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Peak and Prairie Enewsletter

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

January 2014

Electronic Edition

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

Leading by example.

Chevy Volt
What do Gandhi, Neil deGrasse
Tyson, your RMC Director, and the 
Chevy Volt have in common?
(This article.) 

 Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

[Part 1 of a multi-part series.]

2014, the new year, is upon us. I've always liked the phrase "be the change you wish to see," generally recognized as misquoting Mahatma Gandhi. Less important is who said it, but the statement itself is philosophically intriguing, because of what that means for the planet.

Whatever a utilitarian thinks about their own existence and relationship with the planet: conqueror, the world is my oyster, the one who dies with the most toys wins, et cetera, there is a direct and cumulative impact for living on this planet. Even the most ardent John Muir follower has an impact because we have homes, buy things, go places; we live, even as he did.

The questions are 1) whether or not... 


Michael Brune keynotes RMC Winter Awards Gala

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team
Michael Brune speaks at winter gala

Michael Brune speaks at Winter Gala.

With 16 impressive awards handed out to deserving Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) and other Colorado environmentalists, Sierra Club members and friends enjoyed a festive RMC Winter Gala and dinner in December in Golden.
Highlighting the event was special guest speaker, Sierra Club Director Michael Brune, whose message of optimism in the midst of many ongoing environmental challenges was welcome and appreciated by all Gala attendees.

Update from the Legislative Committee

By Karen Dike
Legislative Committee Chair

I have always loved politics and now am combining that love with volunteering for the Sierra Club. I recently decided to accept the Chapter's offer to chair the Legislative Committee. I hope to successfully fill Mary Edward's large shoes!

Here are two priorities you can expect our committee to focus on this year:
  • We will work with the RMC Beyond Oil and Gas Team to increase regulatory protections and enforcement to reduce oil and gas impacts on our state's health and environment.
  • We will attempt to revise a current statute to make it easier for local municipalities to ban specific non-recyclable items, such as Styrofoam take-out containers. 


Meet Colorado's Beyond Natural Gas rep

By Catherine Collentine
Beyond Natural Gas Colorado Campaign

Catherine Collentine
Catherine Collentine

My name is Catherine Collentine, and I'm excited to introduce myself as the newest addition to the Sierra Club staff as Colorado's Beyond Natural Gas Campaign representative. Based in Denver, I am developing state-based strategies that will keep fracked oil and gas in the ground as much as possible. At the same time I am working hard to ensure that oil and gas production is tightly regulated, monitored and enforced.   

I work in close coordination with the Rocky Mountain Chapter Oil and Gas Team, volunteers and staff to build a strong grassroots campaign. I also train volunteer leaders to influence key decision-makers at all levels on these critical issues, and to protect our air, water and public health.


RMC Executive Committee election results announced

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team  

RMC leaders with Michael Brune
From left, RMC Director Joshua Ruschhaupt and Sierra Club Director Michael Brune are shown with newly elected RMC ExCom leaders Myrna Poticha, Mark Stevens and Dave Bryan. Also pictured is Becky English who was elected in 2012. Not pictured is newly elected at-large 2013 member Gail Bell. 


Four dedicated Sierra Club environmental activists and volunteers have been elected to the Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) Executive Committee (ExCom) for 2014— Myrna Poticha, Dave Bryan, Mark Stevens and Gail Bell.
JoLynn Jarboe, chair of the RMC Elections Committee, recently announced the results of election that was held in November. "Please join me in extending congratulations to our newly elected ExCom members: Myrna, Dave, Mark and Gail," JoLynn said.

Read more... 

Colorado air quality rules need to be stronger

By Catherine Collentine
Beyond Natural Gas Colorado Campaign Representative

Alt Oil & Gas Roundup logo

Successful 2013 ballot measures in Colorado to ban or place moratoriums on hydraulicfracturing ("fracking") built momentum to get harmful emissions regulated in new statewide air-quality standards released in late November.

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission has proposed a set of emissions standards that would, if enacted, lead to a significant reduction in emissions of climate-damaging methane and volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) -- chemicals which contribute to ground-level ozone (commonly known as smog) -- from natural gas drilling and fracking operations in the state.


While these rules are a step in the right direction to regulate the oil and gas industry and would make Colorado the first state in the nation to regulate methane emissions, more action is needed. Colorado is out of compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air-quality standards along the population centers of the Front Range, where four out of five Coloradans live. (Colorado's population is about 5.2 million; more than 4 million live along the Front Range.)


Colorado citizens speak against global warming 

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

climate change graphic

Wearing lapel stickers affirming, "I will act on climate change," scores of Colorado citizens, including several from Rocky Mountain Chapter Sierra Club, spoke last October in Denver in favor of a more stringent federal carbon pollution standard to reduce dirty carbon emissions by power plants.

The citizens, attending public listening sessions held by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), expressed strongly held convictions, backed by scientific research, that carbon emissions are a main cause of climate change and global warming.


Birds and Borders tour set for January is cancelled

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communication Team

Pikes Peak Hiking Outting

The planned Birds and Borders tour to Arizona and Mexico on Jan. 24-26, 2014, has been cancelled, according to Kathy Glatz, trip organizer. She hopes the trip will be available in 2015. The trip is sponsored by Sierra Club's Borderlands Campaign. For more information, please contact Kathy, RMC outings coordinator, at 720.233.4567 or

Featured Volunteer: John Stansfield
PPG volunteer still active after all these years

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team 

John Stansfield portrays Enos Mills

John Stansfield

John Stansfield, a dedicated Sierra Club member since 1970, knows that 43-year habits are hard to break. But that's not theonly or most important reason the environmental activist— and a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) Pikes Peak Group (PPG)—has devoted more than four decades to helping save the natural world he loves.


Eco Disaster or Art

Facebook Photo Contest

James Luidl
Tis the Season, James Luidl
Fall colors
Fall Colors, by Carol Carpenter

Congratulations to James Luidl
and Carol Carpenter!   James is the winner of our December "Tis the season" Facebook Photo Contest and Carol is the winner of our November "Fall Colors" Facebook Photo Contest. 

Enter our Facebook photo contest! 

Did you know that we have a monthly photo contest? The theme for the January contest is "best nature photos of 2013." Submit your best nature photos today!  Winner gets a free 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!

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. One of the roles we need to fill is a Legal Committee Grassroots Organizer- someone who can build public support for our conservation positions for which we're fighting in the courts.  If you are interested in serving on the chapter's Legal Committee, contact the Legal Committee Chair, Erin Eastvedt, for details, at

RMC Weminuche Group Leaders (Southwest Colorado)

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...

In this issue:

  • Director's Message
  • Michael Brune keynotes RMC Winter Awards Gala
  • Update from the Legislative Committee
  • Meet Colorado's Beyond Gas rep
  • RMC Ex Com election results announced
  • Colorado air quality rules need to be stronger
  • Colorado citizens speak against global warming
  • Birds & Borders tour set for January is cancelled
  • Featured Volunteer: John Stansfield
  • Cartoon
  • Facebook Photo Contest
  • Volunteer Leadership Openings
  • Sidebar:
    • Must See Event!
    • Donate!
    • Go Solar!
    • P&P Archive
    • Be a member!
    • Facebook
    • Meetup
    • Twitter
    • Featured Outings
    • Wish List
    • Story Idea? 

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Must-See Event:

Legislative Forum
planned for February

      Capitol Graphic Back to Work 

Buy Tickets

Save the date!

When: Saturday, February 22

Where: First Plymouth Church, 3501 S. Colorado Blvd., Denver (map)

What: Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter and the Audubon Society of Greater Denver will co-sponsor their annual Legislative Forum. 

Cost: The price is $12 if you sign up here in January or February or if you send a check to the RMC office (1536 Wynkoop Street, 4th floor, Denver, CO 80202). The cost is $15 at the door.

Why? This event is a fun opportunity to meet like-minded folks and learn about what Colorado conservation issues are being discussed in our state legislature. A continental breakfast and lunch are included in the price of your ticket.

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donate online now

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, and you also get $750!  

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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 web page.

    Newsletter Line              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 "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
We're on Twitter, too!


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Featured Outings

Meetup logo

Hike in Cherry Creek State Park ($)

Cherry Creek State Park
4201 S Parker Rd, Aurora, Co (map)

Sunday, February 23
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Come and enjoy a lovely hike at my favorite place in Colorado: Cherry Creek State Park!  This hike is rated easy and will be around 5 miles in length and will cut through wetlands, beaches, and woodlands.  Stay after the hike and enjoy your packed lunch at the shoreline.  Please be advised that this is a state park so there is a $9 fee to enter; I highly encourage people to carpool.

We will be meeting at the Shop Creek Parking Area located between #17 and #13 on the map off of E. Lake View Rd. Please be advised that there are no amenities at this parking area though there are many scattered throughout the park.  Also, please note that I do not have a cell phone, so if you have any questions or concerns about the hike or need to cancel then please contact me before 7:30 a.m. Sunday the 23.  

This is a snow or shine hike meaning we will meet regardless of weather conditions unless those weather conditions are extremely hazardous i.e. blizzard.  Since this is the case please remember to bring the "ten essentials," especially the following:

• Warm winter clothes (think wool  and synthetics; not cotton) and boots
• Plenty of water
• Snacks/Lunch
• Sunscreen
• Optional: thermos with hot cocoa, coffee or tea; camera; snowshoes.

Hope to see you on the trail!

Gay and Lesbian Sierrans (GLS)

Lake Bierstadt Snowshoe ($)
Rocky Mountain National Park

Sunday, January 19, 2014 

Join GLS for a mid-winter snowshoe to Lake Bierstadt in Rocky Mountain National Park. Starting from Bear Lake (9,745 elevation), we will climb through a mix of aspen and pine, gaining about 240 feet in the first half mile. We will then follow the trail as it dips down into a pine forest and winds its way through the trees to Lake Bierstadt.

After stopping at Lake Bierstadt to lunch and take in views of the surrounding peaks, we will return to Bear Lake. The hike is four miles long and has about 300 feet net elevation gain.  However, it is rated as moderate due to the elevation. We will go at a moderate pace to keep warm. Wear layers top and bottom, and bring the "ten essentials," especially a hat, gloves, and something to protect your face from the wind at the lakes. Hand/foot warmers and a thermos with a warm drink are always advisable when it is cold. Also bring a water, lunch, and snacks.

We will depart from the meeting place in Boulder at 9 a.m. and return by late afternoon.

There is a $20 per car fee to enter Rocky Mountain National Park (unless you have a national parks pass), which will be shared by participants. There will be an option for refreshments in Boulder after the outing. Jennie will lead and Dave will sweep.

Contact Jennie at if interested; to get on the roster, please include a phone number where you can be reached.

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 functional screens and at minimum Windows 2003 as an operating system, XP preferred.

Thanks in advance! Contact Chapter Director Joshua Ruschhaupt right away!  Contributions of equipment to the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Sierra Club support our effective citizen-based advocacy and lobbying programs and, therefore, are not tax-deductible.

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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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