November 10, 2016                         Fall 2016 : Issue 5

REEL Reflections: What it means to be part of something like the EC

I knew REEL was going to be a blast. I knew people were excited to come celebrate with us. I knew we'd be showing a wide range of thought provoking films. I knew our coordinator, Rachel Landis, had put in a crazy amount of effort to make this event happen - supported, of course, by the planning committee and so many other wonderful folks from an array of different institutions. I knew all that; but I didn't know just how inspired I would feel by the end of Saturday night.

The EC brought me to Durango in a very literal sense. As the new Assistant Coordinator I've spent the last 3 months in a wonderful whirlwind of students, projects, community members, recycling bins, apples, light bulbs, luncheons, carrot costumes, tracking spreadsheets, flyers, meetings, compost, and everything that comes with this gig. The job so far has been great in the way it fuses so many of my passions; but as with any job, sometimes it is easy to get sucked in to the To-Do lists and the day-to-day.

The REEL film experience was a reminder that the EC is something special. It's more than a job. More than a student organization. It is a legacy. It is all the people who helped create it, all the people who are part of it now, and all those who will be a part in the future. It's all the work we've done and will do. It's all the community connections and partnerships we've cultivated. It's the philosophies of environmental stewardship and civic duty that we've advanced. It is us, and it is more than us. I feel so lucky to be a part of it, and I hope you do, too.

Please take some time to scroll down and check out all the amazing press that the REEL Film experience received, and take some time to reflect and get inspired all over again! Our attention this week has been transfixed on the national stage, but I believe now is a time to remind ourselves what can be done here in our community - think global, act local.

Here's to the next 25 years!

Marty Pool
Assistant Coordinator
Environmental Center | Fort Lewis College
25th Birthday & REEL Press
REEL Film featured on Durango Herald Sunday Front Page!

Fort Lewis' Environmental Center celebrates 25 years

By Jonathan Romeo

What began as a small, student-led grassroots movement, Fort Lewis College's Environmental Center on Saturday celebrated its 25th year as a community leader in promoting sustainability and environmental justice. "It has served as home and refuge for so many people who care about environmental issues," said Michael Rendon, a former coordinator of the Environmental Center who became mayor of Durango in 2010.

The origins of the center are generally attributed to FLC professors Don Gordon and Bill Romme . . . Read More
The Fierce History of Now

Watch the Mini-Documentary produced by FLC's own Shan Wells documenting 25 years of change with the Environmental Center!

On October 2, 1991, a fully funded Environmental Center, or EC, opened its doors in an attic space in College Union Building, marking a permanent change in the way the school operates, and putting FLC on the maps as a green leader.

On this episode of Fortifact, we'll have a look at how the EC fits into half a century of expanding concern for the earth's systems. And we'll look at the the Center's emphasis on graduating students capable of becoming environmental leaders.

We'll also talk to some of the Center's builders, hear about its current goals and programs, and explore the EC's legacy as it prepares to celebrate 25 years of advocacy for the planet and its people . . . Watch it here!
The Environmental Center is Profiled for FLC News

Growing forward: Environmental Center plants seeds for next 25 years

The Environmental Center at Fort Lewis College celebrates a landmark anniversary this fall: 25 years of teaching and training the leaders of the future to work toward social and environmental justice in the present. To mark the occasion, the EC is hosting the 15th annual REEL Film Experience on Saturday, November 5, at the Community Concert Hall. The EC will celebrate with free food and beer, birthday cake, and a pre-event march from Durango to the FLC campus.

The theme of this year's film festival is "Creating a Climate for Change" and will feature several locally produced shorts, including one about the history of the EC, and the full-length film A Time to Choose. Even though it has a long history of creating change on the FLC campus and beyond, the EC is not resting on its quarter century of laurels. The organization continues to cultivate existing programs and to develop new projects-all of which are powered by FLC students . . .  Read More
EC Posts a Durango Herald Op-Ed

FLC center cultivates students, environmental and social justice

Positive action, integrity, connection, creativity and discovery - these are the values of the Fort Lewis College Environmental Center that, for 25 years, has been training and equipping students to turn values into actions for their own, the community's and environment's, benefit. Their work advances campus and regional sustainability with hands-on student-driven initiatives, and last year meaningfully engaged almost 4,000 FLC students numerous times in multiple projects and activities on and off-campus.

This year, the center is advancing four major initiatives - energy impact, real food challenge, local food security and zero waste - through which students shape their own personal sustainability ethic, gain confidence, learn what they are capable of and what is possible. The center, as a staff and with on- and off-campus partners, has noble aims. It helps students to become civically engaged, environmentally responsible and socially just citizens who will go on to apply its values and tools out in the world beyond graduation . . . Read More
Off the Rim Interview

EC members were interviewed for the KDUR show

MP3s available upon request. Please email or cal
970-247-7634 to get the recording!
Get a FREE Energy Efficient LED Bulb!

The EC's Energy Impact team is proud to offer the Light Bulb Swap-Out program for FLC students

Current FLC students can bring their old incandescent light bulbs to the Environmental Center (located in the SUB) to receive a LED replacement! Your participation in this program will not only give you a free light bulb, but will also reduce your energy consumption and save you and FLC money. 
Why switch to LED?  LED bulbs are 80% more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and can last 20x longer. Nor do they contain mercury, unlike CFL bulbs. 
Through collective effort, we can influence the energy consumption both on and off campus and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Stop by to learn more about our energy efforts, other EI (Energy Impacts) projects, and how you can get involved!

LED bulbs generously provided by LPEA.
Come Shopping with the Zero Waste Team:
The EC Free Store is Open!
Do you need new t-shirts? How about pants? Sweaters? Perhaps a new coat...  With fall in full swing and winter quickly approaching, the EC's Free Store is here for you!
Why are we so great to give this stuff away? The EC is committed to working toward a Zero Waste Campus. We will achieve this ultimate goal by supporting ways to REDUCE consumption, REUSE functional items, and RECYCLE (and COMPOST) waste rather than sending it to a landfill.
The Free Store is all about reusing items so that you don't have to spend your money on new stuff.  Last year, the Free Store cycled through:  320 cotton t-shirts,  90 pairs of jeans,  36 pairs of shoes,  64 dresses / jackets!  This saved  $3,800 worth of merchandise value and over  600,000 gallons of virtual water from not buying new goods

Have some things that you decide you don't need? Feel free to come by and drop them off so another student can use them!

When: Mondays 12:45 - 2:30 p.m.
Where: Student Union Building or anytime at the Environmental Center 
The Local Food Security Team presents:
Campus Garden Workdays

Join the EC's Local Food Fellows every Wednesday and Thursday through November to work in our campus community garden.
Participants will learn about organic gardening and help us to bring in the harvest.
All community members are welcome to join!
When: Wednesdays 11:15 - 1:30 p.m. or Thursdays 4 - 5:30 p.m.
Where: Meet at the EC or join us out at the Campus Garden
Sign-Up: Please contact Local Food Fellow, Zack Bukovich, for more information:
Support the EC When You Shop at City Market
If you are a City Market shopper with a rewards card, you can use your grocery shopping to support the Environmental Center at no extra cost to you!

All you have to do is sign up here:
  • Click on the Enroll Now button
  • Create an account
  • Register your City Market Value Card and when asked what organization you would like to support, type in Environmental Center and check the appropriate dialog box. 
City Market's Community Rewards program will make a donation to the Environmental Center each time that you make a purchase.
Get your groceries and support the EC in one fell swoop-it's like getting your cake and eating it, too! (food pun intended)
The Real Food Challenge and Sodexo invite you to
Meet your Farmer for Dinner

Come and meet some of the regional farmers that produce the pinto beans, potatoes, squash,apples, and pork (among other foods) that are served in the San Juan Dining Hall.

Enjoy a menu of locally sourced foods and meet the farmers that grew them. Farmers will roam around the dining hall and introduce themselves to diners and explain the process of producing the food they do. There will also be a designated table the farmers are eating at if you would like to approach them yourself to ask questions or chat!

When: Wednesday, November 16 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Where: FLC San Juan Dining Hall

Cost: Free for students with a meal plan, $10.50 for community members and students without meal plans.
EC Alumni: Tell us your story!
In many ways, however, the Environmental Center's most powerful work is what comes afterwards, once a student graduates from the EC and launches into the world, taking with them the values that they explored and developed along the way.

If you are an EC alumni or someone that has engaged with the EC in a way that has felt significant to you, please tell us your story. We would love to share our collective story with our community as we celebrate 25 years of great work! Please let us know how you were involved, and how, in turn, the EC helped inform your life's journey. 
Tell us your Environmental Center story here:

Rachel Landis with EC alumni_ Max Kirks_ Emily Haefner_ James Field_ Max Plate_ Mike Nolan_ and Beth LaShell. Not featured_ Danielle Duni and Brandon Francis
FLC's Food Focus Group Needs You!
We are very excited to take our Food Focus group to the next level this academic year!
The mission of the Food Focus Group is to come together in a casual, solution minded atmosphere where we can be agents of change. We want to set an example for other like-minded institutions as we move forward
T his group will have an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas that will build on our foundation to serve more local and quality food options, healthier choices and waste less in the process.
We will discuss/brainstorm new and exciting ways to create a dining environment where sustainability and our commitment to the Real Food Challenge are front and center.
The structure of the meeting is informal and collaborative, where all ideas are seeds for thought.
Dinner is provided at the meetings free of charge!
When: Every 3rd Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m.
Where: FLC Piedra Room
News & Updates
FLC is Honored for Campus Sustainability

This fall Fort Lewis College has been honored by two influential organizations in recognition of the campus's ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability. Princeton Review and Sierra Club both listed FLC on their prestigious rankings of green and sustainable colleges.

Fort Lewis stands among some of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the nation. Recent action for sustainability on campus has centered around renewable energy, sustainable food purchasing, green buildings, responsible waste management, to list just a few. Click here to find out more about what we're doing!
Liberal Arts and Society: Goals, Outcomes, and Obligations

What is a liberal arts education? Fort Lewis College is one of less than 40 public liberal arts colleges in the United States, but how well do we represent what a liberal arts college is? These are very important questions that need answers in the coming weeks as FLC's mission and core values are redefined. 

The proposed mission statement as of 26 October aims for a "liberal education," as opposed to a "liberal arts education." The importance of our mission statement and core values may not be apparent at first, but they are the guiding documents for every policy made by the college. They determine what classes are offered or required, how much funding departments get, which student organizations get priority, and so many more things that are integral to the lives of FLC students
. . .  Read More

-Mack Carter, Energy Impact Team
Extra, extra, Read all about it! 
Annual Impact Report

The EC's Annual Impact Report is now available for your perusal: 9078 hour of student efforts towards a more sustainable world, 79,000 lbs of food waste converted to compost, and a 5% increase in our Real Food percentage. Read the whole report here!

2016 Colorado Wilderness Gathering

Join the San Juan Citizen's Alliance and several other public lands conservation organizations for a weekend of wildland issues!

All Wilderness and public lands advocates, stewards, leaders, and volunteers welcome to attend this retreat. This will be a  two-day gathering for public land conservation advocates to learn and discuss Colorado wildlands issues, brainstorm advocacy and grassroots strategies, and celebrate past successes while planning for future conservation efforts through speakers, presentations, panels, breakout sessions, and place-based hikes. The gathering is sponsored by multiple Colorado public lands conservation organizations.

When: Saturday and Sunday, November 12-13, 2016

Where: Buena Vista Community Center, 715 E. Main Street, Buena Vista, Colorado 81211.

Cost: $40.00 per person.

Registration, Lodging Info, and More Information:
Volunteer at a Solar Array Installation

Help us put the community in community solar!

GRID Alternatives and San
Miguel Power Association (SMPA), in partnership with the Colorado Energy
Office, Energy Outreach Colorado, the Telluride Foundation, EcoAction
Partners, and E3 Insight are converting the base of an old landfill into a
base for a thriving 200 kW solar array to benefit participants of SMPA's
"I.Q." (Income Qualified) assistance programs.

Come volunteer and join sponsors, members, staff and the community in
the unique "panel-raising" event that will revitalize this abandoned site and
provide solar power to neighbors in need.

When:  Friday and Saturday, December  2nd and 3rd &  Thursday, Friday, and Saturday December 8th, 9th and 10th,  8:30 am to 4:30 pm every day
Where: 1100 53 West Rd. Norwood, CO 81423
Sign-Up: To sign up and for more information, email:
Crag/Trail Cleanup

Join the Durango AAC to clean up a local favorite climbing spot

One of our favorite climbing areas has gathered lots of trash and graffiti over the season. Come give back to your local climbing community and help clean up the space we all know and love! Your participation helps support the growth of the Durango chapter of the American Alpine Club.

Lunch from Zia Taqueria will be provided for all volunteers!

When: Sunday, November 13 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: Dalla Mountain Park, 25th St. Parking - Sailing Hawks
Sign-Up: Contact Mitch at, (303) 957-7253
Durango Green Drinks

A great chance to get your networking on and meet other rad folks in the environmental and sustainability fields here in town. 

Check out their  Facebook page for more information!
Comment on the Hermosa Creek Watershed plan!

San Juan Citizen's Alliance invites you to submit your comments 

Nearly two years ago, a tireless and diverse grassroots effort to secure protections for a local watershed culminated in the  Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act. Now the draft management plan is available for comment.

This community secured incredible protections for the Hermosa Creek watershed. Take a moment to make sure it is done right. The SJCA asks you now to 

In an effort to encourage more meaningful comments, we're experimenting with a new approach. Rather than create a pre-written letter, we are asking you to write a short personal letter drawing on talking points from our analysis. We've also created a blog detailing our concerns in more depth. We believe taking a few extra minutes to type the comments in your own words will translate into greater consideration by the Forest Service.'

Thanks for helping us ensure a strong finish to this successful collaborative process.
Regional & Beyond
National Forest Service Offers Planning Guidance

The USFS Washington Office, working closely with members of the 2012 Planning Rule FedĀ­eral Advisory Committee, recently published the   Citizen's Guide to National Forest Planning an d a guide for state, local and tribal governments

These guides offer users an overview of the 2012 Planning Rule and describe opportunities for members of the public and state and local governments to participate in the forest planning process. They are hugely useful tool for citizens and local governments looking to effectively make their voices heard in the forest planning process.

Thoughts and ideas included in  The Lorax Reacts are solely those of the author. Anyone is welcome to submit a piece to this opinion section of our newsletter. To submit, please email Assistant Coordinator Marty Pool at

What are You Going to Do About It?
by Marty Pool

So did you hear that Donald Trump won the election on Tuesday? This may or may not come as a surprise, but many in the Environmental and Social Justice communities were not thrilled by this outcome. Many perhaps saw their social media ablaze with despair, anger, and plans to move to Canada. Those reactions, though understandable, are frankly lame. What we need now is positive action.

A candidate that perhaps disagrees with your stances won. But you know what? We live in a democracy where that is allowed to happen, even our current President is OK with it. It was also a candidate that nearly half of the voters supported, and you have to understand that  they are all pretty happy about it. A strong part of Trump's platform was based on views of creating the "other" - an ambiguous threat of a hypothetical bad person (you already know the quotes to which I am referring). So here's my first challenge to you: do not stoop to the same level by lumping all Trump supporters into a group of "others". These people may disagree with your stances on many things, but they are not all the same, and denigrating them as a whole group of terrible people is just going to make things worse. Please take some time right now to focus on the things that make us the same and can bring us together. I have seen the enemies, and their names are  Polarization & Partisanship! Fight them with love and empathy, for all people and living things on this planet!

Here's my second challenge: find a Trump supporter and listen to them. Now sure, there are going to be a small handful that are flat out racist, but those people aren't the ones I'm talking about. Try and find some folks that you can find common ground with. You may discover by listening to them that you disagree on some points, but perhaps agree on points like the need for climate action. Or you can use it as an opportunity to try and get them to agree that diversity and social justice is actually in everyone's best interest. I believe that the Environmental Movement over years past has done itself a disservice by alienating important allies in the ranching, agriculture, and sportsman communities. Let us use this time of shake-up to re-draw our alliances!

Finally, here's my third challenge: picture before the election, and think about all the opportunities that existed for you to make impactful change in your local & regional community. Those opportunities still exist today. In fact, they are more important than ever! I admit that, Trump's first 100 day plan is pretty dismal when it comes to environmental and social justice issues. But he does not have the power to dictate everything we do in our own communities! If we stay energized and engaged, we still very much have the power to continue a movement toward change. And at the very least we can satisfy our need to feel like we're doing something positive, to know we gave it our best shot. At the EC we've been working on environmental and social justice issues through the terms of 5 Presidents, 4 Governors, and dozens of federal and state legislators. We've come a long way in that time.  We'll be doing work today, tomorrow, and for decades to come. Will you?