Community Agriculture Alliance: Inside the Sustainability Council |

Community Agriculture Alliance: Inside the Sustainability Council

Kim Kline/For the Steamboat Today

— The Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is a local, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing leadership to advance environmental, economic and social sustainability for current and future generations. It accomplishes those goals through educational efforts, programs and building collaboration among individuals, organizations, businesses and governments.

The programs offered by YVSC help educate people about sustainable-living practices, renewable energy systems, green building, energy efficiency and how our community can reduce its carbon footprint in the Yampa Valley and beyond.

Highlights of our programs from the past year include:

■ Zero Waste Initiative: More than 46,000 peopled learned about our Zero Waste Initiative this year, and more than 42 local events were held as zero waste.

■ Sustainable Schools: 15 zero waste events were held during the 2010-11 school year; 180 gallons of trash a day have been eliminated through the use of reusable plates; 6,400 plastic bottles were not thrown in the thrash thanks to the use of Water Monster; and 1,500 kids volunteered or participated in YVSC events.

■ Talking Green: As many as 60 people attend each Talking Green event, which cover more than nine educational topics a year.

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■ Events: 430 people participated in the Community Recycle Drop-off days in fall 2010 and spring 2011; 200 peopled helped plant 300 trees during ReTree Steamboat; More than 100 people participated in Earth Hour; "Every Day is Earth Day" Week featured numerous partners and events; Zero Waste Initiative school lunches now have 1,200 participants; Monthly community meetings attract 300 participants who learn about a variety of topics and continually bring on new members.

Thanks to local supporters, YVSC more than doubled in size from one to three part-time staff members. This growth has allowed the organization to improve and increase its resource conservation services and broad-scale outreach programs.

From composting in the schools and zero waste events to the Talking Green educational series and Community Recycle Drop-offs, YVSC needs your help more than ever to continue important conservation programs in our community.

Moving forward, we are preparing for the future of YVSC. The goals and objectives, long and short term, include:

■ Foster opportunities for local economic growth in sustainable industries, such as beetle killed, renewable energy, green/energy efficient building and other projects that foster job creation

■ Grow the Zero Waste Initiative countywide

■ Expand recycling and organics collection events

■ Foster an environmental ethic in local youths

■ Educate residents about environmental topics and create opportunities for networking among the collaborative groups

■ Update and expand YVSC website to be an even more comprehensive resource

■ Encourage local solar/solar thermal rebate program

■ Support multimodal transportation, water conservation, local food and environmental initiatives

How can YVSC do this? By launching a partner program this fall asking for the financial support from individuals in our community. Ask yourself, "Do I participate in the Zero Waste Initiative, Talking Green and Community Recycle Drop-off? Do I want these programs to continue and see more sustainable progress in my community?" YVSC is an invaluable regional resource that deserves your support.

YVSC is a stand-alone nonprofit, not a government program. We rely on the support of the community we serve and are grateful for every cent we receive from our sources.

Kim Kline is the community coordinator for the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

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