Sierra Club
Having trouble receiving our email? Try adding us ( to your Address Book.

View a web version of this email.

Peak and Prairie E-newsletter

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

August 2012

Electronic Edition

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

"ARE We Ready?"

AREDAY Panel with Sen. Schwartz and Carl Pope

Colorado Senator Gail
Schwartz and Former Sierra
Club Executive Director Carl
Pope on a panel discussing
"The Role of Natural Gas in a
Clean Energy Economy" at
Friday's AREDAY Summit in
Aspen, CO. 

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the American Renewable Energy Day, or AREDAY, Summit in Aspen, CO.  Many of the country's leading experts were speaking there, including our former Sierra Club Executive Director, Carl Pope.  

Carl had an interesting title to his presentation, "Why We Need Cheap Oil to Protect the Environment and Climate."  I was originally skeptical, but through his presentation, he convinced me, quite logically and informed with data, that we don't actually want high oil prices if we are to stave-off the worst carbon-sources.

I'm certainly not going to do his presentation justice, but my big takeaway from it was from one slide that showed the spectrum of oil sources by category.  He showed that traditional sources fall within "normal" oil prices, while many experimental and expensive sources of oil, like oil shale (where you have to heat rock formations to 700+ degrees to extract the oil) become economically viable when the price of oil is high.

The basic point is that the cheaper the market price of oil, the more oil sources that are expensive to extract stay in the ground.  That's one of the things we want.  

There are, of course, arguments that high oil prices equate to a reduction in consumption, and an increase in more fuel efficient vehicle sales, as has been occuring from the beginning of our current recession with higher fuel prices, but the source of the oil used may matter to our climate even more.  It's "game over" if we extract and burn those expensive sources.

The worst carbon offenses to the planet will occur from the extraction of the most expensive and dirtiest sources of oil.  Not only that, but expensive oil prices also mean opening new fields, which equates to new development in formerly undeveloped lands. 

Are we ready for a day when the United States is run on renewable energy alone?  At the RMC, we envision that day every day, and work hard to make it happen.  

AREDAY Summit Panel on Water & the West

Water & the West panelists
(R to L) moderated by Ken
Neubecker of Western Rivers
Institute, and with panelists Kevin
Patrick, a water attorney,
Brad Udall of NOAA Water
Assessment, Filmmaker
Jamie Redford, and Peter
McBride, Photographer and

There was also a great panel on "Water & the West."  I was enthralled to hear the discussion, and needless to say, the entire panel was strongly in favor of making sure we keep fighting for the Colorado River so that it can one day reach the Gulf of Mexico (it hasn't since about 1997, they said).

Speaking of events, the RMC now has a page where you can sign-up for many of our outings and events!  We launched the site last Saturday, and we already have 98 members!

This is an exciting new avenue to bring in new people to the chapter, since has such a large Colorado following.  There are thousands of people who actively use that website, and the whole point of the website is to "meetup" off-line and in-person.  

Just go to to join and sign-up for any of our offerings!  Be sure to sign-up for our Featured Meetup!  This joins our Facebook and Twitter pages to continue to build our chapter's exposure.

We're hiring!
Know someone who is looking for a job in fundraising?  We're hiring a Development Coordinator at the RMC!  Pass the link on to your friends here.  We're also looking for many volunteer roles to be filled, including an urgent need for reporters!  Check out the full list in the last article below.

Thank you for all you do, 

Joshua Ruschhaupt, Rocky Mountain Chapter Director
P.S. If you haven't yet, sign-up to see if solar is right for you!  Read the solar story below, and follow the link to sign-up for a free online estimate to go solar!  

 Is a solar home right for you?

By Carol Carpenter

Go Solar with Sierra Club

More than 231 homeowners across the country have switched to solar homes through a new and affordable program offered by Sierra Club and Sungevity, a California-based solar specialist. Could you be the next homeowner to be added to the growing list?

The program offers many Sierra Club members and supporters in Colorado an affordable opportunity to add energy-saving solar panels to your home. While not all areas of Colorado are covered by the program at this time, Sungevity expects to add more coverage areas as the program continues. A map is available on the Sungevity Website that specifies exactly which areas are currently covered in Colorado and which are not.


Bear Read Peak & Prairie, by Jim Anderson 

Contact Nichole Shanks for more information about advertising in Peak & Prairie...

Pueblo Mercury Project to reduce toxic mercury risks in Pueblo County

By Carol Carpenter
Pueblo Rainbow

The residents of Pueblo, Colo., are the beneficiaries of a welcome $100,000 grant through the Pueblo Mercury Project (PMP) to help remove mercury from homes, schools, businesses, and other buildings in the local area.

The project will also provide the community with information and educational programs about the risks and proper management of this highly toxic element.

High mercury emissions, mostly from the local steel mill, have been a big problem in the Pueblo area for years, with more reported emissions in Pueblo County than in other parts of Colorado.


Oil & Gas Mythbusters

By Lauren Swain
RMC Oil & Gas Communications Specialist


Renewable energy sources are too expensive compared to fossil fuels. Without large federal subsidies, they are not economically viable.


Renewables have received only a fraction of the subsidies granted to the fossil fuel industry over time.


Solar Homes Banner


Passion for a river tops this Pueblo volunteer's priority list

By Carol Carpenter

Jenny Kedward
Jenny Kedward has worn several volunteer hats in her eight years with Sierra Club's Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC). Currently, an executive member of both the RMC and Sangre de Cristo Group, Jenny has focused mostly on water quality issues, but she has also found time to "dabble" in air quality and energy efficiency as well.

"I've had many titles in the Sierra Club, ranging from chapter chair to just another happy member on a hike," Jenny says.

Jenny was introduced to the Sierra Club while attending college at Colorado State University-Pueblo, earning a B.S. with an emphasis in environmental health. There she discovered that her biology professor was an Executive Committee member of the local chapter.


Children meet wolves up close and hungry

By Michael Le Desma
Chair, Boulder Valley Inner City Outings

When we awoke after our first night at camp, we found ourselves and the children in our care surrounded by many hungry, slavering wolves. Thirty-seven wolves stared at us, all eager to bolt down fresh meat like…well…wolves will do.

Wolf photo 1 

Does this sound eerily like a movie plot? It's not. It's a real experience our Boulder Valley Inner City Outings (ICO) volunteers provided for several children (ages 10-15) from the Project YES! program in Lafayette, Colo. Offering this unique outing experience was Mission: Wolf, a non-profit, educational wolf sanctuary near Gardner, Colo.


Showcase your photos in RMC's new Facebook photo contest

With all that wandering about in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, no doubt you have a great scenic photo that could become a winner in the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter's (RMC) newly launched Facebook photo contest.


Photo by Michael Ace
Photo courtesy of Michael Ace.

This month's theme is "mountain(s)." Your photo could be composed of one great, gorgeous mountain or a cluster of several awesome peaks. It could be taken from a distance or up close and personal. It could have been snapped at sunrise, sunset, or high noon─anytime of the day or night. Maybe you have a great autumn or winter vista. The main thing to do is post it on RMC's Facebook page right now.

To participate, visit our RMC Facebook page at Read the rules posted in the "notes" section by clicking the menu arrow to the right of "events" and submit your photo to our wall.


Fracking Cartoon, 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

Together as an organized movement we will win! 

Continue reading the list of volunteer opportunities...

In this issue:
  • Director's Message
  • Is a solar home right for you?
  • Advertising in Peak & Prairie
  • Pueblo Mercury Project
  • Oil & Gas Mythbusters
  • Featured Volunteer:
    Jenny Kedward
  • Inner City Outings: Children Meet Wolves
  • Facebook Photo Contest
  • "True" Tales of Eco-Disaster Comic
  • Volunteer Leadership Openings
  • Sidebar:
    • Donate!
    • P&P Archive
    • Be a member!
    • Facebook
    • Must-See Event
    • Featured Outings
    • Wish List
    • Story Idea?

Newsletter Line

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.

Newsletter Line

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.

Newsletter Line


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

Newsletter Line

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!

Newsletter Line

Like us on Facebook now!

Become a fan of the
Rocky Mountain Chapter on Facebook to get our latest updates and relevant news, or Meetup to join our latest activities, activism, and avocacy events. We're on Twitter, too!

Newsletter Line

Must-See Event:
 Step Strong, Save Our Lands Hike-A-Thon

Roxborough State Park
Roxborough State Park.
 Photo courtesy of Colorado Department of Natural Resources

We will hike the scenic trails of Roxborough State Park, which offers four levels of hiking experience from which to choose.

From easy to challenging, the hike offers spectacular views of red rock and sandstone formations and diverse, spectacular flora and fauna.

When: Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where:  Roxborough State Park

Why: Combine your love of hiking with taking action to save the environment.

Also, you can compete for awesome prizes such as:

  • One night's stay at Hotel Colorado in Glenwood with passes to Glenwood Caverns   Adventure Park
  • One night's stay at Tiredhouse Bed & Breakfast in Salida
  • Jacket from Patagonia
  • Signed hiking and snowshoeing trail books by Sierra Club's own Alan Apt

How: Choose the trails and amount of hiking you want to do. Then use the pledge form
to get donations or pledges for each mile you hike. (Sponsor pledges/donations are not required to participate, but will further your contribution and put you in the running for prizes.)
Click here for more information, and get your tickets today! 

Newsletter Line

Featured Outings


Happy Hour in the Hills
White Ranch Park

Friday, Aug. 24
4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

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 two Fridays a month (through September) out in the foothills on short hikes that range in distance between 2 and 4 miles round-trip. This hike is 2.4 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 280 feet.

This hike will lead us to several buildings that were once part of the Paul White homestead. We will pass through ponderosas, a creek, and will have stunning views of the Table Mountains, Ralston Buttes and the beautiful high plains.

This hike is rated easy and will have several stops so that we can chat and get to know one another because it IS happy hour after all!

For more information and to register, contact Colleen Finnerty (303-388-1058) by 10:00 a.m. on Aug. 22.

Mt. Audubon Hike
Indian Peaks, Boulder County

Sunday, Sept. 9

This hike takes you to the top of one of Colorado's nicest 13ers with great views of the Indian Peaks, Long's Peak and Mt. Meeker.

From the Mitchell Lake trail head, it is about a 4.5 mile ascent on a good trail with just under 3000 feet elevation gain. The last half mile before the summit is a difficult (but not dangerous) climb up a talus field.

Due to afternoon storms, we will have an early start (leaving the trail head no later than 8:00 a.m.). This hike is limited to 10 people. Contact Andy Gerber if you are interested in this hike. Please provide your phone number so Andy can follow up and answer any questions you have about gear and recommended fitness level.

This hike is rated at "advanced" and we will take a moderate/fast pace. There is a $9 per carload entry fee to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area.

Contact Andy Gerber for more information.

Pikes Peak Leaf Hike

Saturday, Sept. 22
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Join Pikes Peak Sierra Club for a hike along a section of the Ring the Peak Trail on the west side of Pikes Peak during aspen season.

We can never predict for sure, but hopefully the aspen will be at or near their peak. Learn what the Sierra Club is doing to help protect Pikes Peak, working with other groups such as the Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition and Wild Connections.

This hike will be approximately four miles with an elevation gain of 600 feet and is rated moderate.

For more information, or to sign up, contact Jim Lockhart (385-0045).

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.

Newsletter Line

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!

Newsletter Line

Story Idea?

If you have a story idea for the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter Peak and Prairie, just send a quick email to

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!

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

Update My Profile | Manage My Email Preferences | Update My Interests | Unsubscribe

Header Photo Credit: Communications Team volunteer Bill Bruner.