Getting to know … Matt Scherr
When Matt Scherr moved to the valley from the Front Range, it wasn’t for the skiing, or the hiking, or even for a job.
He came here for a woman, and seven years later, that woman is his wife ” and the valley’s community, his calling.
As executive director of the nonprofit Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability, Scherr leads an organization that supports green building, energy conservation, recycling and other sustainable practices. For Scherr, that task requires building community ” getting people out of their cars and away from their televisions.
Himself a recovering television addict, Scherr has gone cold turkey and found a new way to fill his spare time: In April, he was elected to the Minturn Town Council.
When I worked (for the Vail Leadership Institute) I decided that community was what I’d really always been about but didn’t know it. … This organization’s concern is the environment. Its real objective is community. All those things that drive global warming are all those things that dissolve community.
Environmentalism has always been gloom and doom. So part of it is to give people things to care about and feel light-hearted about. (Such as Green Drinks, a monthly happy hour gathering to discuss environmental issues.) We try to give people a reason to walk away from the television.
Minturn’s got great community. … Minturn’s old, and a lot of its history still lives there. I love that it’s there, but it’s all that cultural history I think is sort of dissolving. … Minturn had a sense of itself at one point, and I don’t think it does much anymore.
I think anything I do, whether it’s council or the Alliance, it all is trying to reestablish that old-fashioned idea of community. It’s tougher here because it’s not an organic type of community. Everyone is essentially imported. … We get really tired of seeing Vail and Eagle County cross purposes. (Scherr would like to see the valley unified politically.) This whole valley’s one community.
Just a hike out with the family.
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