September 15, 2017
Welcome to the second edition of the Environmental Center (EC) Digest for the 2017-2018 academic year! Every two weeks, this little gem of digital media will arrive in your inbox.

Scroll down to learn about Environmental Center events and happenings and to explore community events, initiatives, and job postings  focused on environmental, social justice and sustain ability...  and of course, our ever-anticipated (and always wordy) introductory musings. Ready, set, go:

Six years ago, I sat down in the first week of September to facilitate my very first interview with a fiercely passionate, admirably committed college freshman who was beyond eager to spend her free time working to make this world a better place at the EC. This inspiring display of integrity and idealism was replicated in the following twenty-five conversations I had with other applicants. Each of these incredible souls spoke of a conviction that the world was theirs to change. To tackle the challenging tasks of identifying which 10 of these individuals to offer position to, our hiring committee looked for the "stand outs". While every student could speak to their love of the natural world and general value for the environment, those applicants who spoke of an awareness of the impacts that their personal life choices made on this planet coupled with some demonstration of related action/ethic popped--Disciplined vegetarians, bike-commuting aficionados, home-composters rose to the top. Once on the roster, the EC spent the next four years cultivating the incredible personal belief system and practice each of these students held to grow it into a conviction in the need for and tools to work at the scale of social systems, infrastructure, and paradigm. Our work was to graduate not just environmentally responsible individuals but full-fledged agents of social change.

This last week, Marty and I repeated this annual ritual and sat down for interviews with the newest crop of FLC students. The passion was as fierce, the desire to transform just as strong, the inspirational quality of their hope as potent as it has been the last six years. However, there was a difference - this year, we were sitting down with members of Generation Z, a demographic cohort born between 2000-2010, who sociologists characterize as embracing multiculturalism, being reliant on technology and valuing privacy. Beyond their preceding generation's drive towards public service, Generation Z is also predicted to be a 61-million strong demographic army of change makers, leery to serve a broken system and instead eager to build a better one....and our applicants certainly did not disappoint. When it came time for the difficult decision of who to offer staff positions to, our hiring committee could no longer rely on our old framework. EVERY one of these students understood the impact that their personal life choices made on this planet. And EVERY one of them had taken actions in their lives to mitigate these distinction. In this year's cohort, our choices came down to deciding between students who had started community gardens in urban schools to students who had created Sustainability Coordinator positions at their summer camps to teach little kids how to enact Zero Waste principles.

As a life-long educator, environmentalist, and hoper-for-better-things, I have always worked towards that fuzzy, ephemeral goal of "shifting paradigm", our collective value system, to one that houses greater ecological consciousness. Even as a unbreakable optimist, I secretly held little belief that this particular juggernaut would actually change. This past week, the pre-college track record of our Generation Zers proved me wrong, refilling the coffers of hope in this moment of Category 5 hurricanes, raging wildfires and social unrest. We ARE making progress as a society. We ARE seeing a change in the tides. Now, our work is to get out of the way, give this next generation the tools, fuel their spirits, and get the world ready for these amazing and gifted, full-fledged agents of social change.

Rachel Landis, Environmental Center Coordinator
Environmental Center HappeningsECHappenings
Campus Garden Workdays

Join our EC Local Food Fellow, Paula Pletnikoff every Thursday afternoon for a quick break from the rapid-fire world to harvest organic fruits & veggies, digging in the dirt, pruning in our orchard and planting up our new campus food forest. 

In addition to helping to maintain our campus growing spaces, Paula is excited to share tips and tricks for how you can grow your own food. Oh, and did we mention you get to eat raspberries off the vine?

When: Thursdays 1-2:30
Where: Meet at the EC Campus Garden
Cost: Free!

For More Information: Contact Paula Pletnikoff at
Food Forest Workdays

Come on out and get your hands dirty! 

Join permaculture guru (and FLC EC Graduate) Duke Jackson to learn some pretty wild stuff as we install our new campus Food Forest. 

Be part of something that will feed FLC students for generations to come. Feel free to come and go as fits your schedule.

When: Mondays from 8:30-12:00
Where: Meet at the Campus Food For Thought Orchard just north of Pine Hall
Cost: Free

For More information, contact Duke Jackson at
More EC and FLC Happenings
Help us Help the Bears and Feed our 
Community! 17 Days and $9K to Go!

Bear Smart Durango has received a $10K Match Grant from the Payroll Department to help us increase our ability to protect bears in our community, while also increasing the amount of local food circulating amongst hungry Durango-tangs.

If we are able to meet our $10K funding goal by October 1st, the funds will be used to hire a Fruit Gleaning Coordinator who will work with the EC, Bear Smart, and various community groups to ensure that we harvest as much local fruit as possible next year, update the community fruit gleaning webpage and find ways to get the fruit to people who need it most.

Donate on Bearsmart's Fruit Gleaning website HERE
The EC Zero Waste Team Takes Paper-Reduction to the Next Level

The EC's Zero Waste Initiative and the FLC Information Technology department were selected to participate in a nation-wide paper use reduction program

Within this effort, our goal will be to reduce on-campus paper use by 50% by 2020. That means decreasing our printing by 1.3 million pages/year and saving 7.5 million of energy from being used in annually. 

To achieve this goal, our Zero Waste Initiative student team will partner with Behavioral Psychology experts, Root Solutions, to design campaigns and institutional solutions that excite all of us to use less paper this fall...and launch the effort this Spring!

Our findings, along with other participating schools, will be compiled and presented in a nationwide AASHE Best Practices guide in 2018.
EC's Real Food Challenge Team Hits the Road

The EC's Real Food Challenge team has been selected to present our Vote Real program to sustainability professionals nation-wide!

This October, four students from the EC's Real Food Challenge student team will be presenting our very own, home-grown Vote Real Initiative to thousands of sustainability professionals at the national AASHE Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Our students will present along with a group from Gonzaga University to showcase ways to advance sustainable dining practices while combatting social injustice and encouraging greater democratic participation. 

This is an awesome honor and we are so proud of our students!
The EC and Mountain Studies Institute Need Your Help!

The Mountain Studies Institute (MSI) will conduct an Animas River public opinion survey on campus on Wednesday, September 27th and needs student volunteers willing to help administer the survey!

Students interested in helping out can stop by the EC between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on September 27th to get oriented on survey content and process! Don't worry, you will be fully equipped with the necessary knowledge-we just need your help!

To sign up: come by the EC office and sign up in person, or email Marty Pool at

More information on MSI: 
Mountain Studies Institute (MSI) is an independent, 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit center of knowledge established in 2002 in Silverton, Colorado.  A sustaining premise of MSI is that collaborations among researchers, educators and policy makers with an interest in the San Juan Mountains and other mountain systems worldwide can provide increased knowledge and understanding of mountain environments and communities and the issues that affect them.
Learn more at
Support the EC When You Shop at City Market

If you shop at City Market 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:

Instructions for Enrolling:
-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.

From then on out, 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)
EC Gets Re-branded

Hayley Kirkman, our incredibly talented artist and graphic designer from the 2016-2017 schoolyear, spent her summer creating some absolutely amazing new logos and branding for our center. We are so excited with our new look, and hope you are too! Hayley is now out into the professional world, making it a more beautiful place. To check out Hayley's work, or to see how you can hire her to make something beautiful for you, visit
Community Events & Opportunities
Local LocalHappenings
Events and Happenings in our Local Community
Student Veggie Share!

Sign up for weekly local produce from the Old Fort Market Gardens!

The Student Veggie Share features carrots, potatoes, beets, kale, onions, garlic and more, and runs from September 13th to November 15th.

You pay $135, and you get 10 weeks of veggies, picked up from the Old Fort Farm Stand every Wednesday from 1 to 4.

To sign up: go to
For more information: email
Putting a Price on Carbon Emissions

This though provoking panel discussion will explore the next steps toward carbon pricing. Hosted by the La Plata County League of Women Voters and featuring panelists Yoram Bauman and Patrick Cummins among others.

Mr. Bauman was one of the architects of the State of Washington's carbon tax ballot initiative last November - a first of its kind attempt. Mr. Cummins is an emissions trading expert with the Center for a New Energy Economy in Fort Collins, CO. He is leading the center's efforts by pushing for 11 western states to be in compliance with the Clean Power Plan, an emissions trading program.

When: Monday, September 25 from 7 - 8:45 p.m.
Where: Fort Lewis College Nobel Hall room 130
For more information: contact Steve Ruddell at 202-380-6417
Help Shape the Future of Your Community!

The City of Durango offers a Virtual City Hall platform to gather community input on a wide range of issues. Your local government is currently accepting comments on what priorities should be set for the future of our community. Do you care about environmental and social issues affecting your town? We encourage you to share your thoughts and vision!

The virtual city hall can be found at: and the deadline for comments is 11:59 pm on Monday, September 18.

And don't forget to check back on the site from time to time, as new topics are constantly being opened.
Trails 2000 to Host Happy Trails Festival This Weekend
Join us in supporting Trails 2000, Durango's dedicated non-profit organization to trail-construction and maintenance, this weekend for their festival for all trail-lovers.
Let's Give Back to the Garden Project! 

The Garden Project of SW Colorado serves our community in amazing ways. They are responsible for all of the school gardens that connect our kids with healthy eating habits, provide healthy meals for children that otherwise might not have them, and provide invaluable learning opportunities.

They also fight to feed healthy, local foods to folks who otherwise might not have the opportunity through their Manna Soup Kitchen Garden & Farmstand and Ohana Kuleana Plot. They help our community in a thousand other ways, including supporting groups like the Environmental Center with expertise, supplies, and collaborations.
They have given and do so, so much...and right now, they need our support!

Please consider donating to the Garden Project to ensure that these invaluable services to our community continue.

Learn more about their current needs and donation opportunities HERE or watch this short video about the Garden Project!

Fall Fest Seed Swap!

Botanical concepts presents: Fall Fest and Seed Swap.

Botanical concepts garden center will host a three day event with an inter-active seed swap, a local artisan market and low-low end of the season prices on plants soils, tools and gifts.

September 29th through October 1st
5:00 p.m. - 9 p.m. 
251 County Rd. 250, Durango

For more information: check out botanical concepts garden center on Facebook or Instagram
Green Business Roundtable Kicks off a New Season!

Join over 80 business owners, elected officials and community leaders each month in a lunchtime networking event and discussions on the regional economy and environmental stewardship.

When: The second Wednesday of each month 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.
Where: Henry Strater Theater, 699 Main Avenue, Durango
Cost: is $17 when you RSVP or pay by 5 p.m. the Thursday prior, $22 for late RSVPs and a limited number of walk-ins.

Contact: Erika Brown, San Juan Citizens Alliance, 259-3583 ext. 3 or
Join 4CORE's Solar Celebration Weekend!
Enjoy a night of food and fun on Friday, then learn about energy efficient structures and even tour a solar-powered home on Saturday!
Currently 4 Homes for Sale to Qualified Households in Bayfield

Habitat for Humanity of La Plata County eases the burden of home ownership on area residents by offering qualified households (1+ persons) a break on housing costs.

You or your loved ones could pay only 30% of your monthly gross income toward mortgage payments by participating in Habitat for Humanity's program!

Attend the orientation on October 13, 2017 at 10 a.m. at the ReStore to apply!

No RSVP required, children welcome, no documents needed.

Email or call (970) 382-2215 for more details.
Animas Valley Grange to Host Two September Events

September 19 - Animas River Wetland Project
Animas River Wetlands LLC is creating a wetland project to provide another viable options to developers to comply with a federal goal of "no net loss of wetlands." This project is a positive solution for developers, highway departments and others who receive permits that impact wetlands to mitigate that loss. A tour of the project will take place the following Saturday, and more details will be provided at the talk.

Open and free to the public!
Refreshments at 6:30, talk begins at 6:45
7271 County Road 203

September 23 - Community BBQ & Potluck
At the Animas Valley Grange with live music by the Will Cooter Band. Come dance on our nice wood floor!  Burgers provided. Please bring a side dish to share!  Kids Games - Bring the family!  Garden Share/Swap Table - Bring your surplus to share, swap or sell!

Open and free to the public!
Rain or shine
3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
$5 admission fee, children under 10 free

For more information on either event, visit
Renewable Energy Workshop: Economics

Attend a workshop hosted by the La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) to understand the LPEA's initiative in increasing renewable energy in our community.

September 19, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Location: LPEA Durango Headquarters
45 Stewart St.
Durango, CO 81301

LPEA has gone to great lengths to assemble workshops focused on helping citizens understand what LPEA actively invests in to increase renewable energy in southwest Colorado, what is possible and the obstacles involved.

Visit for more information.
Local First Renewable Energy Petition

Join Local First and its partners in working with the City of Durango on setting renewable energy goals for our community. By signing this petition, you will be joining hundreds of community members and other business colleagues in shifting the economics of energy production to be locally sourced and renewable benefitting our community, economy and the planet.

Help the City of Durango Know How We Go

Every other year the City of Durango performs bicycle and pedestrian counts as part of the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. This year, volunteers will help gather data September 11 to 17. Sign up for a 2-hour shift at one of the 11 in-town locations below and receive an appreciation gift!

To sign-up and for more information: contact Jennifer Hill at 970-375-4955 or
Opportunities Opportunities
Jobs, Scholarships, Internships, and more!
Intern with US Senator Michael Bennet's Office

Internships  provide the opportunity to learn about the role of a Senatorial office while enabling those who participate to be of service to their community.  Exemplary college students will be chosen to assist with a variety of duties including constituent services, community outreach, and special projects. A variety of administrative tasks are required such as greeting visitors, answering phones, and database management.

Internships are on a voluntary basis; no stipend is provided.

For more information: contact Stuart Jenkins, Constituent Advocate for Senator Michael Bennet, at 970-259-1710 or
National Young Farmers Coalition Internship

NYFC seeks a part-time Western Organizing Intern to perform critical grassroots outreach to young farmers and offer logistical support for Western campaigns and events. The intern will provide support for events including legislative roundtables, farm tours, NYFC chapter gatherings, land and water trainings, and more. The intern will support Western staff in organizing event details, drafting invites and social media posts, researching and compiling key media targets, tracking and keeping on deadline for event logistics, conducting outreach to farmers, and more.

For more information and to apply: visit
Regional & Beyond
Further Resources and Opportunities
2017 Taos Environmental Film Festival Coming Up Soon!

The Taos Fall Arts Festival will host the Taos Environmental Film Festival from Sept. 27 - Oct. 1 at the Taos Community Auditorium located at 133 Paseo del Pueblo Sur.

The Taos Environmental Film Festival honors our land and showcases all artistic disciplines. Together, artists can support efforts to stop Climate Change. Showcased films incorporate honoring the land, environment and people of New Mexico, the country and the world, with performance and lectures to expand our knowledge and engagement with environmental activism and topics. 

For more details visit or call 575-758-2052 with questions.
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