Trust Our Land: Earth Week with Eagle Valley Land Trust
Eagle Valley Land Trust
If there’s one thing that unites Eagle County’s diverse communities, it’s a love and pride for our home. Yet “home” has as many definitions as people you can ask to define it.
To some Eagle County residents, it’s our vast open spaces, western ranching heritage, and scenic vistas that make it feel like home. To others, it’s our recreational amenities — rivers, mountains, and trails — open and available for enjoyment. To others yet, it’s the wildlife we share it with or the small town, close-knit community.
The underlying theme, though, is place. The physical and geographical layout, mixed with the presence of a distinct ecological scene, is the foundation of the home in which our people have formed a community.
To many, our tiny Eagle-County-shaped rectangle of Earth, just 1,692 miles (about 0.00086% of Earth’s land surface), is everything. It’s home; it’s vacation; it’s childhood; it’s adulthood; it’s retirement; it’s paradise; it’s calming; it’s exciting; it’s whatever you make it. Earth Week (this week) is our opportunity to double down on our appreciation for our home.
The first Earth Day in 1970 was a worldwide awakening: one of the first widespread efforts to raise awareness around environmental and ecological issues that sprang from a newfound understanding of how our species impacts all others. Not just climate change, but also deforestation, pollution, and unsustainable consumption of resources. The original movement led to a blossoming of environmental and conservation initiatives at the local, state, national, and international levels.
One such initiative is the land trust movement in the United States. Just 11 years after the first Earth Day, the first class of accredited land trusts, including the Eagle Valley Land Trust, were founded on the simple principle that permanently conserved land is a public good. Forty years later, there are 1,363 land trusts across the country that protect over 56 million acres (3% of land in the lower 48 states). Locally, the Eagle Valley Land Trust protects 13,540 acres across 38 properties.
To celebrate our home, EVLT’s 40th trip around the sun, and to build momentum for conservation projects on the horizon, we’ve launched Earth Week with EVLT in collaboration with some of our partners. It’s a week of conservation, connection, and camaraderie.
We’re kicking off our 2021 Community Land Connection Series with a variety of free programs in partnership with Todd Winslow Pierce’s Eagle Valley Wild, the Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement, Eagle County Open Space, birding extraordinaire Jerry Fedrizzi, and more. We’re also launching the first volunteer restoration project of the year, “Public Hands on Public Lands” to clean up the Dotsero Landing Recreation Site on Sat., April 24. Sign up to make a local impact at EVLT.org/join-us/participate/. To top it off, we’ve launched a virtual auction to support local conservation efforts.
Earth Week, which coincides with the changing of the seasons and the opening of several trails countywide, is the perfect time to get outside to enjoy the benefits of protected land in our community — the protected land that you helped make possible.
There’s no one way to celebrate Earth Week, but we encourage you to try something, big or small, for our community. Lend an ecological hand; make a donation to your favorite local conservation or environmental organization like The Eagle River Watershed Council, Walking Mountains Science Center, or Eagle Valley Land Trust; take a walk and pick up trash; calculate your ecological footprint; enjoy a picnic in a protected open space, talk to your friends about why trail closures are important for wildlife.
It’s up to all of us to ensure that we protect and care for our home, for our own well-being and the well-being of all future generations to come.
The Eagle Valley Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to protected land, open spaces, and wildlife habitats in Eagle County, CO. To learn more about EVLT’s work, visit EVLT.org or see EVLT’s 2020 Impact Report at EVLT.org/impact2020.