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The Board of Larimer County Commissioners presented the 2020 Environmental Stewardship Awards to four groups today to honor their commitment toward environmental responsibility and keeping Larimer County a great place to live.

Each year residents, businesses and organizations are selected for their innovative ways that help benefit of our environment and planet. Those selected are nominated by the Larimer County Environmental and Science Advisory Board. Since 1995, 92 awards have been presented including those today.

Wildland Restoration Volunteers

Active since 1999, Wildland Restoration is a volunteer non-profit organization.  Their projects focus on restoring trails and riparian habitats, removing noxious weeds, building artificial beaver dams, and other activities to restore rivers and streams.

The Young Gulch Trail Restoration Project in the Poudre Canyon restored a trail severely damaged following the High Park Fire in 2012 and again in the 2013 floods, both of which made the trail impassable. Between 2016 and 2019, 821 volunteers working on 51 separate projects repaired 42 stream crossings and miles of trail.  The trail opened to the public Dec. 13, 2019. 

The project is an example of the passion and commitment to the restoration of important outdoor places and habitats in Larimer County. Volunteers gain education opportunities that build lifelong skills and relationships. 

City of Fort Collins Water Treatment Facility

Forging a path to meet their Climate Action Goals, the City of Fort Collins installed a micro-hydroelectric generator to produce 20% of their water treatment facility’s electricity. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the generator is a source of renewable energy and improves air quality.

A project of this type is usually found in much larger operations, yet the city adapted the concept for use on a smaller scale. The city’s efforts toward conversion to renewable energy provide a significant pollution-reduction benefit to residents in Larimer County.

Kids in Nature

Since 2007, Kids in Nature has introduced and connected kids with environmental awareness, nature, land stewardship, and the importance of public lands as a valued resource. Over 400 children were served in 2019 by volunteers, parents, and counselors, having a positive impact on their lives and well-being.

Some of those in the program have never experienced the landscape outside of a city. What sets the program apart is they also provide these opportunities for at-risk kids who don’t get to experience outdoor activities.  Four programs are offered: Mammals in the Mountains; We Need Trees; Aquatic Macro Invertebrates; and Fire Awareness.

Xanterra Travel Collection         

Near the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is the Alpine Trail Ridge Store and Café. Xanterra Travel Collection runs the store and in 2007 installed a small 9-panel solar array, producing 1.78 kilowatts of electricity. That’s enough to run a big window air conditioner.

The results were so impressive that in 2008 they expanded the array to 153 solar panels that generate 56kW of electricity --- a whopping 90% of their electrical needs. They don’t need their diesel-powered electric generator, which used 5,500 gallons of fuel each year. The solar array keeps 56 metric tons of CO2 out of the air and saves $30,000 per year in electric costs.

The store also uses low-flow water fixtures and LED lights, 36% percent of food and beverage offerings from local vendors.  Their work is ongoing to continue to reduce greenhouse gases and other waste in an ecosystem extremely sensitive to pollutants in an area that so many people enjoy.

For more information visit

Published on: 
Thursday, August 13, 2020 - 9:59am
Contact Details:

Shelley Bayard de Volo, [970] 498-5738, 

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