Highlights from WSCC’s 2021 Annual Meeting
In case you missed us virtually last week, here is a recap of our annual meeting.
Last Sunday (March 21, 2021), WSCC hosted an Annual Meeting was organized around the theme of “Life in Transition,” with Keynote Address by environmental activist, writer, and educator, Bill McKibben.
The western slope represents Colorado with a rugged mountain skyline, incredible natural resources, and close-knit communities. The WSCC, as a 43-year-old grassroots organization, has become a fixture on the western slope, building an active and aware community of its own to protect and enhance the lands, air, water and wildlife of the Lower Gunnison watershed. Sharing a similar appreciation and sense of responsibility, Senator Michael Bennett and John Hickenlooper both provided personal videos applauding WSCC’s long-term commitment to the sustainable development of the North Fork Valley. They highlighted pieces of critical environmental legislation, including the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, which would withdraw over 200,000 acres of public lands in the North Fork watershed from oil and gas development and create a coal mine methane pilot program, and the 30 by 30 initiative, which aims to protect 30% of our nation’s air and water by 2030. WSCC is grateful for both Senators’ support and looks forward to welcoming them to the North Fork Valley in-person when it is safe to do so.
During the Keynote Address, McKibben discussed the global issue of climate change and the ways that individuals, communities, and technology can challenge unsustainable practices that contribute to atmospheric greenhouse gases. In the context of WSCC’s work in the Lower Gunnison Watershed, he said, “every oil well and gas well that you can stop is not only stopping an insult to the geography of your particular place but it’s stopping one more fountain of carbon from spewing into the atmosphere, and that’s the most important task that there is in the world… That is both a burden because it is painful and it is sad sometimes, but it is kind of a privilege because you get to stand in a really important place…” Find McKibben’s entire presentation here and follow the work of 350.org, an organization he co-founded to help propel climate solutions by giving individuals direct actions. And, to stay informed on the issues, follow his synthesis of the ever-changing state of the climate and what we can do to make positive change through his regular contributions to The New Yorker.
After a question and answer session, WSCC turned inward to acknowledge volunteers and board members., Tribute was paid to Bill Bishop, who dedicated his time and resources to conservation efforts wherever he lived. He was involved with WSCC as a board member in the early 2000s, actively involved beyond that as a donor and volunteer, and with other environmental organizations in the valley. He will be missed. To learn more about Bill and the impacts he had and the knowledge and expertise he shared with our valley, you can read more here.
WSCC also celebrated the many contributions of board members who stepped down this year including Tracy McCurdy, David Noe, and Chris Caskey; with special recognition to Ralph D’Alessandro and Allison Elliot for serving over 10 years on the board. These two individuals are both the visionaries that guided the organization to where it is today and were never afraid to roll up their sleeves and get work done. Leaving the organization in good hands, WSCC welcomes new faces to the board including Alex Carr-Johnson, Mike Burkley, Megan Randall, Darby Kane Prendergast.
During the annual meeting, WSCC membership voted on updated bylaws. Bylaw revisions were vetted by current WSCC board members and approved with 100% support by attendees of the annual meeting to reflect the current conditions of the organization. If you would like to review the new bylaws, please take a look here.
Finally, WSCC staff and board were pleased to present their annual Conservation Hero awards. John Welfelt and Welfelt Fabrication were honored as WSCC’s Business Conservation Hero, for their tremendous support of our annual raffle (tickets for sale April 1st!) and their overall enthusiasm and energy in helping people recreate responsibly and their collaboration with us in helping to Keep the North Fork Fruitful. Russ Zick was awarded the Community Conservation Hero award for his constant, consistent, and energetic volunteer efforts on the Public Lands and Watershed committees and many boots-on-the-ground volunteer days.
WSCC thanks their membership for their unwavering support and is excited to see folks online and on trail in the coming year. Make sure to stay tuned for upcoming events (like our raffle, virtual Pints & Public Lands, and Mike’s Hikes) and ways to volunteer for the organization either on committees or out on the land.
If you did attend the Annual Meeting, let us know what you thought.
Give us feedback through our follow-up survey so we can make it even better next year!