Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
The annual $1,000 scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior from South Park High School in Fairplay. The special award pays tribute to JoAnn Dufty (1931-2013) whose environmental interests made a lasting
impression in Colorado and whose legacy now creates new
opportunities for aspiring college students.
We have just awarded our fourth scholarship recipient and have received notice of one of our earlier participants graduating this week!
The use of off-road vehicles in the Mosquito Range area has, over time, created illegal roads. Consequently it is difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal roads when out in the field. The use of off-road vehicles in these areas is detrimental to the rare plant population, and fragile tundra ecosystem.
MRHI works to close illegal roads and make more obvious where the legal roads are by sign posting.
This program works in association with the Rare Plants & Trails Project.
We have protected thousands of acres of watershed and plant habitat in the Mosquito Range.
Additionally, we have worked with many partners and hundreds of volunteers. Partners include AmeriCorps NCCC, South Park Ranger District, Colorado Mountain Club, Wildland Restoration Volunteers, Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center, Great Old Broads for the Wilderness, Wild Connections, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative and the USFS South Park Ranger District.
Given that the Mosquito Range is home to several unique rare plants and combinations of rare plant communities that grow nowhere else in the entire world and the popularity of our area for outdoor mountain recreation, these unique alpine plants are at risk. MRHI has hosted a seasonal Rare Alpine Plants & Trails program since 2011 in partnership with other agencies including the South Park Ranger District, US Fish & Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, Coalition for the Upper South Platte, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Park County and South Park National Heritage Area, and Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center. The goals are to identify, preserve and protect rare alpine plant communities of the Mosquito Range in partnership with these agencies; to maintain and enhance local trail systems with particular attention to areas that may be damaged by overuse or misuse; to identify permanent land conservation options for identified areas of key importance for conservation and recreation; and to engage the greater community in rare plant protection through education and volunteer opportunities.
Our success is evidenced by the strength of our partnerships and the recognition we receive from agencies involved with rare plants - Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, South Park National Heritage Area, Park County and Colorado Natural Heritage Program. It is also clearly shown by the increased number of rare plant species found and documented, as well as specific data from our monitoring plots. It is also evidenced through community support -- the dedicated volunteers who assist us in monitoring, the number of residents pulling noxious weeds in their own yards, the volunteers who work on resolving damage issues and the continued funding partners.
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years)
Engage South Park area families with young children as well as children of all ages in hands-on outdoor natural science programs with a particular focus on low-income residents and those with little outdoor experience. Our MRHI Family Adventure Series implements a new direct service outdoor natural science program for area youth and their families. When we began this program, nothing like this existed in our area. Educational enrichment programs are extremely rare in our area and families are anxious for new opportunities for their children to learn and explore, particularly in our rural mountain location. We have amazing areas to explore but many families lack the resources or expertise to share the outdoors with their children. A summer of outdoor education programs will not only give families a taste of the outdoors but will potentially provide the tools to begin some new family outdoor traditions. MRHI will host a variety of events, including activities from the Growing Up Wild and Project Wild programs nationally recognized curriculum, as well as our own activities and local speakers. This year we are quadrupling our Environmental Education Program from ages 4-7 to include youth ages 4-18. Our new programs include: youth outdoor education for ages 7-11 using Growing Up WILD and Project WILD curriculum; a career exploration and mentoring based hiking program for ages 12-18; and a high school phenology program for AP Biology students from South Park School District to do field work and gain experience monitoring a rare plant species.
The biggest indicator of the success of this program is the number of returning participants, as well as the increase in knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for the outdoors from children and families within our community. We have verbal testimonials from parents about the uniqueness of a free outdoor education program in our area.
This program has enhanced our partnership with Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center, Boys & Girls Club of the High Rockies and Park County School District RE-2.
We have received support from the Summit Foundation, Anschutz Family Foundation, New Belgium Brewing, AmeriCorps VISTA, and the South Park National Heritage Area.