of Colorado's 43 wilderness areas is a great way to do that. These natural areas not only offer great recreation, they also provide clean air and water and have great economic benefits for our state tourism industry.

Read more...


RMC members protest Keystone XL pipeline

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Keystone XL rally
RMC members and friends gather at Capitol for rally
Photo by Carol Carpenter

Nearly 200 enthusiastic, banner-waving Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) and other Colorado environmentalists gathered at the Colorado Capitol on May 17 to oppose the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The rally also addressed climate change, and Colorado's dirty fuel and local control issues.

"It is time to stop focusing on those who deny climate change and involving us in endless debates," said Karen Dike, an RMC Beyond Oil and Gas Team member and one of several speakers. "It is time to let the (oil and gas) industry know we won't trade our health and that of our families and friends for their corporate profits."

Read more...  


New RTD bus concourse earns green certification

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Denver bus concourse escalator
New RTD bus concourse
Photo by Carol Carpenter

Sierra Club supporters should be happy to know that public transportation got a big "green" boost in May with the opening of Regional Transportation District's new underground bus concourse in downtown Denver.

Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter transportation issue specialist Bill Roettker said the facility is an important milestone in providing convenient and efficient transportation options for Front Range residents. "Making it safe and convenient for people to travel by bus and light rail encourages people to use their cars less, which is great for the environment and the pocketbook," Roettker said.

Read more...


Media Watch
Your opinion is invalid

By James Luidl
RMC Communications Team

Media Watch small

One of the downsides of writing a monthly column is that occasionally someone beats you to the punch. Such was the case last month as the cable news world went into its usual dance over the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, and The White House Third U.S. National Climate Change Assessment (NCCA).  No surprise, FOX News spent most of its time trying to deny it, MSNBC postulated on what it meant for the 2014 elections, and CNN for the most part ignored it, still searching for a plane at the bottom of the ocean.

Read More...


Volunteers needed for GMO labeling campaign

By Matt Reed
RMC Fundraising Chair

GMO tomatoes

Sign Me Up

Activists may be familiar with the phrase, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." Seen on bumper stickers and buttons, the saying expresses how many of us feel about genetically engineered food. The concerns about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are significant and require our attention.

The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment they cannot be recalled. Our food choices affect our environment! We need to know what's happening to our food and what kind of world we're supporting with our purchases.

Read more...
 


Protect Colorado's environment at Step Strong Colorado

Step Strong Hike-SA-Thon Banner 500 sm.jpg

By Dave Read
RMC Fundraising Chair

It's your choice: you can either hike or stay in bed if you want to protect Colorado's environment. Hikers and non-hikers alike are needed to help preserve Colorado's wildlife, water, air and outdoor recreation spaces at our annual Step Strong Colorado Benefit Hike to Protect the Environment, Saturday, Sept.13, at Roxborough State Park.

Read More...
 


Volunteer of the Month
Wilderness preservation dear to IPG volunteer's heart

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team 

Bill Ikler on Arapahoe Pass
Bill enjoys hiking on Arapahoe
Pass Trail

Photo provided by Bill Ikler 

For reasons often baffling to longtime Sierra Club activists, some Colorado citizens can be downright hostile to efforts to preserve wilderness. That happened when Bill Ikler and other members of the Indian Peaks Group (IPG) Wilderness Committee fought tirelessly—and ultimately successfully—from 1994 to 2002 to establish the James Peak Wilderness Area.

Read more...


Water activists needed: Can you help our chapter?

By Kirby Hughes
RMC Conservation Co-Chair 

Clean water

I hope I got your attention with the title! Our Rocky Mountain Chapter has recently lost several water resource experts. We need folks to help form a new team to protect Colorado's precious water resources. Training, support and information on water resources will be provided for all volunteers.

Read more...


The return of Frackenstein!

By James Anderson

Return of Frackenstein

Facebook Photo Contest

gardening
Photo by Michael Ace Photography
 
 

 Enter our Facebook photo contest! 

Did you know that we have a monthly photo contest? The theme for the June contest is "gardening ." Submit your best gardening photos today!  Winner gets a free Sierra Club photo calendar.  Submit your photo now, and tell your friends to LIKE it!
 


 

Volunteer Leadership Openings

The RMC runs on people-power!

Would you believe that the Sierra Club runs more from volunteer leadership than staff leadership? It's true—there are literally thousands of volunteer leaders in different leadership capacities in 63 chapters and over 400 groups nationwide! Believe it or not, there are just two Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) staff people right now: the director, Joshua Ruschhaupt—working with over 150 great volunteer leaders in the chapter and groups, and our new conservation programs coordinator, Matt Reed.  We need to hear from you right away, even if you're only remotely thinking about spending a few hours or more per week helping out the environmental movement in Colorado.

Colorado's environment needs your activism and advocacy—the writing's on the wall! You show up, and we'll train you. There's even a lot of stuff you can do right from home. Doesn't matter where you are in Colorado—we're recruiting for the Chapter, and that covers the entire state. If you're interested, we've got a volunteer role to fit your interests, skills, experience, and knowledge.

If, after reading through the roles below, you're still unsure of where you might fit in, that's no problem. Just fill out the volunteer interest form on our website at http://rmc.sierraclub.org/volunteer.shtml.

Together as an organized movement we will win!

Outings leaders

Colorado is a hiker's mecca. We're looking to build a core leadership team to work with our outings leaders, and also looking for several outings leaders throughout Colorado. Have you ever wanted to lead your own fun or conservation-minded hikes? Or just get out and enjoy the outdoors hikes? Winter or summer, Sierra Club is known for great outings with trained volunteer leaders. Let us train you to be one of them. We're really excited to get our outings program working directly on conservation issues, too! Contact Outings Chair Chris Applegate at: cdapplegate@gmail.com.

Communications Team leaders

The Communications Team is currently very strong; however, they are looking for webmasters, reporters, media specialists, and Listserv administrators. (Not familiar with Convio or Listserv e-mail systems, but learn fast? Don't worry, we have professional trainers.)  Contact the Communications Team at rmc-communications-team@lists.sierraclub.org.

Environmental Reporter (Colorado)

Do you care about Colorado's environment? Do you like to write and work with the news media? Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) seeks 3-10 hrs/wk volunteers to serve on our award-winning Communications Team to begin expanding our media reach beyond the chapter to more external, public media sources including newspapers, blogs, radio, television, etc.

The Communications Team is working to establish a rapid response sub-team that can take late-breaking chapter news, press releases, press statements, etc., and use media relationships to make the RMC's voices heard in public media outlets. There will be opportunities to report on original stories, write opinion editorials, and letters to the editor.

Volunteers can be based anywhere in Colorado, though most of the Communications Team is currently located in/near the Denver metro area.  For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org or http://rmc.sierraclub.org/. You can also see this position promoted on Craigslist.

Fundraising Team leaders

The Fundraising Team is in need of more fundraising volunteer leaders to help us reach our fundraising goals. Volunteers play a major role in creating the fundraising goals, developing the strategies, and carrying out the Chapter's fundraising plans. If you are experienced with fundraising, from small contributions to working with large donors, or just want to get started, we need your help. Even if you just want to be an assistant to learn and help out, sign up. We're looking for at least three new volunteers. Contact the Fundraising Team chair, Dave Read, at dancingdave@comcast.net.

RMC Roaring Fork Group leaders (see map)

The Roaring Fork Group is looking for new and energetic leaders to volunteer to help out with fighting oil and gas drilling proposals on the Thompson Divide, west of Carbondale, and south of Glenwood Springs. The Group is also pursuing Wild and Scenic status for the Crystal River. You should live within the Roaring Fork Group boundary: Pitkin County, Eagle County in the Roaring Fork Valley or Fryingpan Valley, or eastern Garfield County. They're also looking for volunteer leaders interested in helping lead the Group itself. Get in touch with Mark Stevens, RFG Executive Committee member, at mark@designprojectinc.com.

RMC Uncompahgre Group leaders (see map)

The Uncompahgre Group is currently working on revitalizing their group's leadership. Their current Executive Committee (our local equivalent of a Board of Directors), which has decades of experience to share, is interested in transitioning to new, energetic, and passionate volunteers who are excited about pursuing the Club's mission. The major issues in the area are oil and gas drilling and fracking, water conservation and planning, recycling/zero waste, wilderness and wildlands, outdoor recreation, and more. If you're interested in pursuing the Sierra Club mission to "Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet" on the west slope within the Uncompahgre Group, contact UG Co-Chair Carole Chowen, at carole_chowen@yahoo.com


Read More...

 

 

In this issue:

  • Director's Message: But wait, there's more!
    • Waiting (im)patiently for a special session
  • EPA carbon pollution standard hearing set
  • Oil and gas roundup
  • Special discounts to go solar this month
  • Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary: Indian Peaks offers spectacular mountain hikes
  • RMC members protest Keystone XL pipeline
  • New RTD bus concourse earns green certification
  • Media Watch: Your opinion is invalid
  • Volunteers needed for GMO labeling campaign
  • Protect Colorado's environment at Step Strong Colorado
  • Volunteer of the Month: Wilderness preservation dear to IPG volunteer's heart
  • Water activists needed: Can you help our chapter?
  • Cartoon
  • Facebook Photo Contest
  • Volunteer Leadership Openings
  • Sidebar:
    • Must See Event!
    • Donate!
    • Go Solar!
    • P&P Archive
    • Be a member!
    • Facebook
    • Meetup
    • Twitter
    • Featured Outings
    • Story Idea? 

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Must-See Event:

Teasel weed removal takes
place in August

teaselhead week
Teasel weed in
Wheat Ridge
Photo credit:
Wikimedia Commons

Save the Date!

What does Wheat Ridge do when its Clear Creek Greenbelt Open Space acquires an infestation of an exotic weed (teasel)? And what does it do when that same wetland harbors an endangered plant and an endangered mouse, both of which could be harmed by spraying herbicides?

The Rocky Mountain Chapter Water Quality and Wetlands Committee has been helping out the city for years by manually removing and reducing the weed population, and we will continue that work in 2014. Our work sessions this year will be:

  • Saturday, August 2, teasel seedhead removal
  • Saturday, August 9, teasel seedhead removal
We work from 9:30-11:30 a.m. each day, and then eat lunch in Wheat Ridge. For more information, e-mail Betty Jo Page or call 303-232-9105. 

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Donate Today


Please support your Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter.

100 percent of your contribution stays here in Colorado!

We depend on your support to do all of our work! 


Contribute on our secure website today.

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Go Solar!

  Sierra Club Solar Homes 2013

If you are the proud owner of a single-family home, and you want to reduce Colorado's climate impact, you can install a solar system on your roof!  

Sierra Club RMC partners with Sungevity to employ local, certified solar installers. 

Get your free
solar iQuote now!
 


Sungevity supports Sierra Club with a great contribution with the completion of every installation we refer to them, and you also get $750!  

     
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Peak and Prairie

The Peak and Prairie is the official Chapter newsletter.

Read the current and previous issues of our printed and
e-newsletter on the Chapter's
newsletter web page.

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        Calendar

Visit the Chapter's events calendar page to find out about outings, conservation and political activities, and more.


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Join the Sierra Club

Not a Sierra Club member yet? No problem -- just "Join Now!" to become a member today at just $15!

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Be Social!

Like us on Facebook now!

Meetup.com/sierraclubrmc
Twitter

Follow us on Facebook to
get our latest updates and relevant news, or on Meetup 
to join our latest activities, activism, and advocacy
events.
We're on Twitter, too!

 

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Featured Outings

Meetup logo

Pawnee Buttes Camping Trip!

When: Friday, June 27, 2014

Where: Pawnee Buttes, 19 County Road 120 3/4, Grover, CO (map)

Ever wanted to visit the majestic Pawnee Buttes in northeastern Colorado? Want to explore this beautiful area with a fun group? You're in luck, the Colorado Beyond Coal to Clean Energy Campaign is hosting a car camping trip to northeastern Colorado to visit the Pawnee Buttes, which are nestled in the Pawnee National Grasslands in Weld County. The buttes offer eye-popping views of the eastern plains where there has been a surge of energy development surrounding these iconic buttes. Fracking and wind energy development have both changed the landscape in the area. We will be camping and hiking this area along with a tour of the wind farm to the north of the buttes, called the Cedar Creek Wind Farm which will take place Friday, June 27th at 3 p.m.

We will also have Dr. Joseph Falke, a professor from the University of Colorado who has a deep passion and knowledge about the changing landscape around Pawnee Buttes to talk to us about these ongoing changes.

Friday: Depending on the location of registered participants, we will have arranged car pools set up to leave around 12:00 p.m. on Friday, June 27th for those making the wind farm tour* and another set to leave between 5 pm and 6 pm to join us for camping Friday night and hiking in the morning. Driving time takes roughly 2 1/2 hours to get to our destination. Participants should bring their own food for the duration of the trip. The Sierra Club will provide some evening snacks for those that attend the car camping that evening.

Saturday: We will start the morning off at 9 a.m. with a 5 mile roundtrip hike to the base of the beautiful buttes. The terrain has one steeper slope towards the beginning of the trail and the incline around the mesa is more of a steady incline. The hike should last around 2 hours roundtrip.

Upon our return from the hike we will get to learn more about the changes in this beautiful area and how fracking is affecting the region and to learn about the Sierra Club's work on energy development issues. We will do all this while enjoying our lunches before we embark on our journey back to our homes.

*Wind farm tour is still in the stages of being finalized and is subject to change.

For more information, please contact Chris Applegate.
 

Meetup logo

Happy Hour in the Hills: Mount Galbraith-A Denver Metro Network Event

When: Friday, June 20
5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Where: Mount Galbraith, 21992 Golden Gate Canyon Road, Golden, CO (map)

What better way to celebrate summer than by spending your Friday evenings hiking the foothills instead of being stuck in some bar? We'll spend six Fridays (June-July) out in the foothills on short hikes that average around 5 miles round-trip. This hike is 4 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of close to 1,000 feet.  This hike is rated easy/moderate because there are some rocky sections.  We will have several stops so that we can chat and get to know one another because it IS happy hour after all!

As always, I do not own a cell phone, so please contact me via Meetup prior to 1 p.m. the day of the hike if you have any questions.  Keep in mind that the hike begins at 5:30, so in order to attend the hike you need to arrive closer to 5 p.m. to sign the waiver, use the restrooms etc.  If you are not ready to leave at 5:30, then you will not be included in the hike.  All participants must sign a waiver in order to go on this hike. These hikes are for adults only with no dogs.  Remember that it is summer so it will be hot and sunny; bring plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat.  OR (because it's the late afternoon in summer) it will be raining/stormy so please bring appropriate rain gear just in case.  You may also want to bring something to eat since we will be out hiking at dinnertime.

This link includes directions and a map of the park: http://bit.ly/1pMR10A/.  Please leave a message here or email me on Meetup if you have any additional questions.

See you on the trail!

***As with all DMN Sierra Club events a $5 donation is recommended but certainly not required.  This money helps the DMN maintain the high quality you have come to expect from our outings.***

For more information, please contact Colleen Finnerty at 303-388-1058.

Meetup logo


Happy Hour in the Hills: Chief Mountain-A Denver Metro Network Event


When: Friday, June 27
5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Where: Chief Mountain, Squaw Pass Road, Evergreen, CO (map)
     

What better way to celebrate summer than by spending your Friday evenings hiking the foothills instead of being stuck in some bar? We'll spend six Fridays (June-July) out in the foothills on short hikes that average around 5 miles round-trip. This hike is 3 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of just over 1000 feet.  This hike is rated moderate because of the amount of elevation gain in such a short time.  We will have several stops so that we can chat and get to know one another because it IS happy hour after all!

As always, I do not own a cell phone, so please contact me via Meetup prior to 1pm the day of the hike if you have any questions.  Keep in mind that the hike begins at 5:30, so in order to attend the hike you need to arrive closer to 5pm to sign the waiver, go to the bathroom (Note: there are NO services at the trailhead) etc.  If you are not ready to leave at 5:30, then you will not be included in the hike.  All participants must sign a waiver in order to go on this hike. These hikes are for adults only with no dogs.  Remember that it is summer so it will be hot and sunny; bring plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat. OR (because it's the late afternoon in summer) it will be raining/stormy so please bring appropriate rain gear just in case. You may also want to bring something to eat since we will be out hiking at dinnertime.

For more information, please contact Colleen Finnerty at 303-388-1058. Hope to see you on the trail!

 THE "TEN ESSENTIALS" -- The Sierra Club recommends the following be carried at all times when hiking in the backcountry:

Navigation (map and compass);
Fire (matches, lighters, and accelerant);
Signaling Device (whistle or mirror);
Sun Protection (sunglasses and sunscreen);
Insulation (extra clothing);
Nutrition (extra food);
Hydration (extra water and tablets);
Illumination (headlamp or flashlight);
First Aid Kit;
Emergency Shelter (tarp, bivy sack, and tent);
Repair Kit (tools, knife, cord, and tape).

OUR RMC WEBSITE HAS OTHER OUTINGS INFO THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST -- A Sierra Club Sign-In and Liability Waiver form must be signed before participating in outings -- if you desire to review a copy, please contact your trip leader.

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Story Idea?

If you have a story idea for
the Sierra Club Rocky
Mountain Chapter Peak and Prairie, just send a quick email to rmc-communications-team@lists.sierraclub.org.  

Be sure to get in touch with
the Communications Team if you are a RMC volunteer interested in being featured
in an article -- we want to let others know the great work you're doing and who you are!




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Header Photo Credit: Communications Team volunteer Bill Bruner.