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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:


Greater Sage Grouse.jpg

Greater Sage Grouse.
From Craig Daily Press, 8/16/13.

And an oo-WIdoo-WIdoo-wup to you, too.

Today, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service announced their newly-minted draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement for public review for public review for the Greater Sage Grouse.

This species of bird is what you call a "keystone species."  It is a species that is like a key-stone in your home's foundation, the rest of the building built atop it is depending on it.  

The same is true for certain species like wolves, mountain lions, or sage grouse.  How we protect, or do not, this "species of concern" will in high liklihood impact the health of the entire ecosystem it depends on, and which depends on it.  

Keep your eyes open for more communications from us about our analysis of this important species, and what you can do to help.  The release of these materials opens a 90 public comment period.  As the Craig Daily Press reported David Boyd, public affairs specialist for the BLM, as saying, "The next step [...] is to find a proposed alternative "that very often contains a blend of alternatives or elements within a range of alternatives." "That's based a lot on the public comment we get," [...] as well as comments from other agencies."  

Hopefully, these agencies will take into account the comment from the greater sage grouse itself, oo-WIdoo-WIdoo-wup, and protect this vanishing species and its habitat.

New West Fest
Be sure to sign up to volunteer to help out our Poudre Canyon Group in Fort Collins this weekend at the New West Fest!  If you can't volunteer, but can make the event, stop by their booth to say hi!

Solar powered cars?
It's possible with today's technology.  If you power your house and the grid with solar panels from the Sierra Club Solar Homes program (which you get paid to do!), and then power your Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius, or Chevy Volt (among others) with power from your home, you'll have a really green ride!  Imagine never paying for gasoline again!

Keep your eyes open for updates as we plan our October Solar Home house party in Centennial!  Some additional details are in the "Must See Event," in the right column.

Denver Inner-City Outings (ICO)
The Denver Inner City Outings help children from front range cities explore, enjoy, and protect our great Colorado outdoors.  September 22nd at 2pm in the Denver area, there will be an ICO leader training event where you can become one of our certified outings leaders to help!  RSVP from our Volunteer Coordinator (host), Daniel Ridgeway, and find out the details from Daniel or Bill Myers.

Thank you for all you do!
Joshua Ruschhaupt, Rocky Mountain Chapter Director

Let's defend Colorado's political, environmental champions

By Myrna Poticha
RMC Executive Committee Member
Calling all activists! Though we all enjoy the fun aspects of being a part of the Sierra Club—such as our Outings Program—it is also critical to become involved in Colorado's political scene if we wish to help protect and preserve the outstanding natural attributes of our state.
As a member of the Chapter Executive Committee, as well as the Legislative and Political Committees, I have seen how critical it is for environmentalists to vote for and support candidates who advocate for our goals. We also need to follow up by working with elected officials to help them enact legislation that furthers our ideals.
Sierra Club has a strong history of endorsing political candidates who embody Sierra Club's mission to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet. However, two of our endorsed legislators who are strong champions of our issues at the State Capitol—Sens. Angela Giron and John Morse—are being attacked with recall efforts based solely on their support for stronger Colorado weapons regulations.


Colorado Oil and Gas Roundup

By Lauren Swain
RMC Oil and Gas Campaign Team Chair

Alt Oil & Gas Roundup logo

Broomfield, CO:
Take Action!

Elbert County:
Take Action!


 Attend the September
3, 6:30 pm Greeley
City Council meeting
at 919 7th Street.

Federal Lands:
Take Action! 

Take action: Use this ALERT to tell the Broomfield City Council to refrain from signing MOU's with operators and permitting drilling and fracking to take place before citizens are allowed to vote on a 5-year fracking moratorium proposal being placed on the ballot this fall.

Take action: Use this ALERT to advocate for clean air and water and public health in Elbert County. Ask the Elbert 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:  Attend the upcoming Greeley City Council meeting at 6:30 pm on September 3, at 919 7th Street, 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.  Contact the Council and read more.


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' ms personal narrative of engagement is powerful when shared in conversations with others.


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

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Jim Hart Solar

Jim Hart now has solar panels installed
on his Centennial, Colo., home.

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!

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

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
  • Let's defend Colorado's political, environmental champions
  • 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 Outing
    • 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:

  Solar house party set for October

Jim Hart Solar

Mark your calendars: Sierra Club's Rocky Mountain Chapter is sponsoring a solar home house party/open house on Saturday, October 12 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., in Centennial, Colo. The event will be held at the home of Centennial homeowner, Jim Hart, who is featured in a separate Peak and Prairie story this month.

Jim has taken advantage of a special program offered through Sierra Club and Sungevity, a solar home specialist that is installing solar panels on homes not only in Colorado but throughout the country.

If you would like to see Jim's solar panels, firsthand, and are interested in learning more about this program and how it can save money on your energy costs, the open house will be the perfect opportunity to do both. 

More information will be coming in September's Peak and Prairie and also in a separate e-mail that will allow you to RSVP for the event. 

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Featured Outing

Hike & Write Event: Mount Falcon Park

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

Sunday, August 25, 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.  Colleen Finnerty, will be your fearless Sierra Club leader and contact person for this outing, but the 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 his latest Desert Rims to Mountains High (Portland: West Winds Press, September 4, 2013).

The outing takes place in the lovely Mount Falcon Park. Information about the park, including a printable pdf map.

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

Please contact Colleen Finnerty with any questions before 7am the day of the outing.  Plan accordingly.  

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

For more information and to register, visit 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!


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

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Header Photo Credit: Communications Team volunteer Bill Bruner.