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

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

June 2012

Electronic Edition

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

"Go Take A Hike!"

Chimney Rock 

Explore: I recently went on an excursion through southwestern Colorado (I love the San Juan mountains), and met with some potential new volunteers for our Weminuche Group in Durango.  

Aside from great conversation there, I also went to explore Chimney Rock, Colorado for the first time.  That was an experience to remember, and I was thankful for the volunteers of the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association.  

The volunteer interpreters bring the historic theories vividly alive (the civilization who lived there didn't have a recorded history). They're almost competitive about who knows more about their surroundings, and I'm kind of a sponge for that sort of thing.  Wonderful.  

They were glad to hear that Sierra Club fully supports Chimney Rock to become a national monument. U.S. Senators Udall and Bennet, as well as U.S. Representative Tipton, all support it, too!

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Enjoy: Prior to that, I enjoyed my Memorial Day weekend camping in Great Sand Dunes National Park, hiking up some of the tallest sand dunes in North America.

Standing at the top, looking over the landscape, I was reminded how much our conservation work really makes a difference, and that the various levels of government protection statuses are critically important.  It's easy to be reminded of such things in Colorado by just getting out there.

'Tis the season for hiking, and the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter is working on a "Hike-A-Thon" fundraiser for later this summer, where you can volunteer to help put on this fundraiser to help us fund all of our great work! All the event participants have to do is to get friends and family to give contributions/pledges for the hiking they do at the event!

For details, and to sign-up as a volunteer (high-priority need is with folks with EMT or first aid certification, among others), to give one of our needed in-kind gifts or loans of equipment (such as radios), or if you know of a Sierra Club friendly buisiness who might be interested in sponsoring the event or donating a cool prize, please contact the Fundraising Team Chair, David Read.

Speaking of volunteering, our Communications Team is very eager to fill the open roles they have: 1) social network specialist, 2) webmaster(s) with Drupal experience, and 3) advertising specialist.  Contact them to find out more.

Protect: One of the things that we're really trying to communicate right now is our Solar Homes Campaign.  We really need YOUR HELP in spreading the word among your friends and family that right now is the time to check to see if your single-family home is right for solar energy.  

Even if you think you can't afford solar, think again.  This program is designed so that there is no up-front cost to the homeowner, if you choose to lease the solar panels from Sungevity, instead of purchasing.  For details, read the "Rooftop Revolution" story below.

But there's more!  You are given $750 at the completion of the installation!  AND the RMC receives critical funds for our work!  AND, you're decreasing your use of fossil fuels to power your home!  We're providing you a solution you need to help get Colorado off coal and natural gas, and it keeps your energy costs low for the next two decades, while fossil fuel rates skyrocket.

The final subject I wanted you to get a little update about is the chapter's oil & gas campaign.  There is a great new oil & gas mythbusting article waiting for you to read, below.  

We're really excited about this campaign, and its possibilities.  You may have recently heard about the Club's newly renamed "Beyond Natural Gas" campaign, which aligns it better with our policies.  Well, the RMC is a big part of the campaign in Colorado (we ARE the campaign in Colorado).  

So you'll understand when I say that at this early phase in building this campaign, your financial and volunteer support are critical to us right now.  If you're interested in supporting the Club financially, including this campaign, we urge you to use the chapter's secure contribution link.  If you are interested in volunteering, we urge you to sign-up on our website.  We're recruiting folks to help at all levels of the campaign, throughout Colorado.

Have a great summer!
Joshua Ruschhaupt, Rocky Mountain Chapter Director

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‘Rooftop Revolution’ offers affordable solar power for your home

By Carol Carpenter
 Go Solar!
Click here to find out
more!

As a Sierra Club member or supporter, wouldn’t you love to make your home more environmentally friendly─and also save money─by installing solar panels? Good news! Solar power just got a big boost in Colorado with an exciting new and affordable plan to switch your home energy use to this reliable and renewable energy source.

Calling the venture a “win for you, a win for the planet, and a win for the Sierra Club,” Brune, in late May, said homeowners who convert to solar this summer can lock in an affordable electricity rate, protect yourself against rising electricity rates for the next 20 years, and free yourself from dirty energy with no upfront investment. The initiative will also create a variety of clean-energy jobs that will help the overall economy.

Read more...
Oil & Gas Mythbusters

[object Object]By Lauren Swain
RMC Oil & Gas Communications Specialist


Industry Myth Number 2:

There is little cause for concern about the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid, because many of them are similar to those found in common household products.


FACT:

Even household chemicals are responsible for thousands of deaths across America each year, due to accidental poisoning via inhalation and ingestion.

Read more... 

FEATURED VOLUNTEER: Linda Batlin

Indian Peaks Groups Executive Committee; Representative to RMC Executive Committee

By Mary Coday Edwards

Linda Batlin

“I joined the Sierra Club because of a quarter horse named Lady,” Linda jokes.

Explaining further, Linda said how in 1974 she participated in a National Sierra Club horseback trip to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, which required membership in the Club.

”I was so struck and awed by the natural beauty I experienced in those two weeks that I decided I needed to work to protect places like this so people could also experience the wilderness. This is what I have tried to do since then.

Read more...

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Watch this space! We will feature inspiring stories from a different Sierra Club volunteer each month!


Listening to the Trees

By Mike Whiteley, Sierra Club RMC Outings Team Member

When I walk in the woods what do I see and hear? Do the trees really speak to me? When I walk alone I feel closer to nature than when I am with others. I also spend a lot of time taking pictures deep in the woods. This is my way to connect most closely with nature, which works best if I am alone.

Tree (Small)

Though I do spend some of my time hiking alone, I also lead or join others on hikes as well. I enjoy both types of hikes and like helping others see new and different places they may not have been to or seen before. I like watching people make their own connections with nature.

This is the basic idea behind Sierra Club outings: helping people enjoy and explore the world, with the hope they will then want to protect all they have seen.

Read more...


"Unintended Consequences" - Jim Anderson
Click to enlarge...

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 http://rmc.sierraclub.org/volunteer.shtml.

Together as an organized movement we will win!

Priority Conservation Campaign: Oil & Gas Campaign

The Sierra Club's most organized campaign is getting ready to launch soon, and you can help!  We're working on recruiting the few final candidates for the core leadership team, and we're also looking for volunteers throughout the state who can lead, or help a leader with organizing in your home town or rural area.  The goal is to build a network of volunteers throughout the state who learn about the industry, its practices, and what you can do about it locally.  Sign up with Joshua Ruschhaupt at joshua.ruschhaupt@sierraclub.org.

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? Are you willing to be trained on any of the above?  We're looking people who can do any 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 joshua.ruschhaupt@sierraclub.org.

Communications Team Leaders 

The Communications Team is currently very strong, however, they are looking for a webmaster, social media specialist, a marketing specialist (advertising), and a couple more reporters.  Depending on your level of experience, skillsets, interests, and available time, some of the above can be combined into one volunteer role.  Contact them at rmc-communications-team@lists.sierraclub.org.

Legislative Committee Leaders

We have a great set of current Legislative Committee members.  The legislature moves fast and works on everything under the sun in Colorado, so we're recruiting a few more leaders for this committee to learn the ropes.  You can check out our current legislative tracker at http://rmc.sierraclub.org/tracker.shtml. Contact this committee at rmc-legislative-comm@lists.sierraclub.org.

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 http://rmc.sierraclub.org/volunteer.shtml.

Continue reading the list of volunteer opportunities...


In this issue:
  • Director's Message
  • Go Solar!
  • Oil & Gas Mythbusters
  • Featured Volunteer:
    Linda Batlin
  • Listening to the Trees
  • "True" Tales of Eco-Disaster Comic
  • Volunteer Leadership Openings
  • Sidebar:
    • Donate!
    • P&P Archive
    • Be a member!
    • Facebook
    • Must-See Event
    • Featured Outing
    • Wish List
    • Story Idea?

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Donate online!

Support the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter's Oil & Gas campaign by making a contribution
right now.
 

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


Contribute on 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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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 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. We just surpassed 800 new Facebook friends!


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Must-See Event:
 Don't Frack Aurora’s Schools!

Talk About Fracking - convio.jpg

Who: Concerned parents and citizens of Aurora

What: Join Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, and What the Frack?! Arapahoe for this public meeting and educational presentation about hydraulic fracturing near Aurora schools. Several schools in Aurora are nearly surrounded by land that has been leased for oil and gas drilling and fracking!

When: 
Tuesday, June 26
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Where:
Murphy Creek School
1400 South Old Tom Morris Rd
Aurora, CO (map)


Why:
As Aurora’s eastern neighborhoods and schools brace for drilling and fracking, the State of Colorado has convened a “Setbacks Stakeholders Group” to consider new setbacks rules.

“Setback regulations need significant improvement,” said Shane Davis of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter. 

“Recent public health studies indicate that negative air quality impacts involving cancer causing chemicals can extend to ½ mile from the well head.”
 
Contact Shane Davis for more information.

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Featured Outings

 
The Crags - Military Spouses and Caregivers


Saturday, June 23

Located on the west side of Pikes Peak, the Crags are spires of rock formed from pink Pikes Peak granite. Dating from Precambrian times, they are a unique geological treasure in Colorado that few people get to see.

The hike is 5 miles roundtrip with 700 feet of elevation gain: an "easy" hike. Though this hike is open to all Sierra Club members and supporters, it is a special invitation to military service men and women, their families and caregivers to enjoy the outdoors together. 

Please bring hiking shoes, rain gear, water, lunch, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Contact Mike Whiteley to sign up (303-776-7396).


Vedauwoo - Southern Wyoming


Gay and Lesbian Sierrans (GLS)

Sunday, June 24

Join GLS for a day of hiking at the Vedauwoo Recreation Area in southern Wyoming. Only a short two-hour drive from Denver, Vedauwoo is a beautiful place filled with fantastic rock formations, creeks and beaver ponds. 

Starting at 8000 feet, we'll do a moderate hike of about 6 miles with only 400 feet of elevation gain. Part of the hike will be off trail and involve some scrambling and bouldering.

Bring sturdy boots, water, lunch, and rain gear/layers for a possible chilly afternoon thunderstorm. This outing is limited to 15 participants.

For more information or to sign up, contact  Mike Whiteley to sign up (303-776-7396).


Dog Friendly Hike
Sourdough Trail

Saturday, July 7

Bring your well-socialized dog on a hike along the Sourdough Trail. There are two beautiful open areas with views of the Middle St. Vrain Valley, the Indian Peaks, a great view of the Continental Divide.

You do not have to have a dog to participate!

Distance: 6 miles roundtrip. Elevation Gain: 700 feet.

Bring: the Ten Essentials, rain gear, a leash, and poop bags.

Contact Ingrid to sign up (303-546-6044).


Weston Peak Proposed Wilderness - Wildflower Ramble

Saturday, July 14
7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Hiking up a tributary of Big Union Creek from Weston Pass Road leads to a scenic wonderland of alpine wildflowers. This high country trip is rated moderate, and will cover five miles and 800 feet of elevation gain.

Participants will learn about wildflowers and the campaign to permanently protect Weston Peak and other nearby Forest Service roadless lands.

This hike is sponsored by the Pikes Peak Group, Wild Connections, and Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition.

For more information and to register, contact John Stansfield (303-660-5849) by 5:00 pm, July 12.


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!

Did your holiday treat you to an upgrade from your old computer? Don't throw it out! The RMC is waiting with open arms to receive your well-loved equipment. 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.

-Working desktop or laptop; PC computers with functional screens and at minimum Windows 2003 as an operating system.

-Mouse pointers.

-Flat screen monitors.

-Portable projection screen.

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


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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.


Beautiful Photos to Share?

If you have a penchant for photography, and you want to share, PLEASE post your photos to the Chapter's Facebook page!  It's summer in Colorado, and everyone would LOVE to see your visions of a beautiful Colorado (or anywhere you've been sauntering for scenery)! We might feature yours at the top of our Facebook wall!




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Header Photo Credit: Communications Team volunteer Bill Bruner.