I want to thank Dick Moore for his letter to the editor (Sept. 19 DCI) calling attention to the pervasive littering problem in Delta County. I share his disgust with the individuals who thoughtlessly dump trash on the roadside and our public lands, expecting the "trash fairies" to clean up after them.
As a representative of local "do-gooders," as Mr. Moore so aptly described the Conservation Center membership, I would like to remind him and the community about all the good that we do for Delta County. Last year alone, we helped private land owners protect 800 acres of wildlife and agricultural lands in permanent conservation easements, completed our 12th year of water quality and bacteria monitoring; collected 150 water samples for a selenium characterization study to evaluate the impacts of irrigation on water quality; brought 155 community members down the Gunnison River as part of our 13th annual River Awareness Float Trip; hired local artists to install a river overlook platform at the Paonia River Park; organized a River Park volunteer clean-up day; organized over 1,300 volunteer work hours to remove invasive tamarisk and Russian olive trees along the river; published the 2012 Delta County Recycle Guide; successfully advocated for Delta County to install a free recycling center in Hotchkiss; organized over 300 volunteer hours for the Cherry Days Green Team and Zero Waste Zone; and sponsored Pick-Up America's volunteer clean-up which collected 720 pounds of trash from local roads.
We did this in addition to representing the hundreds of community members who asked us to fight an absolutely inappropriate lease sale that would allow drilling to occur next to our schools and water supplies. Maybe we are blowing our own horn, but the Conservation Center and our members do great work and we are an asset to this community.
Could we do more? Absolutely! Since we are a people-powered organization, we do as much as what the people of our community are capable and motivated to do.
Do we pick up trash? Definitely! And we welcome anyone who is interested in making Delta County a healthier and less-littered place to stop by the Conservation Center's office at 204 Poplar Avenue in Paonia. Ask about volunteer opportunities, become a member, or even sit in on our recycling or public lands committees.
We can't do it all, but the "do-gooders" of the Conservation Center sure do a lot. Why not join us? As our mission states, we welcome anyone who wishes to "protect, preserve, and enhance the natural, human, and economic resources of the North Fork of the Gunnison and the Lower Gunnison Watersheds."
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