Hosted by the University of Denver and focused on equity in regional conservation, this convening builds on the September 5 Metro Vision Idea Exchange and previous Metro DNA convenings and workshops. Stay tuned for additional details!
Tuesday, October 8, 2019 8 am – 12 pm
Anderson Academic Commons 2150 E Evans Ave, Denver, CO 80208
These financial resources and participating as a member of this national collaborative conservation network will move forward our work to co-create a Regional Vision for People + Nature in a big way and support the creation of a Youth Advisory Council focused on the South Platte River as a significant and cross-jurisdictional environmental and cultural resource. The Youth Advisory Council will be build in partnership with Colorado State University, Lincoln Hills Cares, and El Laboratorio.
Working to Conserve Local Wildlife with Ongoing Conservation Projects
Bison roaming freely, pikas popping up every so often, and billowing grass. This is just part of the Colorado Front Range, an ecosystem within a few hours’ drive for the average Denverite. The Denver Zoo’s Field Conservation Department works with government and non-profit organizations and the community to preserve spaces for people and wildlife.
Stephanie Stowell, Vice President of Learning and Engagement at the Denver Zoo, explains that, “Underneath it all, we are a conservation and education organization” with a goal to “engage and inspire people to have a deeper sense and understanding and care and empathy for animals”.
While the Denver Zoo’s Field Conservation Department has staff working in places such as Peru, Mongolia, and Botswana, it also has active conservation teams in right here in Colorado. One of the two local conservation efforts is the Front Range Program, which encompasses the Eastern slope of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the neighboring grasslands, including Denver. Through local engagement the Denver Zoo is able to show citizens the impact this has on the region.
The Denver Zoo’s Field Conservation Department works with city, state, and federal organizations to “reduce threats and promote the resilience of Colorado’s wildlife and ecosystems”. The Front Range Project aims to “conserve and restore the function of grassland ecosystems across the state” through restoration and management of bison populations and habitats, monitoring, and supporting the development of Colorado’s highest elevation wildlife byway.
A vital aspect of these conservation projects is to get community members involved, so the Denver Zoo works with local organizations to train citizens to take an active role in monitoring nature along the Front Range. So far, the Front Range Project has engaged 300 middle and high school students in programming and contributed to the longest running citizen science database. With its continued work, the Denver Zoo encourages everyone to care about the nature that surrounds them every day. Next time you are at the Denver Zoo, remember the role it has in conserving local nature.
The Denver Zoo partners with Metro DNA as a way to further bring conservation and nature access to communities, giving local relevance to the Denver Zoo’s global mission to “secure a better world for animals through human understanding”.
On a personal note, we wish our long-standing leader and dear friend, Stephanie Stowell, the best as she and her husband relocate to Albuquerque, New Mexico. She will be overseeing zoo operations and programs at the Albuquerque BioPark.
Thank you, congratulations, and we will miss you!!
Creating opportunities for youth of all backgrounds to enjoy nature
Interview with Loretta Pineda, Executive Director, Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) By: Ben Soofer, Maddie Buel, Brady Olcott, and Maggie Albro (University of Denver)
Dondre Smallwood is a freshman currently enrolled at Colorado State University, but his road to get there started nine years prior. Growing up in Montbello, Dondre lacked access to the resources for engaging with nature until he was introduced to Environmental Learning for Kids.
Throughout nine years of being involved with ELK, Dondre was given the opportunity to fish, hike, camp, visit Mesa Verde, and go to museums in Denver. With the help of ELK, Dondre improved his skills in leadership and self-development.
“Environmental Learning for Kids has helped me see that just because I am a young black man or a minority it does not mean that I cannot get into a good college or get a good job. ELK has given me, and continues to give me, the tools to help and encourage me to keep moving on during hard times in life. They let me know that I can become a useful source in our community and that I am important. I am a Daniels Fund Scholar and that dream was made possible by ELK. Coming into this program is like meeting another family.” – Dondre Smallwood Read more
Thank you to Metro DNA partner, the Denver Botanic Gardens, for hosting our Stakeholder Convening on Monday, April 8, and thank you to everyone who participated in a full day of workshops, presentations, and collaboration! This semi-annual gathering is an opportunity for partners and friends to get together and network, learn, and co-create collaborative projects.
We started the day in collaboration with the University of Denver’s Grand Challenges Environmental Sustainability Cohort by exploring collaborative projects around the Metro Denver region to ground and expand their understanding of what is being done, what can be done, and how to measure our collective impact and progress toward shared goals.
After lunch, the meeting turned toward updates and dialog around our primary collaborative projects: Regional Vision for People + Nature and Nature Narratives. Table-based dialog was facilitated by CU Boulder graduate students and members of the Metro DNA Steering Committee. Many of the ideas, questions, and opportunities shared cut across both projects. The conversations also surfaced needs to better define and communicate expectations of and benefits of becoming a Metro DNA partner and serving on committees and project teams.
June 8th at Garfield Lake Park in SouthWest Denver
Get Outdoors Day Colorado and SouthWest Denver Coalition are joining forces to host Safe Summer Kick Off on Get Outdoors Day (SSKO GO), Saturday, June 8, 2019, at Garfield Lake Park from 10am to 3pm. This free, family-friendly event is designed to promote access to healthy and safe outdoor spaces, support under-resourced communities, and celebrate nature exploration.An exciting coming together of two long-time successful events, this partnership facilitated by the Metro Denver Nature Alliance seeks to strengthen connections between resource providers and the communities they serve; promote healthy, active, outdoor lifestyles; and reflect and celebrate the diversity of people and nature in our region.
Metro DNA’s semi-annual Stakeholder Convening is an opportunity for partners and friends to get together and network, learn, and co-create collaborative projects. At this gathering we:
Invite partners to join in the co-creation of a Regional Vision for People + Nature.
Offer opportunities to engage effectively in the upcoming City Nature Challenge.
Empower partners to share their work, learn from others, and dream big toward new collaborative projects.
9:00 – 11:00 am . Sustainability World Cafe
Part of the University of Denver’s Grand Challenges work, the Environmental Sustainability Cohort invites you to participate in a World Cafe style exploration of collaborative projects around the Metro Denver region to ground and expand their understanding of what is being done, what can be done, and how to measure our collective impact and progress toward shared goals.
11:00 am – 12:30 pm . Guided Tours of the Denver Botanic Gardens
Our event host, the Denver Botanic Gardens, invites you to explore the Gardens with their skilled docents. Tour groups of 15 will be departing at 11:00 am and 11:15 am.
12:30 – 1:00 pm . Metro DNA Overview + Orientation
New and potential partners are invited to this brief Metro DNA Overview + Orientation. Current partners are also welcome and we encourage you to share your experiences with others.
1:00 – 4:00 pm . Metro DNA Convening & Working Session
Facilitated dialog around Metro DNA’s current collaborative projects including the Regional Vision for People + Nature, Nature Narratives, STEW-MAP, and City Nature Challenge. Exploration of potential collaborative projects and next steps!
Learn more and RSVP @ https://www.eventbrite.com/e/metro-dna-convening-tickets-58756749018.
We’ll be there, and think this kind of dialog is just what we need to inform a people-oriented and knowledge-based Regional Vision for People + Nature! 🙂 Dana
Jefferson County Open Space will host the second Front Range Open Space Research Symposium in partnership with Boulder County Parks and Open Space and City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks.
The intent of the Symposium is to help inspire coordination, collaboration, and partnership among scientists and the community. During this event, participants will hear presentations by scientists who have conducted research across the Jefferson County, Boulder County, and City of Boulder open space systems on important land management topics including recreation impacts, flora and fauna surveys, conservation, and riparian biodiversity and restoration.
The Symposium will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19 in the Lakewood Cultural Center. Attendance and parking are free. Parking is limited so carpooling is recommended. You are also encouraged to bring your own reusable coffee cup and/or water bottle to reduce waste.
We are so excited to celebrate progress building and envision next steps for this tremendous collaboration! Please join us at The Alliance Center next Friday for an afternoon and evening full of programming and partners. Please feel free to come for as long or as short a time as you are able and inspired. Thanks in advance for your RSVP using the Eventbrite links below.
The Americas Latino Eco Festival (ALEF) is a Latino-hosted multicultural gathering elevating the voices of communities of color, women in conservation, and cultural leadership by fostering collaboration to better tackle environmental problems from many angles. With programming spanning Thursday, Dec 6 through Sunday, Dec 9 ALEF VI is bringing together artists, environmental leaders, community members, students, and families to connect, learn, and build relationships.