In 2008, the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department created the framework for the goals of partnering with the community to advance the department’s mission to conserve natural, cultural, and agricultural resources and provide public uses that reflect sound resource management and community values.
The Partnership Initiative Vision has three objectives in creating a community-based stewardship ethic.
#1 Creating and expanding partnerships with all segments of our population to advance community ownership in the preservation and care of Boulder County Parks and Open Space.
A variety of businesses and organizations participate in volunteer projects including students from elementary school through college as well as people from various socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds. Stewardship teams also include employees from the recreation industry, environmental consulting, technological and engineering firms, and pharmaceutical companies as well as recreation and environmental organizations.
#2 Offering opportunities that enhance the appreciation of the diverse aspects of environmental stewardship, integrating user groups, and promoting responsible use.
Many partners worked on the Overland Loop at Heil Valley Ranch, a trail which marks the addition of 2.3 miles of multi-use trail. In 2018, Ari Addes, the Trails and Facilities volunteer coordinator will work with partners to build new trails at Heil Valley Ranch and may also help with construction at the newly-acquired Toll trail easement, a 9-mile trail near the Town of Nederland.
The Forestry volunteer coordinator, Shane Milne, has been working with partners to build slash piles from forestry thinning work at Hall Ranch. We hope to burn slash piles during the cooler months so volunteers can then restore the burn scars in summer.
The Plant Ecology volunteer coordinator, Carrie Cimo, has been engaging volunteers in native seed collection projects at Heil Valley Ranch, Peck Native Seed Garden, Sadar, Centennial, and other properties. Also, groups planted almost 8,000 shrubs and other plants on the newly reopened Pella Crossing and on other riparian areas. Volunteers also cleared willows from an agricultural ditch and stored them for later use in flood restoration plantings. In 2018, we will continue to focus on collecting seed, as well as on flood recovery and other planting projects.
Our volunteer coordinator who manages all types of projects, Craig Sommers, worked with partners placing cages around trees at Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat to protect them from wildlife, and built a fence to keep wildlife out of sensitive ecological areas. In addition, partners cleared weeds from three acres of land and expunged 20 pounds of weeds from Caribou Ranch. Volunteer groups also painted buildings at the Agricultural Heritage Center and stripped antique school desks for the historical Altona School House at Heil Valley Ranch.
#3 Involving residents in inspirational and educational experiences to strengthen the culture of conservation of our land in perpetuity.
Partner volunteers often tell us that their volunteer experiences are educational and rewarding. In 2017, we surveyed participants to gather feedback about what effect projects had on them. Preliminary results show that 94 percent of volunteers report increased knowledge of land stewardship practices after participating in a project. In regard to the importance of public land, 43 percent of volunteers rated public land protection as extremely important before attending a project. Of the volunteers who did not initially rate public land protection as extremely important, 76 percent gave the protection of public land a higher rating of importance after participating in a project.
Are we achieving our Partnership Initiative vision? The answer is a resounding, “yes” and we are extremely grateful to each partner group for their devotion to our mission!
Learn more about the Parks & Open Space Partnership Program.