Conservation and NAL Committee members converged from all across the US last week and collected in Boulder, Colorado for the annual Conservation Study Trip hosted this year by the Garden Club of Denver.They came to immerse themselves in a new and different place, to experience the unique version of the West that is Colorado’s Front Range.  They came to sample the legendary farm-to-table cuisine of the Boulder Valley, to stretch their endurance as they hiked the golden foothills of the Flatirons, and most of all, they came to stretch their minds as they learned about the unique conservation issues in Colorado and the West.Wednesday we were in Boulder with speakers at the CU Museum of Natural History and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).  Morning speakers talked about protecting grasslands from development through conservation easements; eccentricities of water law and the many competing demands for Rocky Mountain snow melt water; and pollinators of the Front Range. In the afternoon, we toured NCAR, learning about the history of the I. M. Pei-designed facility and hiked while we learned about the Blue Line limiting the City of Boulder’s development into the foothills. Our final day was spent in Denver.  We saw short grass prairie, bison, hawks, and other wildlife at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, a beautifully restored US Wildlife Refuge which had been a manufacturing site for chemical weapons during World War II.  Our speakers at the Arsenal talked about the unique and subtle beauty of the steppe ecosystem, about controversies surrounding energy extraction and water usage on the Front Range, and about our determination to solve political problems in Colorado by creatively brainstorming in a non-partisan way to find win/win solutions to our conservation challenges. You know the Speakers Committee has succeeded when even the local volunteers are learning new things about their state and joining in the lively questions and discussions after each speaker!Read the rest of this wonderful article written by our own Garden Club of Denver member Sarah Young in the Fall issue of ConWatchClick here to go to the GCA Website to download ConWatch.

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