It has been 20 years since the Conservation Districts began a conservation education position. Little did they realize that their commitment to conservation land use practices would grow into a movement! The education position has grown from a conservation poster contest, a handful of school visits and community outreach events to over 10,000 student visits a year, a variety of field trips for students and community members, a two - week teachers workshop, a kids camp, grazing and farming workshops, serving as an education voice on many boards, committees and educational programs and a Project Wet, Project Learning Tree and Food Land and People and local curriculum provider.
This change is due to partnership building, program planning and community buy in. When the education position became a 501 c 3 in 2009, the mission was the same as it has always been to provide quality informative education about conservation and the use of natural resources to San Luis Valley farmers, ranchers, landowners, community members and students.
As our population continues to increase, it becomes increasingly important that we continue to do as we have always done- support sustainability through the actions of sound resource management. It is essential that we begin to think differently as we look towards the future – we must ensure that we provide everyone with the experience to make informed decisions based on sound information, and not misaligned propaganda.
I am excited that the pendulum is swinging. There are more people seeing that resources are limited, and with technology advancing, we sit on a threshold of being able to effect true change. As more and more of our youth get outside, our educational community more and more willing to take part and our community and business alliances strengthening – I see great future ahead, thanks for being a part of it!
Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative
Education and Program Specialist