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Peak and Prairie Enewsletter
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

November 2011

Electronic Edition

[Happy Holidays from the RMC Communications Team! We will not be distributing the Peak and Prairie in December due to the holidays, so please look forward to the next electronic edition of this newsletter in mid-January, 2012!]

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

I Want YOU...

I Want YOU to Make ME Fight Climate Change

I want clear-cut and biomass logging to stop.  I want Cotter corporation to clean up their uranium mines.  I want no more wild animal trapping in Colorado.  I want the 2001 federal roadless rule, not the weak Colorado roadless rule.  I want renewable energy used at scale.  I want polluters to pay and evolve.  I want the clean energy economy to continue to florish in economically difficult times.  I want rivers and streams to be clean and healthy.  I want fresh Colorado air to be void of poisons.  I want the 45,000+ active oil and gas wells in Colorado to not poison their neighbors and the environment.  I want...

The list seems neverending, doesn't it?

These are some of the conservation ideas that float around in my head when I start thinking about what I want to see happen in the beautiful state of Colorado.  

What do you want?  The Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter wants to know what your ideas are too!  

For those of you who use the Facebook, we've started a poll to ask you what you want.  When you're done answering, click on "ask friends" to ask them what they want, too.  You might find out you have something more in common with them.  

"A Facebook poll is all fine and well," you might ask, "but what does that have to do with really making it happen?" Well, the answer lies within you, and all of us.  We all make it happen.  We all make a difference.  

We need to be the change we want to see in the world.  And with the Sierra Club RMC, the way any of us begins to make a Chapter priority conservation campaign is to apply to the Executive Committee to make it happen.  

It's straightforward:  

  1. Define the world how you want to see it (your ideal outcome).
  2. Define your goal(s).
  3. Define your strategy(ies).
  4. Define some of your expected tactics.
  5. Define your timeline.

These are some of the basics you outline to describe how you want to win a campaign.  I'm happy to help you complete the application.  In January, the chapter's Executive Committee will decide from among the applications which will proceed.

Community organizing usually begins with one or a few people who care passionately for something -- they want something.  Then, they organize.  Wants for seeing a better world become needs for making it happen.  

Then, the real fun begins... Need some training? Done.  Need some way to communicate to the Chapter's membership?  Sure thing.  Need some help from staff? Gotcha.  Need some money for expenses? We've got your back.

Using tried-and-true organizing methods, and putting them into practice, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish as a volunteer putting in a few hours per week.

I look foward to reading your ideas in our Facebook poll, and more importantly, to reading your Chapter priority conservation campaign applications.  

I want YOU to apply.


As this will be the last e-newsletter of 2011, I want to thank the hundreds of volunteers and supporters that comprise the internal engine of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter and all of our local groups!  

I know you work hard and give your all to Sierra Club.  Without your strong support we could not accomplish the amazing things that we do.  I look forward to working with you throughout 2012 to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet! 

I look forward to celebrating 2011 with you at the John Fielder gala and benefit on December 16th.  Get your tickets before they sell out!  Invite your friends, too!

Thank you for all you do, and all you give!

Joshua Ruschhaupt, Rocky Mountain Chapter Director


Winter Events Roundup

Celebrate Great Outdoors Colorado
with John Fielder!

John Fielder, Focus Ranch

[This thumbnail doesn't do the 
photo justice.  You'll just have 
to come to the event to see it 
and many others full-scale
and in their full glory.]

Buy Tickets Button 
Join the us for our holiday gala and benefit event featuring nationally renowned photographer John Fielder.

Fielder has worked tirelessly to promote the protection of Colorado's open space and wild places. His photography has influenced people and legislation, earning him awards from many major conservation groups, including the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award. He was an original governor-appointed member of the Board of Great Outdoors Colorado, which uses lottery profits to protect open space and wildlife habitat. He speaks to thousands of people each year to rally support for land-use and environmental issues.

WHEN AND WHERE: Friday, December 16, 2011, 6:30pm. Unity Church of Denver, 3021 S. University Blvd., Denver, CO 80210 (

Read more and buy tickets...


Best Front Range Snowshoe Routes
with Alan Apt

Snowshoe Routes: Colorado's Front Range, 2nd Edition

Buy Tickets Button 
Alan Apt, author and Wilderness Chair for the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter, will host book signing and snowshoe clinics in Fort Collins and Denver that are Sierra Club fundraisers. These instructional clinics will cover basic snowshoeing techniques, what kind of gear to use, what to wear, how to select or buy snowshoes, and how to avoid avalanches. Come and enjoy photos of 80+ beautiful trails, mountain summits, winter lakes, and snowshoeing trails for everyone, from beginners to mountaineers. Help the Sierra Club protect wilderness, water and air quality, and support renewable energy with your ticket purchase and optional donation. 

Admission is $22 and includes an autographed copy of Alan's new book Snowshoe Routes: Colorado's Front Range, 2nd edition (a $24.95 value), the clinic, and a slideshow.  These events benefit the RMC.  

Friday, January 6th, 7:30 PM. New Belgium Brewery, 500 Linden St., Fort Collins, CO 80524 (
map).  Refreshments will be provided. 
Get your tickets for this event here.


Friday, January 20th, 6:30 PM. REI Flagship Store, 1416 Platte St., Denver, CO 80202 (map).

Get your tickets for this event here.


Joint Audubon-Sierra Club Legislative Forum

Save the date! Join us for a potluck lunch and learn about the legislative issues facing our state. A major topic will be the upcoming merger between State Parks and the Division of Wildlife.

WHEN AND WHERE: Saturday, February 4th, 2012.  First Plymouth Church, 3501 S. Colorado Blvd., Englewood, CO 80113 (map).

Admission is $12.00.  Online ticketing will begin in January, 2012, or you can send a check now to: Sierra Club RMC Legislative Forum, 1536 Wynkoop St., 4B, Denver, CO 80202.  

For more information, or to let us know you're bringing a potluck lunch dish, contact
Angela Medbery (303-443-2608).

A Walk in the Woods: Mills Lake

By Bill BrunerCommunications Team


Mills Lake - Bill Bruner

The fall has always been my favorite time of the year. I love the cool mornings, crisp evenings, the blue of the sky, and the colors that abound this time of the year. I believe that knowing the winter is coming makes this time even more precious to me. The days get shorter but I always enjoy being out in nature to enjoy the changes that happen all around me. There is beauty in each season, and I appreciate every season for what it brings to my life but the fall will always be my favorite.



Mary Coday Edwards

You Snooze, You Lose!

One Returning Expatriate’s Perspective on the United States in the 21st Century 

Mary Coday Edwards
There's no easy way to return "home" after 20 years of living abroad. Hiding under the covers indefinitely is not a recommended re-entry strategy.  

Therefore, while most of me was adjusting to English, clean air, potable water
from the faucet, public libraries (oh what ineffable joy!), the part that knew better than to hide out signed me up as a volunteer with the Sierra Club, where I am now Vice-Chair of the Legislative Committee and a member of the Communications Team of the Rocky Mountain Chapter.



Watch this space! January's e-newsletter Featured Volunteer will be Kirk Cunningham, Co-Chair of the Conservation Committee, Rocky Mountain Chapter.

FEATURED GROUP: The Uncompahgre Group (Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Ouray, and SW Garfield Counties)

By Carole Chowen

UG Executive Committee Co-Chair

Recycling BinThe Uncompahgre Group has focused on recycling for several years now. We have been successful in instigating and encouraging recycling in the City of Grand Junction and at several events. The recently completed upgrade to Main Street included the installment of bright blue recycling barrels mounted next to trash barrels.



For more information about the Uncompahgre Group check out our website:

If you're not in the Uncompahgre Group, you can check out all of the latest actions the other groups are involved with by finding your group at: 


Capacity-Bulding Team

This team has one of the most important functions for any non-profit organization -- volunteer recruitment and development. There are a few volunteer leaders already on this team, but we're searching for a few more great candidates: 
  • Recruitment specialist
  • New Volunteer Orientation specialist
  • Committee/Team-building training specialist
  • Campaign training specialist
  • Monitoring and evaluation specialist
  • Sierra Club systems specialist (databases, email, et cetera) 
If you are interested in volunteering to be trained or lead in one of the above roles, contact Joshua Ruschhaupt at

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.

Read the full list of volunteer opportunities...


Please consider making a contribution to the
Sierra Club
Rocky Mountain Chapter before the end of the year!
(Donate online below.)

Donate button jpeg

We need your support to accomplish great feats of environmentalism!  

Happy Holidays! 

Contribute using our secure website 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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Visit the Chapter's events page to find out about outings, conservation and political activities, meetings, and more.

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Join Button

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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Join us on Facebook!

Join us on Facebook and get our daily updates and relevant news. 

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Must-See Event:
Holiday Gala and Benefit Featuring John Fielder


John Fielder heashot, by Craig McNeilPhoto by Craig McNeil

John Fielder, Sierra Club Ansel Adams award winner and nationally renowned nature photographer.

What: "Celebrating 20 Years of Great Outdoors Colorado," holiday gala and benefit.

Friday, December 16, 2011. 6:30pm.

Unity Church, 3021 S. University Blvd., Denver, CO 80210 (map)

 “Mountains to Plains: Documenting 20 Years of Preservation, A Sneak Preview”, will offer visual testimony to the accomplishments by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and its partners to protect Colorado’s natural heritage.

All of John Fielder's books and calendars will be available for holiday shopping (bring your own books in for signing); 30% of gross proceeds returns to the Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Chapter.

A silent auction will be held before the show at 6:30 p.m. with a framed limited edition John Fielder photograph from the project "Ranches of Colorado" plus items from local businesses.

TinyFacebookShareButtonInvite your friends to RSVP! 

Get your  tickets and find more information here.

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Featured Outings

Black Lake Hike
(Rocky Mountain National Park)

Sunday, Dec 4

Join the Indian Peaks Group for this strenuous snowshoe hike in one of the most beautiful areas in Rocky Mountain National Park, Glacier Gorge.

A 10.5 m
ile hike with about 1400 feet of elevation gain through Glacier Gorge past Mills Lake, and finally to Black Lake.

The lake sits below steep walls of granite covered with ice.

Please come prepared for harsh winter conditions. Bring warm clothing, a hat, gloves, snowshoes, food for lunch, water, and the ten essentials.

For more information, contact Mike Whiteley at 303-776-7396.

Full Moon Snowshoe at Brainard Lake
(Boulder County)

Saturday, Dec 10

Join the Indian Peaks Group for this night of hiking during the full moon. This will be an easy hike of 3-5 miles along the road and trails of the Brainard Lake Recreation area near Ward, Colorado, with little elevation gain.

Hiking at night during the full moon is a wonderful experience but Brainard Lake can be very cold and windy at times, so please come prepared for the cold weather.

Bring food, water, very warm clothing, a hat, gloves, snowshoes and a headlamp (with a red light if possible).

For more information, 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.

Correction: Special thanks to our Executive Committee Vice-Chair Myrna Poticha's son for contributing a Sony computer!  It's up and running with volunteers using it weekly!

Our current needs:

-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. 

-Extra land line phones for phone-banking. 

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

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Get to know your RMC group!

RMC Groups Map
Click for full-size map.

The RMC Groups are spread across Colorado as you can see in the above map.  The groups focus on environmental issues within their bounds as shown on this map, and they could use your help if you want to focus on volunteering locally. 

The white areas of the map currently have no organized groups, but the chapter is the default for those areas.  

In southwest Colorado (the blue area), the Weminuche group currently lacks any leadership.  If you're from this area, the group will be disbanded without active leadership soon.  If you are interested in getting involved with the Weminuche Group, please contact Kirby Hughes

The Trapper's Lake Group (the orange area in the northwest corner of the state) and the Blue River Group (the light green portion in the middle/west part of the state) also need an influx of new volunteer leaders.  Click on the map above for contact information for the various group chairs if you are interested in volunteering!

We feature a different group in every e-newsletter, where we explore the activities of each group, and how you can get involved.  Read this month's featured group, the Uncompahgre Group in western Colorado, or check out the archived copies of the Peak and Prairie to read recent feature stories on other groups.


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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