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Peak and Prairie E-newsletter

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

April 2013

Electronic Edition

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

"Celebrate Earth Day!"

Joshua near the Continental Divide.

I celebrate the Earth by doing 
something where there's
a really amazing view, the colder
and snowier the better. 

This month's e-Newsletter is packed full of helpful things.  But before I highlight a couple of them, I would like to give my sincere "thank you" to more than 150 of you who have so far answered our mailed and emailed call for your financial support.  We are only as successful as our fundraising results allow. 

Those of you who have and those of you who are digging through your mail or will eventually make a contribution are the folks who are really propelling us forward.  Our work succeeds because we have financial supporters, from small to large contributions.

If you've already made your contribution, thank you.  If you're planning to make your contribution very soon, thank you.  If you've shared our needs with your friends and family, asking them to make a contribution, thank you.  If you are, right now, pointing your mouse at our big green "DONATE ONLINE" button in the sidebar, thank you!  And if you are willing to help us by making fundraising phone calls on our behalf, let me know (and thank you)!

Legislative Session

This legislative session is hitting its stride with regard to bills that relate to our mission.  Specifically, renewable energy and oil & gas bills are our highest priorities right now.  

Be sure to read Mary Edwards' article below to see five different action alerts with which we'd really like your support.  Share them with your friends and family as a great way to get more comments to your legislators.  Don't hesitate to call or meet with them to share our positions on these bills!

Earth Day 

This Earth Day, there are hikes to explore, movies to enjoy, and events where you can show up to protect something! Continue reading this newsletter to find out where you can jump in.

Carol Carpenter reports on a full list of these things from all over the state -- and it's definitely just a highlights list.  A comprehensive list would be incredibly long, so definitely keep your eyes open for local advertising about activities in your area if you cannot participate in one of our reported activities.  

I know you celebrate the Earth every day of the year, or as often as you're able, but this time of year you can meet many people who share your perspective at one of these activities.  And don't loathe the weather -- the Earth (at least here in Colorado) needs more snow!

Thank you for all you do!

Joshua Ruschhaupt, Rocky Mountain Chapter Director

Colorado Legislative Action
By Mary Edwards
Legislative Committee Chair

Mary Coday Edwards
Mary Edwards
 Legislative Committee Chair

With less than a month left of the session, bills are rapidly making their way through the Capitol's corridors of power, and we need your help to protect Colorado's environment! We are supporting FIVE bills that will promote renewable energy and help clean up the oil and gas industry.

Take a few minutes to tell your elected officials you want them to vote for cleaner energy in Colorado!

Take Action!Read more and send in your own comments now...

Shortcut to the alerts: 

Earth Day events abound in Colorado

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Earth Day 2013

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, was the beginning of an annual movement that energized and activated millions of Americans to seek and find ways to protect the natural environment of our country and planet. In Colorado, the tradition continues this year with numerous public events around the state, both on Saturday, April 20, and on the actual Earth Day, Monday, April 22.


Denver's west light rail service begins April 26

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Denver West Light Rail Line

Click image to enlarge.

The much-anticipated 12.1-mile west rail line that will serve Denver, Lakewood, Golden and Jefferson County will open Friday, April 26, 2013.

The grand opening ceremony will be held on April 26 beginning at 10:30 a.m., at the Jefferson County Government Center's Golden Station. There will be free rides on the line following the ceremony, starting about noon.


Photos of wolf sanctuary first in contemporary landscape photography series

By Mike Whiteley
RMC Outings Leader

Mike Whiteley 1

Most of you know who Ansel Adams is, but did you know that he got his start as a photographer working for the Sierra Club? He started as a janitor but then later took outings photos for the club. Later he served as a member of the board of directors for 37 years. His pictures and photography were used by the club, and his conservation ethic influenced and inspired many future photographers and environmentalists.


Gunnison River canoe trip planned for June

By the RMC Outings Team

Centennial Canoe Image

There will be a leisurely, guided, and outfitted 31-mile trip through the Escalante and Dominguez Canyons on June 7-9. Facilitated by the Sierra Club, the trip will include time for hiking and photography. No previous canoeing or camping experience is needed, and children 6-12 are welcome.


Featured Volunteer: Betsy Kelson

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Betsy Kelson

Often in volunteer groups, a few dedicated and hardworking individuals step in and volunteer for jobs simply because no one else does and because the jobs need to be done. One of those special people−and certainly not the only one in Sierra Club's Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC)−is Betsy Kelson.

Betsy serves as the Mount Evans Group (MEG) chair and also as its Membership and Fundraising chairs. She also serves on the RMC Fundraising Committee and is the Executive Committee (ExCom) vice chair.

Second annual hike-a-thon announced for Roxborough Park

By Dave Read
RMC Fundraising Chair

Hike-a-thon participants and volunteers.

Some of the 2012 
hike-a-thon hikers!

Mark your calendars for this year's Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) hike-a-thon at the scenic and majestic Roxborough State Park, on Saturday, Sept.14.  We'll hike, have fun and raise much-needed funds for RMC. There will be more details in the May Peak and Prairie, but also look for a personal invitation to the event from our Fundraising Team early next month.

This year's hike promises to be even better than last year, with great prizes to compete for and gift bags for all participants. We hope to see you there!  The event contact is Dave Read, Fundraising Chair.


Frackenstein, by James Anderson
View larger version...


Facebook Photo Contest

Marmot, Steve Harbula, April Photo Contest Winner


Congratulations to Steve Harbula! He is the winner of our March "Animals and Wildlife" Facebook Photo Contest.  Steve's photo description: "a curious and likely hungry marmot cautiously approaches along the Booth Lake Trail near Vail."  Some of you may remember that Steve won our September 2012 photo contest with this photo.

Enter our Facebook photo contest!

Did you know that we have a monthly photo contest? The theme for the April contest is "Spring!" Submit your best spring photo today!  Winner gets a free 2013 Sierra Club photo calendar.  Submit your photo now, and tell your friends to LIKE it!

Updated: Volunteer Leadership Openings!


If, after reading through the available roles, 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!

Fundraising Team Leaders
The Chapter Executive Committee just appointed a new Chair for this team, Dave Read, but we're in need of more fundraising volunteer leaders 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, or just want to get started, 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 volunteers. Contact Dave Read at

Legal Committee Leaders
The chapter is currently engaged in some legal battles, and we've 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're looking for one to three more leaders. If you are interested in serving on the chapter's Legal Committee, contact the Legal Committee Chair, Erin Eastvedt, for details at

Outings Leaders
Colorado is a hiker's mecca. We're looking for a few more core-team leaders, and several outings leaders.  Are these you? Sierra Club is known for great outings with trained volunteer leaders. Let us train you to be one of them!  We're really excited to get our outings program working directly on conservation issues, too! Contact Kathy Knipfer at for additional information.

Denver Metro Network Leaders and Activists
The Denver metro area has the highest density of Sierra Club members in the state, and we're very excited to be working on getting it organized.  The new Leadership Team has just been appointed, and could use your input!  If you're interested in helping out with that effort, just send a quick note to Kathleen Butler at:

Continue reading the list of available volunteer opportunities...

In this issue:

  • Director's Message
  • Colorado Legislative Action
  • Earth Day events abound in Colorado
  • Denver's west light rail service begins April 26
  • Gunnison River canoe trip planned for June
  • Featured Volunteer: Betsy Kelson
  • Second-annual hike-a-thon announced
  • Facebook photo contest
  • Volunteer Leadership Openings
  • Sidebar:
    • Donate!
    • Go Solar!
    • P&P Archive
    • Be a member!
    • Facebook
    • Meetup
    • Twitter
    • Must-See Event
    • Featured Outings
    • Wish List
    • Story Idea? 

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Donate online!

Support your Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter.

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

Contribute on our secure website today.

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Go Solar!

555 Homeowners partnered with Sierra Club and Sungevity!

If you are the proud owner of a single-family home, and you want to reduce Colorado's climate impact, you can install a solar system on your roof!  

Sierra Club RMC parters with Sungevity to employ local, certified solar installers. 

Get your free
solar iQuote now!

Sungevity supports Sierra Club with a great contribution with the completion of every installation we refer to them.  

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Peak and Prairie

The Peak and Prairie is the official Chapter newsletter.

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 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 "Join Now!" to become a member today at just $15!

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Be Social!

Like us on Facebook now!

Follow us on Facebook to get our latest updates and relevant news, or on Meetup to join our latest activities, activism, and advocacy events. We're on Twitter, too!

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Must-See Event:

   Wild and Scenic Film Festival Tour

Earth Day 2013

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

WHO: Sierra Club RMC Pikes Peak Group and the Armstrong Theater.

 This Earth Day event features environmental and adventure films that illustrate the Earth's beauty, the challenges facing our planet, and the work communities are doing to protect the environment. These films both inform people about the state of the world and inspire them to take action. Go to Earth Month events for more information on this and other happenings in the Pikes Peak region.

 7 p.m., Monday, April 22, Earth Day!

WHERE: Armstrong Theater, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado College, Colorado Springs (map


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Featured Outings

Spring Clean in Denver with the Sierra Club

Meeting at Paris on the Platte (map) and cleaning along the Platte River.

Saturday, May 4, 2013
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

The group will be split in two with one group headed North towards 47th Avenue and the other group headed South towards Phil Milstein Park.

Collectively we would like to try for 6 miles of clean-up coverage, but that's a goal not a requirement. We'll meet back at Paris on the Platte between 12:15-12:30. Trash bags and trash grabbers will be provided by the city's Keep Denver Beautiful Program. Please bring your own work gloves to protect your hands from cuts etc. and bring plenty of water, appropriate clothing, and sunscreen.

Limited to 12 people total and children 13 and over are certainly welcome. All events are rain or shine; only if we have a large snowstorm will the outings be canceled.

Please contact Colleen at or 303-388-1058 to sign up. 


Booger Red Roadless Area Hike

A Pikes Peak Group outing to the Fourmile Creek area southwest of Cripple Creek.

Saturday, May 18, 2013
7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Sierra Club RMC Pikes Peak Group is working with the Wild Connections organization to inventory BLM lands in the Royal Gorge management region to determine their roadless and wilderness characteristics.

Participants will have the opportunity to visit a relatively unknown area, see the latest GPS/camera/tablet technology, and learn how it can be used to record backcountry visits (and also learn who "Booger Red" was and how he got his name).

This moderate all-day hike will cover about nine miles with 800 feet elevation change. Participants should bring lunch, plenty of water, footgear suitable for hiking on rough trails, and clothing suitable to the weather condition, including raingear.

For more information or to sign up for the hike, please email Jim Lockhart, or call at: 719-385-0045. 

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.


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Wish List!

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 or without functional screens and at minimum Windows 2003 as an operating system, XP preferred.

-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  

Be sure to get in touch with the Communications Team if you are a RMC volunteer interested in being featured in an article -- we want to let others know the great work you're doing and who you are!


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Header Photo Credit: Communications Team volunteer Bill Bruner.