BookTrails fundraiser in Steamboat starts at First Friday |

BookTrails fundraiser in Steamboat starts at First Friday

Nicole Inglis

— Meet Perplexian.

He might look like a plush, fuzzy friend, but lend his suggestions an ear and he might engulf the listener in a fog of haze and confusion.

The fog comes from a smoke machine, and the rest of Perplexian is made from recycled and reused materials by local artists Kim Keith and Ashley Brewer, giving him an extra boost of environmental superpowers.

At Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Perplexian is making his home for the month with eight other superheroes and villains, all made by local artists out of recycled materials.

Each of the pieces will play an integral role in the first fundraiser for BookTrails, a new local organization that aims to promote environmental literacy.

BookTrails' first program, Reading on Ranches, is a camp that launches this summer to help cultivate a love of the outdoors and environment through reading and writing.

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The proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward scholarships for the camp, which could help a dozen or more children, according to BookTrails founder Emily Krall.

"I wanted to do something totally far out," she said about the fundraiser. "It's about raising money, but it's also about having something that gets the kids engaged."

The multi-faceted fundraiser began with the artists. Keith, Wendy Kowynia, Gregory Block, Sue Krall, Justin Hirsch and several other artists secured sponsorships from local businesses that will go toward the BookTrails fund.

Then, the artists create a unique superhero or villain with an environmental theme. The pieces ranged from a skull made from shards of glass to the friendly "Broomhilda." "Freddy the Fracker" leans more toward the villain side of the spectrum while a rusted cowboy with bike pedals for legs sits welcomingly outside the bookstore's entrance.

On Monday, third- through fifth-graders at local schools will receive pictures of the creations and will be writing creative back stories for their choice of artwork.

Those stories will be hung at the bookstore starting May 21, and patrons can vote for their favorite story for $1 per vote through May 25.

On May 25, a final reception will take place for the student winners, and the pieces will be auctioned off.

More than a fundraiser, the project is an extension of BookTrails' mission.

Not only does the recycling aspect tie into the organization's mission of environmental literacy, but students will get the chance to participate through the writing contest.

"It's to give them something fun to write about," she said.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

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