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Public Lands

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Colorado's public lands are faced with new challenges but water and land management depend on working together. Read about the relationship between water and land in Colorado and how Coloradans are converging to restore Colorado's public lands in the Spring 2018 issue of Headwaters magazine.

Browse articles and find a flipbook of the magazine here.

Connecting the Drops

connectingdropslogo4.1Bringing you the reporting you crave over the radio airways with extras and archives on our website. Visit the audio archives or listen to the latest story on the connection between Colorado's forests, watersheds, and forest fires:

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Water Education Colorado

Wildlands Restoration Volunteers

By Laurie J. Schmidt

Rounding up enough participants for volunteer work days can be on an ongoing struggle for watershed groups. Even for some conservation-minded people, the thought of shoveling sediment or weed-whacking after a long week of work or school just doesn’t conjure up images of a relaxing Saturday. But Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, headquartered in Boulder, has a down-to-earth approach to getting conservation work done: make volunteering fun.

With an active volunteer base of 3,000 and total volunteer hours between 1999 and 2009 valued at $2.7 million, the group’s approach is obviously working. “We honestly embrace the idea of building a community and having a good time,” says projects director John Giordanengo. WRV provides food, with trained cooks accompanying volunteer groups on multi-day projects. It also holds “social events,” such as potlucks and its fundraising event Wildlands Jam, which features local bands and a showcase of projects and trainings.

Giordanengo says that in recent years, the organization has noticed a shift in the conservation community, from a focus on protection and lobbying to active property management and “getting your hands dirty.” “When people become connected with the land, they realize how important protection of the land is to their own well-being,” he says.

WRV has several active water-related projects where volunteers can get dirty, including riparian vegetation restoration on Tarryall Creek, a major tributary of the South Platte River. The Coalition for the Upper South Platte, a watershed group that works to protect the 2,600-square-mile watershed southwest of Denver, is assisting WRV with volunteer recruitment for the Tarryall Creek project. And Giordanengo says that Trees, Water and People—a non-profit conservation organization based in Fort Collins—is a primary WRV partner. “They’ve done an immense amount of work helping to build watershed groups across the West,” he says.

“It’s a community of volunteers, and people bond over this work.”

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