Extension Viewpoints: Earth Week programs announced


By Robin Young

PREVIEW Columnist

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is coming. Before COVID-19 changed our way of life, the Southwest Organization for Sustainability (SOS as it is known locally), the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP), and the Mountain High Garden Club (MHGC) were working hard on activities that, well, basically, you could only do face to face.

The MHGC was going to lead us off with the annual Garden Expo, where people and organizations come together to exhibit their tools, resources and knowledge on all things gardening. Now they are encouraging everyone to just get out there and garden. Grow food for you, your family, your neighbors, friends and those in need. It’s Victory Gardening 2020.

Earth Week events are still happening during Earth Week, just virtually. Resilient Archuleta has partnered with SOS and the GGP to host three great presentations.

The first presentation — to take place on Monday, April 20, at 6 p.m. — is the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), a nationwide network of volunteer weather observers. CoCoRaHS volunteers collect more than 12,000 precipitation reports every day. It was founded right here in Colorado after the founder, Nolan Doesken, reached out to the community for measurements to gain a better understanding of a deadly flood. Today, these reports are used by National Weather Service forecasters, emergency managers, river forecasters, city planners, researchers, the U.S. Drought Monitor and many more. If you have a passion for weather and are interested in making a difference with your reports, this network is probably a great fit for you. Peter Goble, a service climatologist at the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University, will be giving a brief overview of the history of CoCoRaHS and explaining how to participate.

The next presentation will be on Earth Day, April 22, at 6 p.m. with Dr. Heidi Steltzer, who is a mountain and Arctic scientist, explorer and science communicator. She has spent 25 years conducting field studies on mountain and Arctic hillslopes in Colorado, Alaska, Greenland and, recently, China to understand how healthy ecosystems provide for human well-being. She’s pioneered studies on the impacts of earlier snowmelt through experimentally accelerating snowmelt and monitoring plant and ecosystem responses. Dr. Heidi Steltzer is a lead author for the chapter on High Mountain Areas in the 2019 IPCC Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. In January, she was invited to provide recommendations on the climate crisis to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. She will be sharing with us what she shared with Congress — we should aim to be a resilient nation, a good neighbor and work together to develop new narratives about the environmental issues that we are witnessing and that are impacting our well-being.

Mountain communities are a special place to live. We invest in one another and in exploring the mountains that surround us. The current crisis is a reminder that though we may feel isolated, our mountain regions are interconnected to the deserts nearby and to distant communities in other countries. Our resilience depends on growing the connections among people.

To wrap up the week, the GGP will be sponsoring a shortened, condensed version of its Environmental Film Festival. We will be airing the movie “How We Grow” so we can watch it together and have a conversation with the filmmakers (we’re hoping they can join us). “How We Grow” is the documentary film collaboration between Haley Thompson and Tomas Zuccareno. Both were equally moved by the passionate community of local farmers and ranchers in the Roaring Fork Valley and want to share their story in hopes of empowering future generations to join the movement. We will discuss how we can apply the movement here in our area.

Each of the presentations are held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of Earth Week each starting at 6 p.m.

CoCoRaHS — April 20, 6 p.m.: https://zoom.us/j/155157171, meeting ID: 155 157 171. Call-in number is (346) 248-7799 or (669) 900-6833.

Climate Talk — April 23, 6 p.m.: https://zoom.us/j/133064826, meeting ID: 133 064 826. Call-in number is (253) 215-8782 or (301) 715-8592.

“How We Grow,” a GGP-sponsored film — April 25, 6 p.m.: https://zoom.us/j/133064826, meeting ID: 133 064 826.

For more information, please email robin.young@colostate.edu or call the office at 264-5931 and leave a message to be returned. We hope you will join us.