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Peak and Prairie E-newsletter

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

August 2013

Electronic Edition

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




Joshua Ruschhaupt, Rocky Mountain Chapter Director

Colorado Oil and Gas Roundup

By Lauren Swain
RMC Oil and Gas Campaign Team Chair

Alt Oil & Gas Roundup logo

Take action:  If you live in or near Greeley, please attend the upcoming city council meeting at 6:30 pm on September 3, at 919 7thStreet, to show support for a healthy community and express your views on new drilling and fracking operations proposed to begin near homes and schools, and on open space, affecting wildlife.  To contact the council, go here. For more background, read here.

Take action:  If you live in or near Elbert County, please use this alert to ask the Board of County Commissioners to reconsider their rejection of the regulations and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recommended unanimously by their Planning Commission, or to put the recommended measures on the ballot this fall to let voters decide for themselves.

Take action: Please email the Broomfield City Council at to share your views about their current push to quickly sign MOU’s with operators and permit drilling and fracking before citizens are allowed to vote on a 5-year fracking moratorium proposal being placed on the ballot this fall. More from the local group, Our Broomfield, here.  

Please email me at if you would like to help the Rocky Mountain Chapter address the impacts of oil and gas drilling and fracking in any part of Colorado.  Right now, we have a special need for a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leasing specialist on the team.  The BLM leases thousands of additional acres to oil and gas operators every few months, with weak federal rules failing to protect fragile habitats, vulnerable water sources and human communities.  We need to increase our capacity to submit comments and advocate for protection of federal lands in our state.  If you can help, please be in touch. You can also use this Sierra Club alert to express your views about fracking on federal land.


Climate change training offered new insights

By Karen Dike
RMC Communications Team 

Chicago Al Gore Climate Reality Corps

Former Vice Pres. Al Gore, author of "An Convenient Truth," spoke at the recent Climate Reality Leadership Training attended
by Karen Dike

I recently attended the Climate Reality Leadership Training in Chicago. This intense three-day training was amazing.  Almost 1,500 people attended fromall 50 states and 70 countries.  Updated information similar to former Vice President Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” documentary was presented.  Gore spent almost 11 hours helping us understand climate change data; he also presented a message the world needs to hear to avert or at least slow forecasted climate changes.

Sessions were designed to assist attendees in how to change the current narrative on climate change.  One of the first activities we completed was understanding why we are engaging in this mission.  The act of forming one’s personal narrative of engagement is powerful when shared in conversations with others.

My own personal reason for engaging in this work is easily expressed in two words:  My grandchildren.  Many years ago I heard a poem in which a grandchild asked, “What did you do when you knew?”  I want to tell my grandchildren I have worked to ensure they will inherit a world that is not only a place to live but also is still filled with beautiful, wild, and wonderful places.


Go Solar with the Sierra Club
Colorado homeowner switches to solar through Sierra Club Program

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Brune Solar

Sierra Club Executive Director 
Michael Brune was one of the first
to install solar on his roof from 
this Solar Homes program. 

As Jim Hart and his wife Karen relax in the living room of their suburban Centennial, Colo., home, they feel good—very good—about a recent decision they made: to tap the power of the abundant Colorado sun to heat and cool their personal living spaces.

A longtime environmentalist and active outdoors person, Jim grew up in the beautiful Colorado mountains. Like many fellow Coloradans, he understands the value of protecting the natural world and knows how crucial it is for people to find ways to lower their carbon footprints and live in a more environmentally friendly way.

Not only did Jim and Karen recently replace most of their lawn and other outdoor spaces by xeriscaping with native, low-water-use plants that thrive in Colorado’s semi-arid climate, they decided to switch to solar power for most of their energy needs.

They did this by taking advantage of a special Sierra Club partnership with a national solar energy specialist, Sungevity, to install energy-saving solar panels on their roof. The program has been ongoing for the past two years in portions of Colorado and other states around the country.


Step Strong Colorado

Step Strong Colorado!

By David Read
RMC Fundraising Team Chair

Roxborough scenery

Roxborough State Park.

Sign up! 

Our annual Step Strong Colorado! A Benefit to Protect the Environment hike will be held Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, at Roxborough State Park. Participants can choose a hike from four different trails, with varying experience levels from easy to challenging. You can also choose to simply hike or gather pledges and hike for exciting prizes. Parking is free for participants, and so is the food.  So what are you waiting for?  Click here for registration and more information.
Not a hiker or unable to make the trek to Roxborough? Not a problem. Be a virtual hiker and hike with us in spirit, perhaps on a trail at whatever location you may already be.


Featured Volunteer: Carol Carpenter

Sometimes you just have to do it yourself

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team 

Carol Carpenter, a proud tree hugger

Carol Carpenter, a proud tree hugger

I wasn’t planning to be the Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) Volunteer of the Month this month. But the person who originally agreed to accept the honor backed out at the last minute, leaving me with a hole to fill in our August e-newsletter.

Soooo, instead of trying to scramble and find another person (these things always take time), I decided to ask someone I know very well and can pretty much count on (me) to get the job done.

I am a reporter/writer/editor for the RMC Communications Team. Although I have held this volunteer position only since May 2012, I have been a Sierra Club member since 1995. I was formerly the kind of member who just paid her yearly dues and responded to an occasional action alert if something came up that especially ignited my fire and frustration. And in the world of protecting the environment, there is ALWAYS such an issue. I wish I had responded more often than I did.


Robo Museum August cartoon
View larger version...


Facebook Photo Contest

August Facebook photo contest winner

  Photo by Ed Ogle

Congratulations to Ed Ogle! He is the winner of our July "Summer Vacation" Facebook Photo Contest.  

Enter our Facebook photo contest!

Did you know that we have a monthly photo contest? The theme for the August contest is "Stormy Weather." Submit your best stormy weather 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!

Priority Conservation Campaign: Oil & Gas Campaign
The Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter's most organized campaign is launching, 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 organize, or help an organizer in your home, city, 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 Lauren Swain, at

Legislative Committee Leaders
We're recruiting for the 2014 legislative session!  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  The intervening time between legislative sessions is a time to prepare for the upcoming session, and to train volunteers and activists how to be most effective in their lobbying.  Contact this committee at

Communications Team Leaders 
The Communications Team is currently very strong, however, they are looking for reporters and Convio/Listserv Administrators.  (Not familiar with Convio or Listserv email systems, but learn fast? Don't worry, we have professional trainers.)  Contact the Communications Team, 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
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.  Have you ever wanted to lead your own fun or conservation-minded hikes?  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 Joshua Ruschhaupt, at

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 recently been appointed, and could use your input!  If you're interested in helping out with that effort, just send a quick note to the Leadership Team Chair, Mathew Elsner, at

RMC Roaring Fork Group Leaders
The Roaring Fork Group is looking for new and energetic leaders to volunteer to help out with fighting oil & gas drilling proposals on the Thompson Divide, west of Carbondale, and south of Glenwood Springs.  The Group is also pursuing Wild and Scenic status for the Crystal River!  You should live within the Roaring Fork Group boundary: Pitkin County, Eagle County in the Roaring Fork Valley or Fryingpan Valley, or eastern Garfield County.  They're also looking for volunteer leaders interested in helping lead the Group itself.  Get in touch with Mark Stevens, RFG Executive Committee member, at

RMC Weminuche Group Leaders
The Weminuche Group is currently not a running group, due to a lack of volunteer Executive Committee leaders, and the Rocky Mountain Chapter knows there are many Sierra Club members and supporters in the region who care deeply about exploring, enjoying, and protecting Southwest Colorado.  We're looking for new and energetic leaders to volunteer to become outings leaders, fight the oil & gas industry, advocate for healthy public lands, and more! You should live within the Weminuche Group boundary: San Miguel, Dolores, Montezuma, San Juan, La Plata, Hinsdale, Mineral, or Archuleta Counties.  Get in touch with Joshua Ruschhaupt, at

Continue reading the list of available volunteer opportunities...

Blue Ribbon
Your Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter Communications Team has been selected as the 2013 national Sierra Club Communications Award winner!

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In this issue:

  • Director's Message
  • Oil and gas roundup
  • Climate change training offered new insights
  • Colorado homeowner switches to solar through Sierra Club program
  • Step Strong Colorado, a Sierra Club benefit hike to protect the environment
  • Featured Volunteer: Carol Carpenter
  • Cartoon: Frackenstein, Episode 4
  • 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!

Sierra Club Solar Homes 2013

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 partners 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:

  Step Strong Colorado! A Sierra Club Benefit Hike to Protect the Environment

Step Strong logo color w SC info

Hike and Have Fun for a Purpose at "Step Strong Colorado!" A Sierra Club Benefit Hike to Protect the Environment.

Please join us for this year's premier outdoor fundraising event to promote and preserve Colorado's environment, wilderness areas and outdoor recreation spaces.

We will be hiking the scenic trails of Roxborough State Park, which offers 4 levels of hiking experience for you to choose – from easy to challenging --with some spectacular views of red rock and sandstone formations along with diverse, dazzling flora and fauna. Do one or several trails – there is truly something for everyone of any level of skill or interest.

For more information please visit our sign-up page. 

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Featured Outings

Canoeing on the Upper Colorado River

State Bridge, CO (155 miles NW of Denver)

Saturday, August 24, 2013
8:30 AM

Looking for a paddling experience but not sure what you’ll find on the ‘Net?  Why not consider joining other GLS members for a fun day of canoeing down the beautiful Upper Colorado River? We’ll begin at the State Bridge launch ramp and float through 15 miles of canyon country—a stunning landscape of pine trees and multi-colored sandstone formations—ending at the Catamount State Recreation Site. No prior canoeing experience is necessary as river conditions will vary between flat and easy Class I water.

This outing will be conducted by Centennial Canoe Outfitters (CCO) for GLS, and is not open to the general public. CCO will provide all the equipment; experienced guides; and breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinking water, and lemonade. GLS facilitators Kate and Mike have done previous trips with this company and it comes highly recommended.

The trip begins with breakfast at 7 a.m. at State Bridge, about 2.5 hours driving time from Denver, and concludes in mid-afternoon.  Consider making a weekend out of it by camping nearby at the Catamount take-out site or staying at a hotel in Glenwood Springs, Beaver Creek, or Eagle.  Centennial can offer suggestions for lodging.  Total trip cost is $145 per person (not including guide tip).

NOTE: This is not an official Sierra Club/GLS outing. It is conducted solely by Centennial Canoe Outfitters. For more information and to reserve a place on the roster, visit CCO’s web site at . This link takes you directly to the page describing our GLS trip; from there you can navigate the entire site. If you would like to contact someone in the office by phone (720-283-0553) or e-mail ( be sure to reference the GLS trip, August 24.

Also, feel free to contact one of the GLS facilitators, Kate ( or Mike (303-550-3701 / We can e-mail you a “trip packet” with detailed information and a map. Don’t wait too long to register—this is sure to fill up fast!


 Hike & Write Event: Mount Falcon Park

Mount Falcon Park, 21004 Mount Falcon Road, Morrison, CO (map)

Sunday, August, 24, 2013
8:30 AM

Join the Sierra Club for a fun combination of writing and hiking as we enjoy one of the last days of August.  The hiking section of our day will consist of an easy 3 mile hike, and we will break for two writing/sharing sessions during the day.  The writing will consist of haiku and descriptive prose.  I, Colleen Finnerty, shall be your fearless Sierra Club leader and contact person for this outing ([masked]; [masked]), but our guide for the outing will be Dr. Richard F. Fleck. Dr. Fleck is a former seasonal park ranger, naturalist and professor of American literature and environmental writing, author of a number of books including latest Desert Rims to Mountains High (Portland: West Winds Press, September 4, 2013).

The outing takes place in the lovely Mount Falcon Park (my personal favorite JeffCo open space).  You can find information about the park, including a printable pdf map, here:

Please bring a paper tablet with a pen or pencil, sunscreen, water and, as always, the ten essentials.

Please contact me with any questions and keep in mind that I will not be available after 7am the day of the outing because I do not own a cell phone.  Plan accordingly.  If you would like to carpool, please leave a message on this page with your location so that other people can contact you to arrange pickup time/place. 

This is the first outing which is sponsored by the new Denver Metro Network of the Sierra Club, so please show your support and sign up.

For more information and to register, vist our Meetup page.

 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!

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.