Southwest Organization for Sustainability annual fund-raiser

By Pauline Benetti
Special to The SUN

The Southwest Organization for Sustainability (SOS) invites all members and supporters to attend the annual Pagosa Springs Festival of Trees on Friday, Nov. 30, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center.

SOS is an environmental advocacy group in Pagosa Springs dedicated to promoting the concepts of sustainability throughout the community. We are a 501(c)3 organization established in 2007.

This is our first year to enter a tree in the Festival of Trees auction and it will also act as our fund-raiser for the year. Proceeds from the fund-raiser will help to support SOS programs and activities.

In an effort to promote sustainability, we have been diligently working on recycled decorations for our locally-harvested tree and think you will be pleased and surprised with the beauty of the results and appreciate the statement it makes about your values.

We also invite you to think about how your Christmas might show greater respect for the planet in other ways. Consider, for example, the piles of wrapping paper and ribbon that goes yearly to the landfill. What can you do to reduce or eliminate that? Interested? You might take a look at the following website for ideas:

Now that we have your holiday attention, we would like to share other SOS programs and special events throughout the year.

In January, SOS, together with the Chamber, acknowledges organizations and businesses in Pagosa Springs that have demonstrated outstanding and extraordinary green business practices. Awards will be made at the Chamber’s Jan. 19 annual meeting.

The St. Patrick’s Day parade fits right in with “Going Green,” a common SOS theme throughout the year. The SOS Board of Directors and members alike walk down Pagosa Street to remind community members to think green, be environmentally responsible and respect Mother Earth. Last March, we passed out seed packets for those who like to plant gardens in the spring.

In April, we’ll again work in partnership with the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce to host an annual Earth Day event, honoring Mother Earth. For the last two years, the theme of Earth Day has been celebrated by paying heed to an “all things local” theme in Pagosa Springs. SOS invites other nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses to celebrate in food, fun and local music. This April will be the fifth annual Earth Day celebration in Pagosa. If you would like to participate in the Earth Day celebration as an organization or business, please contact us.

Come summer of 2013, the SOS Farmers Market will enter its sixth year. The outdoor market will be at the Ponderosa Lumber parking lot and will be open June 22 through Sept. 14. The Farmers Market event will feature a diverse group of vendors. Feast your eyes on fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, as well as locally produced meats, breads, herbal products, seedlings and more. You can also spoil yourself by purchasing handmade quality products of wool, alpaca mohair and angora fibers, direct from the farm.

SOS is currently working with the county to help with the promotion of recycling education and efforts. The Archuleta County Transfer Station has done a terrific job in accepting a multitude of post-consumer containers that would otherwise end up in the landfill and SOS continues to encourage the expansion of these services.

Finally, expect to see periodic announcements of SOS-sponsored informative and thought provoking movies and speakers throughout the year.

If the activities of this organization resonate with your value system, you will want to become a member and get involved. To find out more about SOS and the events, visit our website at, call Denise Rue-Pastin at 946-9024 or talk to us at the Festival of Trees. Festivities include music by some of our local talent, as well as refreshments. Buy your ticket early at the Boulder Cafe and the community center and save.

Happy holidays, peace on earth to you and yours. The SOS Board of Directors and volunteers look forward to seeing you at the Festival of Trees this year and in 2013 at our sponsored events.

This story was posted on November 29, 2012.