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Peak and Prairie Enewsletter
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

The Newsletter of the Rocky Mountain Chapter

April, 2011

Electronic Edition

  "New" StampMessage from the Rocky Mountain Chapter Director, Joshua Ruschhaupt:

New Improvements in Your Chapter's Operations!
The Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) has been working in recent months on MANY new upgrades and improvements, from behind-the-scenes chapter organizational structures to our public website, Facebook pages, and this new Peak and Prairie e-newsletter!  Yes, we will still have a printed version.  This year, we'll likely have two editions of the printed newsletter.

We're working hard to make this chapter one of the best in Sierra Club, and among the most effective environmental organizations in Colorado! We have so many great opportunities for finding solutions to the many problems facing Colorado's environment and environment-related public health.  We're thrilled to offer you timely information about our environmental activities, activism, and advocacy!

New Conservation Campaigns!
I'm very excited about our new Conservation Priority Campaign process, which asked all of our conservation leaders to apply to make their conservation work a chapter-wide priority.  This new process is a democratically-informed, grassroots-oriented solution to making chapter conservation priorities, giving the chapter Executive Committee the final vote for successful applicants to proceed with their goals and strategies. 

On Saturday, after a month of thoughtful preparation and drafting by applicants, and over a week of deliberation by the chapter Executive Committee, they decided that there will be 3 conservation priorities for 2011.  (Making this decision in April is the new-process roll-out timeline.  Next year's will begin in October, and final decisions about 2012 conservation priorities will be decided in January.)
  • Green Homes | Green Planet, advocating directly to homeowners to help reduce climate change by making home energy-efficiency improvements via a partnership with the non-profit Mission Housing, LiUNA -- the Laborer's International Union of North America, and Snugg Home.  For more information, contact campaign team leader, Jonah Fruchter at
  • Anti-Nuclear Campaign, making sure that the Pueblo County Commissioners do not approve a new nuclear power plant, and extending this campaign to fight lock-step against it if they do approve it.  For more information, contact campaign team leader Becky English at
  • Community Education and Outreach Project (CEOP) Oil and Gas Issues, Rocky Mt. Region.  This campaign will begin with movie showings of Gasland and Split Estate throughout affected areas of Colorado, and will work with local activists and organizers to reform the oil and Gas industry to protect the environment and residents near industrial operations.  For more information, contact Gopa' Ross at

Since these were just approved this weekend, we don't yet have information about them up on our website. However, you should definitely check our website often, because we update it regularly. These campaigns will be featured on our website soon!

New Teams, The Chapter is Expanding!
We're on the up-swing here at the chapter, increasing volunteer leader numbers on long-standing committees and teams, as well as creating a couple of new teams.  In hot-pursuit of making this chapter as effective with our mission to Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet as we possibly can, we're recruiting and training new volunteers to help run the chapter.  Most importantly, we're searching for volunteers who can help with our recruiting and training.  

Definitely don't stop reading this newsletter before you get a chance to see at the bottom what volunteer roles are available that might be just what you want, or never thought you could do to help!  Sign-up today!

Colorado Nuclear Power

FEATURED ACTION: Stand-up Against Nuclear Power!

By Joan Seeman, RMC Nuclear Issues Specialist

Did you know that there's a proposal for a nuclear power plant right here in Colorado?

That's right! There is a serious proposal for a nuclear power plant being advanced in Pueblo, Colorado. On April 25, the Pueblo County Commissioners will be deciding whether or not to allow a nuclear power plant to be built. In spite of the obvious downsides that accompany nuclear power, it appears that Pueblo may be poised to let this speculative proposal proceed.

We know that nuclear power is not a responsible choice for energy needs; it makes no sense as part of Colorado's Clean Energy Future! We can meet our needs through energy efficiency and responsible growth of renewable energy!*

Contact Pueblo's Board of County Commissioners to let them know your opposition to this proposal. 

*Sierra Club has a deep history of monitoring the technology and life-cycle of nuclear power, and opposes nuclear power based on this research.  If you're interested in seeing a wealth of knowledge about the issue, please check here.  Still have questions regarding this issue? Contact Joan Seeman at (303) 794-6890.

Natural gas drilling.

SECONDARY ACTION: Oil & Gas Industry Mutiny!

By Gopa' Ross, RMC Oil & Gas Team Leader

Changing the structure and membership of the COGCC would alter the Commission's ability to protect the safety of our community, public health, valuable lands, water resources, and clean air.

After years of work, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) finally has a balanced perspective, with a diverse representation of interests among its decision makers.  

But did you know that the oil and gas industry doesn't want a balanced Commission? 

The oil and gas industry is lobbying heavily to balance the Commission in their favor -- so that they can control the outcome of Commission decisions.  

Colorado Statutes ensure the COGCC Commissioners represent a diverse range of perspectives within the Commission's nine members.  The Commission is currently structured to oversee the oil and gas industry while striving to protect Colorado's communities, residents, and our natural resources. We want to keep it that way! 

The Commission issued the third-largest number of drilling permits in Colorado history this past year -- even with a more-balanced representation. But apparently this is not good enough for the industry. 

HB 11-1223 would fill most of the seats of the COGCC with industry members, and would:

  • Change the Commission into a regulatory body of a majority of oil and gas industry insiders.
  • Reduce the range of informed perspectives currently guiding Colorado's oil and gas policies.
  • Allow the Commission to be altered from its citizen-expert status into a regulatory body that privileges industry qualifications.
Take action and send your comments today!

RMC Solar PanelsFEATURED GROUP: The Indian Peaks Group (Boulder County)

Solar Gardens Spectacular!

Community Solar Gardens are jointly owned solar arrays, and they are happening in Colorado. In March, the Sierra Club-Indian Peaks Group hosted an information panel in Boulder on community solar gardens. Many people are excited by the idea -- 160 people packed into an auditorium to learn more.

The Sierra Club wants to organize one of the first community solar gardens in Colorado. We face much competition, though: many people want to subscribe to one, but the PUC limits how much power can be provided by solar gardens. If you're interested in solar gardens, contact Rebecca Dickson at

Check out the Indian Peaks Group's latest activities from their website, here:

You can check out all of the latest actions the groups are involved with by finding your group here:

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 nation-wide!  Believe it or not, there's only one RMC chapter staff person right now, the Director, working with over 150 great volunteer leaders in the chapter and groups.  So it's critical that you contact us right away, even if you're 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 our volunteer-interest form on our website here:

Together as an organized movement we will win!

Outings Leaders

Colorado is a hiker's mecca in America.  We're getting ready for a great spring, summer and autumn full of outings.  Right now, we have a task force that is searching for potential outings leaders!  Is that you?  Sierra Club is known for great outings with trained volunteer leaders.  Let us train you to be one of them!  We're looking for 4 to 7 team leaders.  Contact for additional information.   

Conservation Support Team Leaders

We're looking for specialists to serve on this new support team.  If you answer yes to any one of the following, then you're probably a great fit to join the Conservation Support Team: Are you a people-person?  Are you good with technology?  Are you a practiced media-wrangler?  Can you shape-up any group of passionate people into an organized, goal-driven team?  Is "coordination" practically your middle-name?  Are you familiar with the basic principles  and practices of fundraising?  Can you teach time-managment & workload management practices that help volunteers manage their committments?  We're looking for an entire team of people who can do any one or more of these things!  We're looking for 3 to 6 leaders.  Sign-up with Kirby Hughes now!

Conservation Issue Team Leaders

If you want to go straight to work on a conservation issue in a leadership role, then sign-up using our volunteer sign-up form on our website.  It lists several issues that might fit your fancy.  You will be contacted by one of our volunteer coordinators.  Sign-up here:

Fundraising Team Leaders

As you can tell from the blurb in the top-right column of this newsletter, we're in full-swing of our spring fundraising campaign.  Volunteers play a major role in making 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, we need your help!  Even if you just want to be an assistant to learn and help out, sign-up!  Our team was recently reestablished, and it's not quite a full team yet, so we need more to join!  We're looking for 3 leaders.  Contact Kerry Miller at

Capacity-Building Team Leaders

The chapter recently went through an organizational-design process that revealed we need a team of people who focus specifically on building chapter capacity.  For lack of a better word, "capacity" in this context means leadership development and citizen engagement.  This is a team that is starting from scratch, but is critical to the success of the chapter.  First activity: administer a membership survey.  We're looking for 4 to 7 leaders.  If you're excited to try something new, contact chapter Director, Joshua Ruschhaupt at

Communications Team Leaders

The chapter is launching our conservation campaigns, as you read above, and those campaigns will need a team of people who are focused on helping develop a media strategy and assisting the campaign teams as needed with carrying that strategy out.  "Communications" runs the gamut -- everything from traditional TV, newspaper, radio, and websites, to new media such as blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  If you are interested in serving on the Communications Team, contact Kirby Hughes,

Legal Committee Leaders

The chapter rarely uses legal means to reach our goals, but it's definitely a strategy we employ when needed.  We're looking to re-establish a new Legal Committee that coordinates with our national Sierra Club lawyers, as well as our volunteer leaders who need advice in legal matters.  We're looking for 4 to 7 leaders.  If you are interested in serving on a chapter Legal Committee, contact Kirby Hughes,

Legislative Committee Leaders

We have a great set of current Legislative Committee members -- 5 total, including two former state legislators.  The legislature moves fast and works on everything under the sun in Colorado, so we're recruiting up to 2 more leaders for this committee to learn the ropes and share the workload in this legislative session, and help prepare the chapter for the 2012 legislative session.  You can check out our current legislative tracker here:  Contact chapter Director Joshua Ruschhaupt at

Political Committee Leaders

Our Political Committee Chair recently stepped-down after many successful years in that role. Now we're left with trying to fill those shoes.  This committee seeks a new chair, as well as potential additional new leaders on the Committee.  If you are interested in serving on a chapter Political Committee, contact Kirby Hughes,  


We are at 67% of reaching our $24,000 spring fundraising goal!

Ensure a healthy environment for Colorado! Support your Rocky Monuntain Chapter! 

Contribute Online Today.

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Peak and Prairie

The Peak and Prairie is the official Chapter newsletter.

You can read the current and previous issues of our printed and e-newsletter on the Chapter's newsletter webpage.

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

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Must-See Event: 

Robbie Cox, former three-time Sierra Club President and currently on the Board of Directors, will be the keynote speaker at the University of Colorado at Denver's "Communication Days" event.

  What: 'Blessed Unrest': Communicating for an Environmentally Just & Sustainable Future

  When: Wednesday, April 13th 11:00AM to 12:15PM

  Where: St. Cajetan's Cathedral on the Auroria Campus.  More details.

  Why: Dr. Cox will address the pivotal role of communication in the movements for an environmentally just and sustainable future. Drawing from the title of Paul Hawkins' book Blessed Unrest, Dr. Cox will share experiences from the front lines of this "movement of movements." Confronted with global climate change, environmental racism, and other challenges, students, residents of low-income communities, and citizens across the United States and globally are voicing their concerns and insisting another world is possible.

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Rocky Mountain Chapter | 1536 Wynkoop Street, 4th floor, Denver CO 80202, 303-861-8819 | Contact Us

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