Telluride’s The New Community Coalition: making a difference

Telluride’s The New Community Coalition: making a difference

8th graaders w goat by Kris Holstrom

(Editor's note: Tellurider/director/coordinator Kris Holstrom and The New Community Coaltion (TNCC), the change-agent charged with the greening of the Telluride region, are doing more than talking. TNCC is walking its talk, making a difference, only the changes it is affecting are not flashy and often get lost in the many meetings required to sort out details.

To set the record straight, this is the first in a series of posts to explain what the TNCC has accomplished to date. We begin from the ground up, starting with our kids interested in protecting their legacy.)

TNCC helped start the YES Club in the Telluride High School. That's Youth Empowering Sustainability. The YES Club projects have included: recycle your school supplies – a year end effort that resulted in the recycling of over 500 pounds of paper, 120 3 ring binder notebooks, and countless other school supplies. Usable supplies were saved and distributed to students at the start of the school year – saving money and diverting waste!

The YES Club and TNCC worked with Mountainfilm to gather pledges from businesses and residents in 2008 and presented results on stage.

TNCC and YES Club (as well as Ouray High School and Naturita Elementary School) sold LED holiday lights as a fundraiser. LED lights use about 1/10 of the electricity of standard holiday lights. In addition, they gathered old lights and we sent over 240 strands off for proper recycling. This was a collaborative effort with SMPA.

The YES Club worked with Telluride Ski and Golf to help with a "kids educating kids" program at Topaten, in conjunction with their snowshoe tours and other kid programs. Kids made and decorated bags made from items recycled from the Free Box.

We assisted Telluride Institute with Earth Day in 2008 in the Intermediate School where we staffed a hands on station where the kids planted seeds in flats for the community garden. (Telluride Institute has a wide range of programs offered for free for all the schools within our watershed. They also host the Bridal Veil Living Classroom project for high schoolers, a Real Science Summer program, and others. You might want to get specific info from Eileen Cahalane at, 728-8312.)

TNCC staff was involved in the first THS Cuisine ISP (Intensive Study Period) including a field trip to the growing dome greenhouse in Colona, and use of Tomten Farm's greenhouse herbs for their dinner. This spring TNCC is spearheading a Sustainability ISP starting April 20th. This will include a field trip to view: landfill, recycling and composting in Grand Junction, a stay at White Buffalo Farm in Paonia (organic fruits and vegetables), a visit to SEI (Solar Energy International) and River Road trading post – a food co-op, natural food store, organic food restaurant and school all in one. The class will be setting up worm bins, working with younger grades and creating a video of the experience.

TNCC, with a grant from the Faraway Foundation, will be taking high school students to the Green Festival in Denver May 2-3. Some of the YES Club members will be speaking at the festival in the Teen Pavilion.

 On tap is also a natural body care/health care class for our youth.

TNCC is  working with the school and parents on enhancing the school lunch program – connecting with local farmers and potentially building a greenhouse on site for the students/school use in the lunch program and in connection with the Cuisine ISP.

We'll also be doing a sustainability unit in the 6th grade this spring that includes an emphasis on systems design and cradle to cradle philosophies. TNCC helped set up a plant growth experiment in Ms. Altman's second grade class as well  – looking at plant/fungus synergistic relationships (and yes the second graders knew what "synergy" means!).

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