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Peak and Prairie E-newsletter
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

September 2011

Electronic Edition

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

Power to the People

Power to the People

The Rocky Mountain Chapter wants your ideas, energy, creativity, and most of all -- your volunteerism.  Our conservation work begins with volunteers who step-up to lead, and organize people as a powerful leverage to win.

We have recently completed a survey of our Denver metro area members, and there were many who expressed an interest in suggesting and working on a chapter priority conservation campaign.  Last winter, we created a process that allows any Club member to volunteer to organize a conservation campaign team.

What is a "priority campaign?"  Well, last spring, Joan Seeman stepped-up and suggested an idea (which was approved), organized a team to work on stopping the proposed nuclear power plant in Pueblo, and won!  You may remember that campaign from the April e-newsletter.

A priority campaign is one in which a member applies to have their conservation idea become a chapter priority. If approved by the chapter's Executive Committee, it will be afforded the resources it needs to win, including staff support.

The process to determine these campaigns begins in October, and the Executive Committee makes the final decision in January.  

Since it is September, I wanted to take this space to give you a head's-up that your window of opportunity is approaching to work on and win a campaign!

Your campaign idea should be something that the chapter can and should work on as our mission within Colorado.  If you live in an area with one of the chapter's groups, and your idea is very localized, then you should definitely talk to your group leadership.

If your idea is state-wide in scope, or is a topic that is local, but impacts the region or state (such as a new nuclear power plant), then you've got a chapter priority conservation campaign idea!  

If you're not sure, feel free to contact the appropriate person to develop your idea more -- my "door" is open, too.

Next month, look on our website for the questionnaire application that will allow you to propose your idea!


FEATURED ACTION: Speak Up Now for Clean Air

By Roger Singer
Senior Organizing Manager
Sierra Club Western Region


On Wednesday, September 28, the EPA is holding a public hearing in Denver to receive public testimony on proposed improvements to federal standards that would drastically reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry.

We expect that corporate natural gas drillers will show up in force to oppose these pollution standards. We need you there too, to speak up for clean air!

Read more and take action...

A Walk in the Woods: Cub Lake

By Bill Bruner
Communications Team

cub lake

In the short time that I have been here, one of my favorite places to go on a regular basis is Rocky Mountain National Park. As I continue to write here, I'm sure that I will share many of the trails that I have had the opportunity to explore in this beautiful place. Today, I want to bring you along to Cub Lake.

Cub Lake can be a fairly easy hike; the trail length from the Cub Lake trailhead to the lake itself is only 2.3 miles (or 4.6 miles round trip). My wife Heidi and I decided on this day to make the hike a little more difficult by creating our own loop back to the Cub Lake trailhead. We did this by adding a second hike to the Cub Lake trail, named the Pool. The Pool hike is 1.7 miles one way and this trail ends about 1.2 miles from Cub Lake. By adding this trial and the transition from Cub Lake to the pool and from the Fern Lake trailhead back to the Cub Lake trailhead we hiked approximately 6 miles.


Join us for an Advocacy Workshop: Tuesday, September 20 7:00-9:00 PM

 By Angela Medbery  

The Sierra Club
and Audubon Society will host an Advocacy Workshop at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Denver. We will hear successful advocates speak of tactics at the local, county, and state level. It will be an inspiring event.

You may RSVP to Angela Medbery at 303-433-2608, or come without an RSVP.

Featured Volunteer Opportunity: Legal Committee

By Nathan Cook, Communications Team

GavelAs of Tuesday, the Rocky Mountain Chapter has decided to re-establish the Legal Committee, and has appointed its first member, Erin Eastvedt. The Legal Committee will coordinate with our national Sierra Club Environmental Law Program, as well as our chapter and group volunteer leaders who need advice in mission-related legal matters.

We are looking for three to six more volunteers to fill a variety of roles on the team. If you'd like to volunteer for this team, fill out the online volunteer form today!  Erin will contact you soon.

Updated: 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'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 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

Together as an organized movement we will win!

Outings Leaders

Colorado is a hiker's mecca. We're currently building an outings leadership team. Right now, we have a task force that is searching for potential outings core-team 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 four to seven core-team leaders. Contact Michael Ledesma at 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 questions, 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 management and workload management practices that help volunteers manage their commitments? We're looking for an entire team of people who can do any one or more of these things! We're looking for three to six leaders. If you're a "Jack or Jill of all trades," or a quick learner, we want you for this team! Sign up with Joshua Ruschhaupt at

Conservation Issue Team Leaders

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

Fundraising Team Leaders

We're in need of more fundraising volunteers 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, 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 leaders. Contact Chapter Director Joshua Ruschhaupt 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 new, but is critical to the success of the chapter. First activity: start talking with potential volunteers! We're looking for up to three more volunteers for this team, preferably with some knowledge of team-building and/or organizing experience. Your actions on this team could last for decades because of the length of time many of our volunteers stay active!  If you're excited to try this, contact Chapter Director Joshua Ruschhaupt at 

Legal Committee Leaders

The chapter is currently engaged in some legal battles, and we've just re-established a Legal Committee that coordinates with our national Sierra Club lawyers, as well as our volunteer leaders who need advice in mission-related legal matters. We just recruited one new committee member, but we're looking for three to six more leaders. If you are interested in serving on the chapter's Legal Committee, contact Chapter Director Joshua Ruschhaupt at

Read the full list of volunteer opportunities...

Donate Online

Do you like coffee?
For the same cost as two
Venti Spicy Pumpkin Lattes
(about $10 per month), 
you could make a HUGE 
difference to protect Colorado!

Use the automatic monthly contribution system, and many people together add-up to BIG contributions!

$10/mo = $120/yr
$15/mo = $180/yr
$20/mo = $240/yr
$25/mo = $300/yr
$50/mo = $600/yr
$100/mo = $1,200/yr

Multiply any of the above by just 10 people, and you see how quickly grassroots fundraising becomes POWERFUL! 

Please support your
Rocky Mountain Chapter.

We depend on your support to do all of this great work, and we need you now!

Contribute on our secure website today.

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Peak and Prairie

The Peak & 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 and political activities, and more.

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Join the Sierra Club

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

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Like us on Facebook now!

Become a fan of the
Rocky Mountain Chapter on Facebook and get our latest updates and relevant news. 

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Must-See Event:

Vanishing of the Bees, Hosted by Amy Fontenot

Vanishing of the Bees poster

Who: Ideal Market, and Adventure Film Festival

What: Enjoy a free showing of the film Vanishing of the Bees. Get educated to help bees and the planet! Learn to make informed decisions in the purchasing choices you make and why. Amy Fontenot, local backyard beekeeper and advocate for all pollinators, will be at this viewing to answer questions after the film.

Friday, September 23 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

REI Boulder
1789 28th St
Boulder, CO 80301

The documentary provides viewers with tangible solutions to apply to their everyday lives.

Limited space available. Please register for this event.

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Featured Outings

Pikes Peak Group (PPG)

Weston Peak Wilderness Addition Hike
(Park County)

Strenuous Hike
Sunday, September 18

Weston Peak is one of the "Wild Ten" areas proposed as wilderness. The Wild Connections Group mapped the area approximately ten years ago, however, the Forest Service has recently revised its roadless area boundaries, and they need to recheck the area to determine the accuracy of the new boundaries and how the area has changed in recent years. 

Participants will have the opportunity to gain experience in GPS mapping techniques used by Wild Connections. This hike will cover five or six miles with about 1000 feet of elevation gain. 

The hike is sponsored by the Sierra Club RMC Pikes Peak Group, Wild Connections, and Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition. Bring the ten essentials. For more information or to sign up, contact Jim Lockhart at 719-385-0045.

Indian Peaks Group (IPG) Classic

Bear, Odessa, and Fern Lakes (Rocky Mountain National Park)

Moderate Hike
Saturday, September 24

Join the IPG on this classic fall hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Stands of Aspen at the beginning and end of the hike make for a stunning fall experience.

This is a moderate hike at 8.5 miles with 1215 feet of elevation gain. Participants will use a car or shuttle bus to get to Bear Lake for the start of the hike.

Bring hiking boots, food for lunch, water and the ten essentials. Contact Mike Whiteley at 303-776-7396. 

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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Wish List!

The Chapter is EVOLVING, and our technology hasn't.  As the saying goes, one person's trash is another person's treasure! If you can offer any of the following in working order, we'd be very grateful! Please do not offer anything that will take more time and/or money to repair than if we spent the money to buy it.

Special thanks to our Executive Committee Vice-Chair Myrna Poticha's "Computer-guy" for contributing a Sony computer!  It's up and running, but we need more!  

-Working desktops or laptops; PC computers with functional screens and at least Windows 2003 as an operating system.

-Flat screen monitors.

-Computer expert to evaluate and fix laptop and desktop PCs. 

Thanks in advance! Contact Chapter Director Joshua Ruschhaupt right away!


Uncle Sam I want You

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

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Header Photo Credit: Communications Team volunteer Bill Bruner.