Trust Our Land: We’re grateful for this community for making conservation bloom |

Trust Our Land: We’re grateful for this community for making conservation bloom

Jessica Foulis
Trust Our Land
Conserving local lands and wildlife habitat is a big job. We're grateful for this community for making it possible. photo

As we close the chapter on 2021 and look forward to what 2022 brings, Eagle Valley Land Trust, like many other organizations in our community, find ourselves overwhelmed by gratitude for the friends, partners, donors, supporters and advocates who helped propel us through a mightily uncertain year.

When our board and staff prepared plans and budgets for a year of conservation work last December, we proceeded with enormous caution. We figured the chances that the generosity of support our organization and other nonprofits received in 2020 would continue into 2021 were uncertain at best. What we experienced, however, was quite the opposite. As our community slowly emerged from a challenging 2020, the flowers began to rise from the snow in an astonishing array — the shoots and blossoms of the seeds planted the year prior.

By Earth Week, the message was clear: 2021 was a year to push forward, not hold back. Our community was ready for action and calling upon businesses and nonprofits to ramp up, innovate and act on the needs of our community without hesitation.

Eagle Valley Land Trust, along with many organizations in our community, heeded the call. Our team seized on the opportunity to make an impact. Over the past 12 months, the Eagle Valley Land Trust has helped protect 712 acres: the Walking Mountains Sweetwater Campus and Sweetwater Lake. In addition, we engaged over 400 local landowners regarding conservation options.

Our community conservation team, led by Oliver Skelly, executed 43 community events, brought over 300 local youth onto conserved land for service learning and programming and hosted four restoration projects on public lands. Our stewardship team, led by Torrey Davis, worked with landowners to monitor all 38 conservation easements within EVLT’s conservation portfolio. On top of all that, our admin team, with Brittany Bobola at the helm, shepherded a brand new strategic plan in partnership with our outstanding board of directors.

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But even with the high powered team that EVLT is lucky to employ, the behind-the-scenes work that makes conservation possible depends on our partners. Partnership was the overarching theme this year.

For example, Sue Nikolai brought six new local business partners into the Land & Rivers Fund that have helped generate over $60,000 for EVLT and our friends at the Eagle River Watershed Council, who have had an outstanding year of river and watershed conservation. Gatherings In Vail, Joette Gilbert’s event planning firm, led EVLT to its most impactful Farm to Fork gala of all time. The Conservation Fund, White River National Forest, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and local donors, including Eagle County and the town of Gypsum, made possible the creation of Colorado’s 43rd state park and a brand new template for conservation in the United States with support from our deputy director, Bergen Tjossem.

And while our partners, staff and board are the leaves and roots of the aforementioned blooming flowers, our donors and advocates are the sun and the water; they are what fuel and drive our conservation efforts forward. Donors to EVLT and other nonprofits that serve our community have an incredible impact locally. We could not do this work without them.

As our community moves forward and makes progress on all fronts, we’re spending this holiday season full of gratitude for this community and enjoying the beautiful garden that we’ve created together. Thank you.

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