Aaron Perry


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  • Episode 104 – Geoffrey May, Trails & Restoration Project Manager, Wildlands Restoration Volunteers
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Stewardship & Sustainability Series
Episode 104 - Geoffrey May, Trails & Restoration Project Manager, Wildlands Restoration Volunteers

Geoffrey May, Trails & Restoration Project Manager at Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, discusses the organization’s landscape regeneration, wetlands restoration, trail construction and maintenance, and trail and road obliteration work throughout wilderness and open space landscapes in Colorado. Their motto is “Healing Land and Building Community.”

In 2020, the organization mobilized 2,236 volunteers for 21,194 volunteer hours, planting 7,302 trees, shrubs, and other perennials, benefiting an estimated 116,737 acres of habitat, and maintained, constructed, or closed 38.5 miles of wilderness trails. Already in 2021, the Wildlands Restoration Volunteers (WRV) has 2,255 volunteers registered and 114 events already scheduled – with many more to come! Not only are these outings a great way to form new friendships and build community while restoring ecosystems, they also provide tremendous mental health and physical health benefits.

With an emphasis on using native plants, and by consulting several ecological and biological technical experts, WRV also deploys mechanical removal techniques (instead of toxic chemical herbicides) to root out invasive, non-native species like Myrtle Spurge, Tamarisk, and Russian Olive. They partner with many organizations (Leave No Trace, National Forest Foundation), as well as several state and local government agencies (Great Outdoors Colorado, Colorado Parks and Wildlife) in order to coordinate projects, best practices, and efforts. Their youth program is especially focused on under-served inner city and minority communities, and partners with Afro Outdoors and Brown Girls Hike to help achieve their “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) goals. A seasoned mountaineer, Geoffrey leads many of the alpine and sub-alpine projects, and reminds us that they have opportunities of varying strenuous levels for people of all abilities to join.

Geoffrey began his relationship with WRV as a volunteer in 2013 while studying Biology at Metro State University in Denver, joined the staff as a seasonal, and is now a project manager for the organization. Previously he managed projects for a nation-wide firm specializing in power grid inspections where he spent many hours in a helicopter over New England and the east coast. In addition to managing trails and restoration projects, Geoffrey manages the Cook Program at WRV where he trains and coordinates volunteer cooks to help feed our crews in the field. He is also a part of WRV’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force working to incorporate DEI principles into the WRV community. Geoffrey grew up in Dallas, and has lived in Colorado for 15 years where his family has multi-generational roots.

RESOURCES:Wildlands Restoration Volunteers: www.wlrv.orgFacebook: www.facebook.com/wrv.restore/Society for Ecological Restoration: www.ser.orgLeave No Trace: www.lnt.orgOutdoor Afro: outdoorafro.comBrown Girls Hike: www.facebook.com/BrownGirlsHikeNational Forest Foundation: www.nationalforests.orgGreat Outdoors Colorado: www.goco.orgColorado Parks & Wildlife: cpw.state.co.us


(Automatically generated transcript for search engine optimization and reference purposes – grammatical and spelling errors may exist.)

Welcome to the YonEarth Community Podcast. I’m your host, Aaron William Perry. And today,

I am visiting with Geoffrey May from Wildlands Restoration Volunteers. Hi, Geoffrey.

Hello. How are you today? I’m doing well. Thank you.

Great. Geoffrey began his relationship with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers as a volunteer

himself in 2013 while studying biology at Metro State University in Denver. He joined the staff as

a seasonal and is now a project manager for the organization. Previously, managed projects for

a nationwide firm specializing in power grid inspections where she spent many hours in a helicopter

over New England and on the east coast. In addition to managing trails and restoration projects,

Geoffrey manages the cook program at WRB where he trains and coordinates volunteer cooks

to help feed the crews in the field. He is also a part of WRB’s diversity, equity,

and inclusion tax scores, working to incorporate DEI principles into the Wildlands Restoration Volunteers

community. Geoffrey grew up in Dallas, but has lived in Colorado for 15 years and has family roots

here. So Geoffrey, I’m just so excited to get to visit with you today and to talk about the amazing

work that you and your colleagues are doing at Wildlands Restoration Volunteers. My hope is

a few fold here, one that many of our friends and colleagues here in the Colorado region will engage

directly with you guys and get involved with the work you’re doing. But also two that are colleagues

and friends that are in other regions might be inspired to do similar work in their communities.

And we’ll talk about some its resources we have there on that front. But first off, Geoffrey,

let me just ask you tell us in a nutshell, what is Wildlands Restoration Volunteers up to?

Wow, that’s a good question. We’re up to these days a bit of everything. We’re about to kick off

a really busy season. You know, we are as focused as ever on delivering on our mission of

healing the land and building community. So we starting this weekend, we’ll be doing some trainings

and projects season starts, has already started. As a matter of fact, we’ve already had some

projects in the field and we’re going to be continuing on. So we’re looking forward to getting back

outside after a long cold winter. It’s really exciting and I just want to go ahead and tell our

audience that you guys put together a really cool video about 15 minutes long. We’ll be including

the links to that and other resources in our show notes. But this video basically shows a lot

of your volunteer activities on the ground in 2020. And I thought, you know, perhaps you can

share with us some of the statistics, some of the accomplishments, some of the facts and figures

from 2020, of course, a rather unusual year. Yeah, sure. I certainly can. So last year,

we engaged several thousand volunteers. There’s over 2,000 volunteers we engaged. We did

miles and miles of trail work. This year, we’ve already engaged that same number of volunteers

before our season even kicked off. So we’ve got right around 2,000 registrations, I believe.

We’re sitting at about a hundred projects scheduled right now where we’re going to go over that

this season. We’ll have probably somewhere closer to a hundred and between 150 and 200 projects

on the books this year, once the season’s over. Really great. Yeah, what is the project? What does that

look like? So it varies by design, I would say. So we kind of break our projects up

into an easy way to break it up is by saying, you know, we have we have some single day, you know,

where it’s just like a Saturday or a Sunday or sometimes just a week day afternoon.

We’re volunteers will gather at a work site to do a variety of different work. We have, you know,

we have different programs within our organization. So sometimes it’s it’s wetland restoration

work, sometimes it’s forestry, sometimes it’s trails, sometimes it’s a native seed collection or

an invasive species of removal. So volunteers show up, they get a briefing, they get, you know,

we separate out an increase, which are led by some very experienced volunteer crew leaders.

And we get to work, at least then the day, healing the lands and building community, you know,

back to our, back to our missions. You know, we we like to promote getting to know each other,

having conversations around the work that we’re doing, but also just around the people that are

part of our community. By the end of the day, hopefully we’ve accomplished the tunnel really good

and rewarding work. And then everybody either hangs out to visit for a little while or head

zone and it’s ready for the next one. If people have signed up for what we what we consider

are multi-day projects, it looks similar during the day with the exception of the fact that we

we camp overnight. So some of these projects that are up in the mountains and say the Breckenridge

area or on some of our 14 years like Mount Elbert or Reyes Peak, volunteers will show up on a Friday

night, we’ll camp, we’ll work Saturday, we’ll camp Saturday night, we’ll work Sunday and go home.

Happy to say that this year, WRV is starting again to provide food after we took a hiatus from

that last year. So we we make sure our volunteers are well fed and in good spirits when we when we

get to work. That’s so great. That’s so great, Geoffrey. Well, so do folks need to have

technical experience and capabilities in order to do some of that high Alpine or high mountain work?

Absolutely not. No experience necessary. There’s also, I should mention, we get this question

often, there is no cost for tuning out on our volunteer projects as well. We have very experienced

and well trained volunteer leaders. And so those are the folks who have the background and have

been on the projects and have the experience and they are able to interact with our volunteer

through numbers and show them what to do and you know teach them about what we’re doing and how

to do it right. Yeah, I saw in that video that you had a lot of folks doing some trail restoration

rehab work and obviously with growing populations in our Metro Denver Front Range region, we’ve seen

more traffic and and pressure on some of the wilderness landscapes to the west of the of the

Metro Denver region. Yeah, I’m just curious what kinds of things are you guys doing when you’re

up in those wilderness environments working on trails? I would break it down in this sort of

remakes of categories of trail work that we do. So trail construction, which would mean building

new trails. We do trail maintenance, which is really at the heart of what you alluded to with

user numbers going up. We also do some trail and road obliteration with the amount of high

user numbers. People tend to tend to go off trail a little more and you know in the mountains

when it’s popular hiking trail, if someone sees one person going off trail, many more will follow

right. That sort of creates what we call social trails. So we do some work to get rid of those

social trails, but while we’re doing that, we work in conjunction to improve the the managed

trails, the trails where our agents and partners want the people to stay on. Yeah, that makes a lot

of sense to me and enjoyed a lot of camping, hiking, backpacking up in the mountains around here

over the years and really appreciate the really high quality trail work and trail maintenance

that seems to show up in a lot of these places. And I’m curious when you’re out there doing that

kind of trail work, I noticed in the video sometimes you’re employing some llamas, some Yamas to help

carry supplies and tools. Yeah, it’s got to be pretty rigorous work, some of which you guys are

doing. It is really rigorous and if folks go to our website, we’ll see that we have our projects

broken down by one of the ways you can break the projects down and look at our registrations is

by activity level. So yeah, some of the projects are very strenuous. I every year and for the past

several years I’ve been running a program of projects on Colorado 14ers and it’s part of I should

mention the Find Your 14er initiative, something people can look up if they’re interested. Yeah, it’s

the Find Your 14ers initiative or Find Your 14er initiative. I think it’s a collaboration between

all the acronyms in Colorado. Let’s go at the VOC and CFI and you know, we found

that else of our audience who they are. Yeah, I will. And I want to mention that the 14er

initiative is headed by the National Forest Foundation, which is a partner of the US Forest Service.

And they are fantastic partners of ours. So they have gotten all of us acronyms together to

collaborate on working on all the 14ers in Colorado. They have them prioritized. WRV’s and

organization is going into I think our fifth year working on some of these mountains. So it’s

great to speak and not Albert this year. Do you have a most favorite 14er in Colorado?

I would have to say, Albert, you know, it has a lot of significance for me, not just as a mountain

that I have enjoyed being on as a user, but have put a lot of work into you.

And just some of the iconic views and, you know, the wonderful hike. I just really

have an appreciation for that mountain. Great. Yeah, it’s a beauty. I wanted to just mention

real quick GoCo, one of these acronyms. Great outdoors Colorado, right? Is that what that’s saying?

Get outdoors Colorado. Yeah. Right outdoors Colorado. Yeah, you’re right. Yes.

And they’ve been around for a number of years now. And I just I love that they’re funded in

significant part by Lotto dollars. And it’s an interesting kind of ecosystem that’s been created

here in Colorado. We’re certain things like Lotto, which I don’t know that are necessarily creating

a whole lot of public good in other states. Right. Through Colorado, I understand many of these

proceed. They’re going to both education and a lot of conservation work in our outdoors.

And GoCo has been able to make a lot of really good restoration and conservation efforts happen

for many years throughout Colorado. Yeah, they they have. And they are they are a wonderful

partner to work with. We more often work with them indirectly through other, you know,

municipalities and other collaborations. But, you know, if it’s GoCo or National Forest

Foundation or Colorado Parks and Wildlife, you know, they are all fantastic partners to work with.

They really understand the need for what we’re doing above and beyond just, you know, above and

beyond just landscaping the mountains. Right. Like there is a real need for it to keep to keep our state

as beautiful as it is, as accessible as it is, but also to guarantee that, you know, we keep our

lands clean, that folks have clean water and clean land. And that that our ecosystems are healthy,

that, you know, that the habitat in Colorado stays intact and continues to arrive alongside

those of us who live here or come here as users of these natural and, you know, natural open spaces.

Yeah. Yeah. It’s beautiful. I mean, I, I consider myself really fortunate to to live here in

Colorado where we have so much access to outdoors, to wilderness. And some of us are

avid mountaineers, you know, doing things like climbing and pretty extreme mountaineering. But

others, and I would count myself in this ladder category, others like a good saunter in the valley

or a nice backpack up along a creek for several miles. Yeah. But getting into those kinds of

spaces, obviously, there’s a lot of research that’s been done on this, but for us to be out in

wilderness really affects our entire, the frame of being. And there’s amazing science showing

connections with things like cognitive performance, stress reduction, immune system boosting.

I’m curious if a lot of your, your volunteers and colleagues are aware of those kinds of

impacts as they’re out doing this work. We are. Yeah. We, it’s something that we, as a staff, talk

about often. I mean, you know, first of all, I should mention how lucky I and my colleagues feel

to be working in this field. You know, our work involves sometimes sitting in front of a computer

or at a desk and planning, but the other part of our job is being out in that environment that

you’re talking about. But yeah, it is, we do feel it’s important to make that connection with

our volunteers as well. And, and facilitate a way to not only enjoy those benefits, but to give

that at the same time. The other thing I will say is we feel very strongly that access to that

experience needs to be more equitable. And so we, we have been working to, to try and

be a more inclusive community, be a more diverse community and share those, share that, that beauty.

And, and the rewards of being out in the state and the natural places in Colorado with, with a

with a wider variety of people with a, you know, with a more inclusive and more diverse community.

And I think that’s something that’s really important and something that has an organization

we’re trying to focus on. This, to me, is a really important part of your guys work in. Part of my

background is working in the local and regional food systems. And of course, that means having done

a lot of work in different places that are considered so-called food deserts. These tend to be the

lower income communities in the urban regions as well as the very rural regions of the state.

And I was struck a few years back when in the kind of inner city setting of Denver

to discover that there are a whole lot of folks right there in a place like Denver, Colorado,

who told me literally they hadn’t been up to the mountains. And it astonished me, right? Because

that was what made me 20 miles away. And I’m really curious, not only how you guys are helping to

make that access more equitable, but I’m also curious how you might be helping to

engender the awareness or even the interest in some of these communities of connecting with the

mountain wilderness and some of these other amazing landscapes that are outside the cities.

Yeah. You know, I think that goes those go hand in hand. One of the ways that we

have been accomplishing both of those goals and moving forward with our diversity, equity,

and inclusion plans is working with youth. Because we want to be able to

share what Colorado has to offer, what those natural places have to offer with everyone.

And youth is a great place to start. These are young people who are eager, very eager to learn

new things and experience new things. And, you know, for many of us who work in this industry, you

know, our drive to make these natural places better and more sustainable, started when they were

young. So I think there’s a desire to share that with young people. I think it’s important that

we’re sharing it with a more diverse group of young people as well, so that they can be ambassadors.

You know, young folks are a sense of old when I say that. Young folks, but yeah, the young people

that we work with are great ambassadors once they’ve had the experience of being out in these

areas and doing the work and feeling how rewarding it is. And just that anxiety you get from being

out in nature, you know, all the benefits, the mental health benefits, the physical health benefits,

all of it. So we have a really great and thriving youth program run by, I’m like the worker,

Rachel Brett, that works with youth, but also we’re very fortunate that that then also feeds into

our adult community of volunteers. So some of the ways that we’re moving towards those

goals that you mentioned was reaching out to other partners in the community, you know, whether it’s

Afro-outdoors or Brown Girls High or organizations like that, who do the heavy lifting of

creating diversity and equity and inclusion in the outdoors. So we want to continue partnership

with organizations like that and do more outreach. And I will say that we have a lot of work to do.

We have, you know, quite a ways to go. We started, we released a statement last year about our

intention to do the hard work of creating diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoors.

And we do recognize that we have a long way to go, but we are very serious about making progress

towards those goals. That’s really great. I’m curious, in addition to volunteering and helping

with these projects, how might folks in our audience also help those kinds of efforts that you

guys are doing around the diversity, equity, and inclusion work?

Relationship building is a big part of it. So for any folks who are listening,

and our members of a group that would like to get involved with us to help sort of champion these

goals, that is, you know, that’s a big thing for us. The communication back and forth,

having conversations about how we can move forward. And then, you know, organizing some

get-togethers and some projects, having people come out to our events is a great way to do it.

I would also say there’s always volunteering to be done. And we welcome all folks to volunteer

on projects. We encourage everybody to sign up. New people, in particular, I love seeing on my

projects. What I’m out in the field, you know, and I ask that question, you know, who’s, you know,

who’s on their first WRB project? There’s always, you know, there’s always a lot of smiling faces

from the people who have been around for a while, you know, excited to meet somebody new.

So, yeah, volunteering, reaching out, helping facilitate those discussions. It is a great way

for folks to help us with part of the equity inclusion goals. That’s really great. I really

appreciate how you use the term ambassador in regard to some of the ways in which folks,

especially youth who have these experiences, will then share in their communities. And

at the Y and Earth community, we actually have an ambassador program. And it’ll be really fun

to encourage some of our ambassadors to get involved with what you guys are doing. And it’s a great

way to continually build our communities together while also doing this important restoration and

regenerative work. And I’m curious, this kind of leads me to another question I’ve been wondering

about. When you guys are out in wilderness settings, you mentioned the native seed harvest

seeing and also working to remove invasive weeds. I imagine you’re essentially also educating

folks around some of the botany that’s found in those different environments, some of the native

plants and maybe some of the plants that shouldn’t necessarily be there. Yeah, we are. So,

education is one of those fundamentals that we like to include on our projects. Whether it’s

about native seeds or invasive species like Mertle Spurge and Russian Olive and Tamarice,

those are really big ones in Colorado that we have sort of everywhere. Or, you know, whether it’s,

you know, like, what goes into building a trail? Why is it important? What are the effects of

overuse of a trail? All of these things, we tend to talk about the why on our projects quite a bit.

Not just at the beginning of our projects, but, you know, throughout. And I have to give a lot of

credit to our volunteer leadership for taking a lot of that on projects. Our pre-leaders who

interface with our volunteers are very knowledgeable and very eager to talk to volunteers about the

why’s. We also have a really strong solid group of volunteer, what we call technical advisors.

These are folks with science backgrounds usually. Folks who have been studying Colorado

and its species and fora and fauna for ages, they consult on our projects and design work that

on site there. You know, we find them all the time talking to volunteers about plant species or

geology or hydrology, things like that. So, you know, we encourage the science, you know,

the nerding out on the science behind and the why’s behind our projects, for sure.

That’s so great. Now, are you still accepting volunteers for 2021 or are you absolutely okay?

We are. Yeah, we have, I’ll mention that statistic, so right now we have 2,255 volunteer

registrations for this 2021 season. That’s 557 unique individuals who have signed up.

But we leave our registration open for the duration of our season. Right now, we have a lot of

projects that are full and have wait lists. We will be adding more projects as the season continues,

we anticipate adding several more as a matter of fact. I will also encourage, I just want to get

a plug in for how we get our website works, excuse me. When you go to our website and want to

sign up for a project, it may say that it’s wait listed and I would encourage anybody who’s

interested in that project to sign up for the wait list because life happens and people have to

have to back out of the project that they may have signed up for. So, there are always good odds

of getting on to a project if you want to. That’s great. And so, that’s the WLRV.org site.

That’s correct, yeah, WLRV.org. It’s WRV.org was taken. So, we added the L into our website.

Yeah, for the lands. That’s great. Yeah, and while we’re on at the topic, let me share that your

Facebook is WRV.Restore. And for folks who are interested in connecting with other similar efforts

outside of Colorado, Geoffrey was kind enough to share the Society for Ecological Restoration,

which can be found at volunteermatch.org and we’ll share these URLs and links, of course,

in the show notes. Geoffrey, I want to just remind folks who we are and what we’re up to today,

and I was curious, are you going to show some images, or I know we’re going to show the video

at the end of the episode, but do you also want to throw some images up while we’re talking?

Yes. It’s only if it’s convenient while I’m mentioning some of our sponsors and stuff, but

I will say that folks really should check out the beautiful 15-minute video you guys put together,

and it’s stunning because it has, at the outset, a lot of footage from the incredible wildfires we

experienced last year, and then shows folks working on restoring some of those impacted areas.

And let me just say this is the WLR community podcast. I’m your host, Aaron William Perry.

Today we’re visiting with Geoffrey May from the Wildlands Restoration Volunteers,

and I want to give a big shout out to all of the WLR community ambassadors and folks who have

joined our monthly donation program. You can join at any level if you haven’t yet joined

and would like to just go to WLR.org slash support. If you join at the $33 or greater levels,

we’ll be very happy to send you monthly shipments of the way they want us,

biodynamically grown, have infused the Roman therapy soaking salts as a thank you.

I want to also give a big thank you to several of our sponsors and donors who

make this podcast series possible, as well as our community mobilization work.

That includes Earth Coast Productions, the LIDGE Family Foundation,

Alpine Botanicals, Purium, Earth Hero, Liquid Trainer, Vera Irwells,

Growing Spaces, Soil Works, Joyful Journey Hot Springs Spa,

Earth Water Press, Dr. Bronners, 1% for the planet, and since Y on Earth is part of the 1%

for the planet program, if you’d like, you can route your charitable giving through that

program to Y on Earth. And of course, want to give a big shout out to Patagonia with whom we

recently established a affiliate partnership. We’ve got several of these companies and organizations

on our website on our sponsored partner page, and there you can click through a lot of these

companies and get discounts on their products, and part of those proceeds will come back to the

Y on Earth’s community. So a huge thanks to all of those folks making this possible, and especially

to folks who have joined our stewardship circle, including Bob Hill. And again, to get to Wildlands

Restoration Volunteers, it’s wlrv.org to track down resources outside Colorado. It’s volunteermatch.org.

And Geoffrey, I want to ask you, so you seem to me that here you are now doing so much of your work

on the ground, right? Literally. And you’ve got this background where you were up in the air

doing work from helicopters on energy infrastructure. I imagine not only was that fairly intense

technical work, it probably also had you sort of in a bird’s eye view overlooking some pretty

cool landscapes. It did. And that, you know, that was one of the things in my life that really

strengthened my resolve to work in the outdoors, to work to better those natural places and to

help keep them thriving. You know, seeing things from a bird’s eye view is, I don’t know, you can

describe it, but it doesn’t do it. It never does it justice, right? And I worked on the East Coast

in the New England also here in Colorado, you know, seeing the mountains from up high. Maybe that’s

why I like working on the 14ers because I get back to that bird’s eye view. But yeah, I enjoyed

that work. It was an interesting time, but I have to say, I really get a lot of fulfillment

about being down on the ground under the canopy now, or sometimes about it.

Yeah, that’s really great. I can imagine that there are some spots on some of those 14ers that

might feel very similar to being up in a helicopter in some ways.

Oh, absolutely. Yeah, that’s one of the rewards for all of the hard work that we put into those

mountains is the view. Yeah. Well, great. Well, where did we land on the sharing of the photos

idea? Is that something we should just say for the end? Yeah, let’s. I’ve got some hold up,

but they’re in a better format for the end. I will say that if folks want to see some pictures

from our work, they can go to wlrv.org. There’s a link up at the top. I’m sorry, there’s a link

on the left hand side down at the bottom. This is event photos that will take people to our flicker

album. And they can check out photos from projects going back all the way to 1999.

So there’s a lot to look through. Heck, that was last century. Yeah. Yeah, it seems like forever

ago. But yeah, that was when that was our first year, by the way, wrv was founded in 1999.

Oh, okay. So we celebrated 20 years in 2019 and moving forward into our 22nd year.

Yeah, that’s really exciting. By the way, I was so excited that we’re going to, I think we’re

going to basically edit in this 15 minute video at the end of this episode, just a very easy

for folks to watch and listen to. And when I was looking at that, I was struck not only by the

footage of the fires, which I mentioned, but also the ways in which you guys have

innovated in the face of COVID and natural disasters like these fires we had last year.

And it was great the way you showed these, these portable stations for hand sanitizing,

as well as these hands free foot, foot, foot action control, the coffee dispensers, which

I thought was brilliant. Can you describe this for us a little bit?

Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s hard to understate the importance of coffee on a project, right?

Especially when you’re high up in the mountains and have to get up very, very early to hike up

and do some work. So we have coffee, you know, you’re running the mills sort of coffee dispensers.

But because we wanted to be really safe during COVID, you know, anything that we could do hands free,

was a win for us. We put a lot of hours into coming up with a protocol, COVID protocols, but also

some interesting engineering. So we took those coffee dispensers and went kind of low tech

with some, with some cord and either a piece of wood or a snow pole that you can, you know,

use with your foot to get the tasty coffee in the morning, like yourself up.

You know, we had some innovations around hand washing stations as well,

all kinds of different sanitation. It was, it was interesting times last year,

last spring, when we were ramping up for our project season because that’s when,

you know, all the lockdowns happened and restrictions were happening. And we really

took a moment to, to step back and think, okay, can we, can we do our work?

Can we do it safely? And all right, how do we do it? We pulled together as a staff,

puts some hours in, and there were some great creative solutions that came out of it.

This is really wonderful. Yeah, it really shows in that video.

I want to ask, you know, before we, before we sign off in transition to the, to the video you

guys put together Indian Peaks wilderness, right? This is the place I shared with you before we

started recording that I’ve been going to since I was a high school student and it has become a very

special part of my, my life. One of the places that I really deeply connect with, with Earth,

with Mother Nature, with the Divine. And I was just thrilled to see you guys do work in the Indian

Peaks wilderness region, which is west of the Boulder area. And it was just curious if there’s

any special little nugget or treadmill might share with us about the Indian Peaks area and

what you guys are doing up there. Right. Yeah, I can, I can share a little bit about that.

I will say that the getting into the Indian Peaks wilderness was sort of a natural progression

from some projects that we did in the Bernard Lake area. We started many years ago as a matter of

fact, when I was my very first project as a volunteer with WRB, was at the Bernard Lake, one of the

Brandon Lake projects, where we were building access trails from the parking lots to the trailheads.

One of those goes up to the trailheads to get into the Indian Peaks wilderness area.

So once we finished those, our work continued up and we started working on some really badly

needed maintenance in the Indian Peaks area. Those user groups, as we mentioned, those user numbers

have continued to increase over the years. And Indian Peaks is beautiful. And I think a lot of people

have similar experience to you. That’s a place that they go. That’s a place that they take

their kids. In a lot of ways, it’s a modern day sacred space. And I will say it has been a

sacred space for the original caretakers of these lands. So we want to continue to treat them

as such. So our work continues up in Indian Peaks with some trail work, building some structures

and some trails. We were not 100% sure about llamas this year, but there’s a good chance that we

will have some llamas up again. And we’ll be working up there for many years to come. There’s a

lot to do. It’s really wonderful to hear it. And I guess I’ll give a quick plug too, that as more

and more of us are enjoying these outdoor wilderness areas, it really behooves us to take the time

to learn the best practices to keep our impacts as low as possible when we’re out hiking and camping

and so on. And it’s not rocket science. There are a handful of pretty simple and straightforward

things we can do to be really good stewards as we’re out moving through those environments.

Agreed. Yeah, you know, leave no trace ethics as we refer to it as a part of our projects.

And if people are interested, leave no trace as a great website lint.org.

I highly recommend that people get familiar with those ethics and do their best to stick to them

when they’re out in the in not just in the wilderness in Colorado, even in the front country,

right? It’s important everywhere. And it is been a part of how we run our projects for for

by a while. That’s great, Geoffrey. Well, I am so excited that we’ve had this opportunity to

visit together today. I’m thrilled too that we’re going to be able to share this video with folks

that you all put together. Before we sign off for this segment of the episode, is there anything else

you’d like to say or share with our YonEarth community audience?

Well, I mean, thank you for the opportunity to talk. You know, I’m always happy to talk about my work

and about something that I love doing. Thank you to the folks who are listening. If people

are interested, please reach out to us. You know, if it’s, you know, for volunteering,

we also appreciate any, you know, we’re a nonprofit organization. We rely heavily on donations as

well. So for those folks who are interested, they can reach out via the website to help out that

way. And hopefully we’ll see some new faces on projects this year. If you see me on a project

and you’re learning about us to be the program, you know, let me know. I’d love to talk to some new

people. That sounds great, Geoffrey. And I’ll tell you what. I hope I’m one of these new volunteers

that you might cross paths with later this year. I would love that. Yeah, I’d love to see it,

to see you out on some of our projects. It’s a really good time. It’s very therapeutic for

everybody involved. It’s very rewarding and very fulfilling. Yeah, I can imagine. I look forward to it.

Well, thank you so much, Geoffrey. It’s wonderful visiting with you. Yeah, thank you. Yeah, take care.

Bye-bye. Bye-bye.

Follow the sun and which way the wind blows.

And this day is time.

with the words of love behind me

Well, trouble looks like lemon dust

High above the chimney top that’s aware

You find me old somewhere over the rainbow

The blue was flying

And the dream that she did to boy, boy

Can’t hide

Oh, someday I wish I found a star

Wake up where the clouds are far behind

We were trouble meals like lemon drops

High above the chimney top that’s aware

You find me old somewhere over the rainbow

Oh, someday I wish I found a star

Wake up where the clouds are far behind

Oh, someday I wish I found a star

Wake up where the clouds are far behind

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