On Oct. 6, the Boulder County Parks & Open Space Department held the annual Conservation Awards ceremony to celebrate the 2022 award winners for their outstanding contributions made to the conservation, preservation, and protection of land-based environmental resources. Here are highlights from the special gathering for this year’s recipients:
Land Conservation Award recognizes notable achievements in preserving Boulder County’s open space lands through the sale or donation of land or conservation easements, donation of funds, or through significant activities resulting in the preservation of open space. Charlie Stromquist, Dorotha Ekx, and Lorraine Stromquist accepted the award for having recently sold the former Laber property to the county so it could be farmed in one piece with the rest of the county’s open space land between N. 119th St. and East County Line Rd. from Oxford Rd. The Stromquist family has been farming in Boulder County for more than 100 years and helped jump start Boulder County’s open space program in 1987 by selling some of the family’s land and irrigation water to the county for open space. The family made a significant financial donation keep the family’s land in agricultural production as part of county open space.
Environmental Stewardship Award recognizes contributions and activities that have made a significant impact on the conservation, preservation, and/or protection of Boulder County’s land-based environmental resources through on-the-ground actions or program management. Becca Gan Levy is the Director of Boulder Jewish Community Center’s Milk & Honey Farm. In addition to providing experiential education to involve families and the community in agriculture, the farm also donates thousands of pounds of fresh food to organizations to address food security needs. Levy manages an intensive agriculture system on a small parcel of land. She oversees a community volunteer workforce to overcome staffing challenges. She also uses low-water and no-till methods to align her farming practices with the dry Colorado ecosystem and to promote native pollinators.
Cultural and Historic Preservation Award recognizes contributions that preserve Boulder County’s heritage through historic and cultural preservation projects. Marina LaGrave helped start Explorando Senderos de Boulder, a group that organizes trail and outdoor experiences for Latinx families. These experiences bring participants closer to nature and promote physical and mental well-being. Started in 2020, Explorando Senderos explores a new trail (sendero) every month. From a modest start of approximately 10 families, it has grown significantly to more than a thousand members on their Facebook group. With Spanish as the main language, the program hopes to support and encourage Latinx families to seek out the outdoors, reconnect with nature—and themselves.
Outstanding Volunteer Award honors individuals whose leadership and support of the Parks & Open Space volunteer programs have enhanced our community partnerships and improved public service. Peggy Sass has been a volunteer at the Agricultural Heritage Center for five years. When she first started, Sass lived in Denver and helped on the farm once a week, feeding livestock and removing weeds from the garden. Since moving to Boulder County, Sass has taken on more responsibility with planning, planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, and coordinating efforts with other volunteers. Sass also does one to three livestock feeding shifts per week, and occasionally orients visitors when staffing is short. Sass does all these things tirelessly and with a smile on her face. Her generosity is endless. In her time with Boulder County, Sass has truly become a “renaissance volunteer,” having her sharing her skills in countless areas!