Denver Metro Network offers opportunities for environmental action
By James Luidl
Denver Metro Network Team
|Denver Metro Network volunteers share organizing plans. From left, Joshua Ruschhaupt, RMC director; Deb Olsen, DMN volunteer; Mathew Elsner, DMN volunteer; Cheyne Cumming, DMN volunteer; Myrna Poticha, RMC Excom co-chair; and Dave Bryan, RMC ExCom chair
“While the frontier as a statistically measured artifact of the Census Bureau, might have ended, wildness did not end with the frontier. And what it was to be an American was to respect and cherish wildness.”
Former Sierra Club Director Carl Pope used these words to describe the life and work of iconic outdoor photographer Ansel Adams. The spirit Pope refers to doesn't just apply to the Sierra Nevada where Adams spent so much of his life. It's also alive and well now in America's cities. In that spirit, the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter is forming a new Denver Metro Network (DMN).
“The Denver Metro area has the highest density of Sierra Club members and supporters in Colorado,” said RMC Director Joshua Ruschhaupt. “Sierra Club's success comes from its members and supporters getting active in participating and advocating for the environment locally.”
Mathew Elsner, DMN Leadership Team chair, is working with other DMN volunteers to plan a vibrant and active Network for the Denver area. “In the short term, the goals of the DMN are to build our infrastructure, reach out to our members and find out what we can do to enhance this unique community, “ Elsner said.
Specific long-term goals include:
- Fostering environmental activism and advocacy.
- Creating a robust outings program with certified outings leader.
- Conducting hikes and conservation trips.
- Building relationships with local media.
- Representing the Sierra Club at public meetings.
- Reaching out to other organizations with parallel interests.
The search for the DMN Leadership Team began in January, with seven members appointed in April. Most are fairly new to volunteering with the Sierra Club. “It's just how it worked out,” said Ruschhaupt. “We definitely publicized the open positions far and wide within our membership. Most who answered the call to fill the roles on the Leadership Team happened to be new.”
Sierra Club would not have selected the final team without full confidence in every volunteer’s leadership capabilities and passion for the Sierra Club, Ruschhaupt added. “The RMC is very excited to see the caliber of volunteers who stepped up. They have a great diversity in ideas, experience and skills.”
The Leadership Team includes the following volunteers:
- Paul Arell, an engineer and environmental professional, worked many years for the Environmental Protection Agency. He's also hiked on all seven continents.
- Cheyne Cummings is a former teacher with a long history of organizing educators.
- Mathew Elsner is a writer and editor with extensive experience in marketing.
- Jim Luidl is a freelance journalist and survival hiker. He's also a trail adopter for the Colorado Trail Foundation.
- Sheila Martus, a newcomer to the Sierra Club, is an information analysis professional. She also adopts and fosters rescue dogs.
- Deb Olson helped create the Enrichment Program at the University of Denver's University College.
- Liz Patterson just returned from serving with the Peace Corps, where she taught environmental education to youth on topics such as trash, forestry and water management.
The DMN is still in the process of finalizing its strategy and structure and will hold meetings in the near future at the Sierra Club headquarters in Denver and other locations around the Denver Metro area. Meeting times and dates are posted on the RMC website. Meetings are open to all members of the Sierra Club.
The DMN welcomes anyone who would like to volunteer to serve on committees or as outing leaders, or otherwise help the Sierra Club grow in the Denver area.
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