Dear Conservancy Supporter,
Hello and happy holidays! First and foremost, I hope you and your family are well. This year of 2020 hasn’t been easy for many of us, but one glimmer of positivity we can all reflect on as the year comes to an end is that the Conservancy’s mission of protecting the lands, waters, and wildlife of Central Colorado is alive and well. In spite of a global pandemic, destructive wildfires across our state, and a divisive election season, I’ll say it again: our mission is alive and well. However, this certainly would not be the case without unwavering supporters like YOU. Because of your continued generosity, we have still been able to deliver the work our communities need in these trying times.
Since I came to the Conservancy one year ago, each and every day I have been humbled by the passionate people like you who make our work possible. Even in the face of this pandemic, you have all come to the table to offer support for the Conservancy’s mission. And for this, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Over the last year, I have had the opportunity to work with dedicated conservationists from all walks of life - ranchers, business owners, scientists, commissioners, wildlife managers, working families - all committed to making this valley a better place to live. This experience has been nothing short of extraordinary, while also opening my eyes to what is possible here at the Conservancy with the support of passionate donors like you.
There is no doubt that this year has been a little tough for all the people of our world, and that includes all of us here at the Conservancy. Just like most nonprofit organizations, many hard decisions were made this year at our office, including shuttering our volunteer programs and membership appreciation events, grappling with remote working challenges and unimaginable drops in fundraising support. Dropping our community outreach and volunteer programs has also made it challenging for me to have meaningful interactions with the many Conservancy donors and members who help make our mission a reality. These challenges have been difficult, but they have also invigorated us with new energy to strive to take our mission to new heights.
We began 2020 with a dedication to developing a new, 5-year strategic plan (which can be found at www.centralcoloradoconservancy.org/strategic-plan) that built on the strengths of Conservancy staff and board, while pushing the boundaries of what a local land trust could do in the community. As the year progressed, we continued to work with landowners to protect private lands through new conservation easements in Lake County, the Arkansas River Headwaters region, and in the heart of Chaffee County - all with a promise that we will maintain this protection forever. We also paid attention to requests from our ranching community who identified financial and economic realities as a primary challenge to keeping working lands working. Using support from Chaffee Common Ground, the Conservancy responded to these requests by implementing the first year of a 5-year program called the Community Conservation Connection that conserves valuable resources on working lands while supporting rural families. There are currently close to 4,000 acres of working lands now enrolled in this program, which is a massive win for both the local ranching community and our mission of protecting this beautiful area.
While protection of private lands continues to be our focus, we also recognized in our new strategic plan that our conservation efforts could realize even greater impact through strategic and collaborative partnerships with public land management agencies in key landscapes. Conservancy staff continues to lead these partnerships to deliver conservation programs in large landscapes like the Badger Creek watershed, a collaborative effort in Park County that restores wetlands and riparian corridors to mitigate soil erosion, enhance grazing lands, and improve wildlife habitat in a 100 square mile area that drains into the Arkansas River.
As the majority of our mission continued on throughout the year, the pandemic prevented us from close interactions with our community, which is something we hold close to our hearts here at the Conservancy. As this issue escalated alongside the pandemic, our staff dug in deep to think of creative ways of staying connected to our supporters. We looked at the very real possibility of needing to cancel our annual fundraising event, normally held at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds, and identified a creative and fun alternative to the event - producing a full-length documentary film that featured Conservancy programs and staff.
The premiere of this documentary, Now More Than Ever, was a smashing success in terms of both community feedback and money raised for Conservancy programs. We produced the documentary to help communicate the Conservancy’s progress towards delivering our mission and to provide our supporters with a more intimate look into the lives of the people at the Conservancy who make this all possible. The production process was by no means easy, but we persevered to deliver our story to members like you that we value so much. If you have yet to see the film, it can be found on the home page of our website.
With all of this said, we at the Conservancy reflect each and every day on the fact that our conservation impact would not be possible without the continued support of Conservancy members and donors. I am reaching out with this simple gesture of thanks to you all, and encourage you to think about continued investment in an organization like Central Colorado Conservancy that works daily to protect the lands, waters, wildlife, and quality of life in this region we all love. I fully understand that this year has been a tough one, and that giving more may not be a viable option for some. Nevertheless, as 2020 comes to an end, please know that any contribution can make a difference, and even the most modest donation can have a big impact towards keeping our work alive. Thank you for your consideration during this giving season.
We live here together. We play here together. We love this place together.
Let’s protect our home.
Happy Holidays, friends! Thank you.
Be well and be kind to each other,
Central Colorado Conservancy