Earth-friendly projects get dollars |

Earth-friendly projects get dollars

Jeremy Heiman

The Aspen Skiing Co.’s Environmental Foundation has announced grants to support 14 earth-friendly local projects.

The $41,000 to be distributed in this latest round of grants, the fourth in the foundation’s two-year history, is the greatest amount to date. The foundation’s funds are raised by contributions from Skico employees, which are tripled by matching funds from the company and the Aspen Valley Community Foundation.

Distribution of the grant money is determined by the Environmental Foundation’s 12-member board of directors, said Chris Lane, the Skico’s director of environmental affairs.

“This is all grass-roots, employee-run, employee-funded,” Lane said.

All of the money raised through employee donations and matching funds goes directly into grants for projects, with none spent on administration or advertising, Lane said.

And all the money is earmarked for projects planned or undertaken by homegrown groups, some quite small.

“Oftentimes only the big guns get money,” Lane said. “We’re funding the little guys, too.”

None of the projects have been funded by the foundation before, though some of the groups have received foundation grants for other projects.

The winning projects: n The Carbondale Agricultural Heritage Fund’s Technical Assistance Program receives $4,000, which will go toward a conservation easement for permanent protection of 165 acres of open space on the Coffman property outside of Carbondale. n The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies receives $15,000 toward the purchase of a conservation easement on Rock Bottom Ranch, 115 acres along the Roaring Fork in the midvalley. n The Roaring Fork Conservancy receives $6,640 for its Watershed Monitoring Project – establishing 20 water quality monitoring sites throughout the valley. n The Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute receives $4,000 for a project to introduce concepts of edible landscaping to students in several valley schools. n The Carbondale Agricultural Heritage Fund’s Roaring Fork Valley Beef project receives $3,000. The project is intended to set up an economically sound market for locally grown beef, in order to help keep ranchers from being forced to sell out to developers. n Yampah Mountain High School will receive $5,000 toward construction of its student-designed, straw-bale classroom building. n Sustainable Settings, a Woody Creek educational institution, will receive $3,000 for educational programs promoting locally grown food. n Healthy Mountain Communities will receive $5,000 to study the cost burden placed on communities by development. n Sustainable Settings, for its Ecological Literacy through Wetlands Development project, will receive $3,000. n Compass Mountain Land Use Institute will receive $1,500 for its independent review of the Sanders Ranch PUD project. n The Aspen Historical Society will receive $2,500 for interpretive signs for paths along Castle Creek. n The Alfred Braun Hut System will receive $5,000 for sanitary and energy efficiency improvements to the Barnard Hut on Richmond Ridge. n Science Outreach Center will receive $3,000 for its Kids Teaching Kids project. n The Colorado Association of Ski Towns will receive $1,000 for analysis of the effects of magnesium chloride on the environment and on human health.

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