Colorado College’s very own State of the Rockies Project has great things in store for this upcoming year. With a mission to “build upon 130 years of service to the region, the Rockies Project conducts state-of-the-art research helping Rockies residents clearly see our communities, our environment, and our economy so we can better shape our future.”
The group works to “inform stakeholders about critical regional issues, encourage dialogue and collaborative action to protect and nurture the Rockies, connect peer communities by sharing best practices, and stimulate Colorado College student contributions and outreach in the Rockies.”
The organization has had successful past projects. In 2011 and 2012, they led the expeditions Source to Sea and Down the Colorado. These trips examined environmental and community-based issues around the Colorado and Green Rivers through outreach to affected communities and citizens. This outreach included interviews with farmers, recreationalists, politicians and others. This project sought to “bring a voice to the many people who rely on a healthy Colorado River.”
In past years, land conservation in the Colorado River Basin was the main focus. But this year, the organization plans to broaden their studies
For example, the organization plans to apply new methods of “creative conservation” and “large landscape conservation” to come up with new conservation methods that can be instilled in these areas.
This summer, State of the Rockies gathered a group of Colorado College students to assist them. The students preformed tasks such as calling experts and working with GIS software. In addition, the students studied in the field and met with professionals to talk about the region’s needs.
Some areas of field study included the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Northern Rockies including Wyoming and Montana, and a visit to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge. This work has turned into a movement within the organization called Spine of the Rockies Expedition. Through this, the group seeks to engage a greater audience on the topic of landscape conservation “through blogs, photography and the production of a video series”
This organization’s mission is reflected in CC’s own Outdoor Recreation Committee or ORC. The mission statement of the ORC is to “build on the mission of the College by allowing students to enhance their leadership skills, acknowledge the importance of service, and gain a sense of stewardship through experiential opportunities in the outdoors.”