Shelley Bayard DeVolo, Environmental Coordination Specialist
The Board of Larimer County Commissioners, and the Environmental Science and Advisory Board honored three individuals/organizations for their outstanding work with Environmental Stewardship in Larimer County at the 22nd annual Environmental Stewardship Awards.
Including this year’s awards, 85 individuals or groups have been recognized since the program began in 1995. The awards are given to individuals, businesses, and groups that have committed to engaging in activities that exemplify outstanding stewardship of the environment.
The award winners for 2018 are:
1. Estes Valley Watershed Coalition
The EVWC is a non-profit organization comprised of Estes Valley citizens who volunteer their time to plan and implement watershed restoration projects. The Coalition also serves to educate the local community on the importance of the watershed to water quality, flood risk, and fish and wildlife. They work with the community by involving stakeholders and students from the local schools in all of their projects.
In 2017 the Coalition completed 14 mitigation and watershed improvement projects, costing more than $4 million, primarily funded through federal and state grants with local matching funds. Restoration projects took place in Fish Creek, Fall River, and the Upper Big Thompson River, and included over three miles of stream improvements. The result of their work has improved public safety and contributed to more resilient watersheds within the Estes Valley. Wildlife has benefitted as well, and even during the construction phase, beavers, waterfowl, and fish moved into the newly constructed pools within restored streams. Using their watershed master plan as their guide, the Coalition continues to work on stream improvement projects in the Estes Valley.
2. Bestway Painting and Timothy Stolz
Timothy Stolz, the owner of Bestway Painting in Estes Park, administers a program where he collects unused paint and stain for recycling. The past year was the program’s first year, and it was highly successful – collecting more than 70,000 lbs. of paint! Bestway Paint collects and stores the paint throughout the year, and then provides the labor to load PaintCare trucks when they come to the Estes Valley for pick-ups. Tim’s program was particularly important while Hwy 34 was closed, which made it very difficult for contractors and citizens to properly dispose of their paint and stain at the Larimer County landfill.
Tim works with community youth who volunteer their time with the program, and he participates in the Estes Park Earth Day Celebration by sponsoring the event’s first-place prize of $100 for the top poster presentation. Tim’s work has contributed much to improve water quality in the Estes Valley by keeping unwanted paints and stains out of the local waterways.
3. Ridgeline Hotel
The Ridgeline Hotel in Estes Park integrates environmental stewardship through its GreenPath program. This includes using LED bulbs for all their lighting, offering a recycling program for glass, aluminum, batteries and more. They installed bulk soap and shampoo dispensers in their showers, eliminating the plastic waste associated with the small bottles typically provided. They also educate their guests on the importance of water conservation through providing them a shower timer that challenges them to a five-minute shower. Guests can contribute to reducing the Hotel’s environmental impacts by participating in an “Opt-Out of Housekeeping” option in exchange for a free drink.
The Hotel’s Ridgeline’s Latitude 105 restaurant, and adjacent Estes Park Conference Center, eliminates its food waste using a Food Waste Digester. Since February of this year, they have digested 1.3 tons of food waste that would have otherwise gone to the Larimer County landfill. At the conference center, the hotel hosts zero waste events by using reusable or compostable service ware.
About Larimer County
Larimer County serves all residents and businesses through stewardship of numerous community resources, infrastructure improvement and maintenance, planning services, transparent public records, human and economic health initiatives and broad community-wide public safety services. The County has a rich agricultural and western heritage that is reflected in our commitment to a high quality of life and preservation of our natural areas.