The Colorado Lottery has awarded a 2012 Starburst Community Award to Larimer County Natural Resources for using Lottery dollars to conduct the Plug in to Nature study. The study was funded with a Lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant of $115,000.
GOCO funded this project completely as a step towards implementing their strategic plan wherein a goal area stated a need to “increase the involvement of youth and families in all aspects of the GOCO mission.” GOCO asked Larimer County to manage this pilot project to establish a process for other communities to follow in order to address the concerning trend in which children are becoming increasingly disconnected from the outdoors.
The study confirmed that families strongly value time in nature and desire to have their children spend more time in nature. Available time, distance and cost were discovered to be the primary impediments to Larimer County youth and families having more significant connections to nature. The study includes recommendations for potential programs, facilities, partnerships and target areas for land conservation.
The Colorado Lottery Starburst Community Awards recognize excellence in the use of Lottery proceeds in community projects implemented to enhance a community’s environment.
In Fiscal Year 2012 alone, the Lottery distributed $123.2 million in proceeds. Since its creation 29 years ago, the Lottery has returned more than $2.4 billion to the state.
Lottery proceeds are distributed to three primary beneficiaries: GOCO, Conservation Trust Fund and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. These organizations then provide grants and direct funding for parks, recreation, open space acquisition, trails, and wildlife and conservation education.