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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrate Wild Earth Day

Location: Nederland, CO 80466, USA
Wild Bear Executive Director, Jill Dreves
... and a bald eagle. Photo by PhotoFu
Come up to Nederland for the 13th Annual Wild Earth Day, which is the largest Earth Day event in Boulder County.

Sunday, April 27th 2014
11:00am – 4:00pm
(You can take the pleasurable ride up Boulder Canyon, on the RTD N Bus)

Wild Earth Day is hosted by the Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center in Nederland, and you can see all the details on their website here. The event is free, and always proves to be a great day of entertainment, education, and celebration of our planet earth.

I find it befitting that Wild Earth Day is hosted in Nederland because our community has a history of attracting environmentally minded folks to the area since Earth Day began in 1970. For some interesting details about Earth Day, scroll down to "Earth Day Perspective" at the bottom of this post.

The Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center hosts two signature events each year. First, is Wild Earth Day held each spring. The other is The Enchanted Forest held in the fall. There is more information about Wild Bear's incredible Executive Director, Jill Dreves in this related Enchanted Forest story:
[Related StorySee the Enchanted Forest in Nederland]
Here is the Daily Camera article (including a video) explaining the fabulous program that Wild Bear puts on each year, and how it was moved to Nederland from NCAR.

Billion Acts of Green (2012):

Every time I walk out of the Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center, I just feel good. So a couple of years ago, when the 'Billion Acts of Green' campaign contacted me, and asked if we would like to participate in their program (including submitting a 10 second video in a matter of a couple of days) I knew it would involve Wild Bear.

I also knew that local Nederland business, Delectable Planet produced hundreds of cooking videos, so I asked if they could turn around the video editing that afternoon, and they agreed. We went over to the Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center and filmed this video and had it edited in an hour.

The Nederland Board of Trustees approved signing a proclamation for Earth Day. The result was this video which was played (along with other towns) on the National Mall in Washington D.C. on April 22, and again in Rio de Janeiro in June (along with a billion others).

Earth Day Perspective:

Earth Day (April 22) was launched in 1970 to leverage the emerging consciousness about air and water pollution and led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts (administered in part by NOAA in Boulder).

Sometimes, I feel as though we take Earth Day for granted. Earth Day is a good time to reflect on how far we have come from those days in the 1970's when we thought nothing of driving huge leaded-gas guzzling cars. When it began, it was quite a profound change for America, and looking back, the United States was on a track we can only think of, in terms of second-world countries. 

At the time, American rivers were so polluted, that it was common for them to catch fire, including the North, Chicago, Buffalo, Fallsaway, Passiac and Rogue rivers, as well as the Houston Ship Channel. Pollution was considered an acceptable by-product of industry. But it wasn't until the Cuyahoga River caught fire (in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio) that it became the cover story in TIME Magazine:
Some River! Chocolate-brown, oily, bubbling with subsurface gases, it oozes rather than flows. "Anyone who falls into the Cuyahoga does not drown," Cleveland's citizens joke grimly. "He decays". . . The Federal Water Pollution Control Administration dryly notes: "The lower Cuyahoga has no visible signs of life, not even low forms such as leeches and sludge worms that usually thrive on wastes." It is also -- literally -- a fire hazard.
The problem wasn't confined to large industrialized cities in the Rust Belt either. Even the small town of Nederland was at risk of being shut down as a town, until Mayor Paul Luedtke addressed our water system in 1971.
[Related StoryThe Legacy of Ned Mayor Paul Luedtke]
With respect to air quality, the Denver area once had the highest carbon monoxide levels in the country. In the 1970's and early 1980's the Denver area exceed all EPA air quality standards nearly 200 days out of the year. Denver's infamous "Brown Cloud" hung over the city and also became news on national magazine covers. Fortunately, through impressive work by the Denver Metropolitan Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) the Denver area isn't even on the list for air polluted cities anymore. (click here to see the air quality in your zip code)

It all reminds me of this Keep America Beautiful public service announcement created by the Ad Council in the 1970's. For those readers too young to remember, the United States really did look like that.

Today, Nederland is recognized for its exceptionally clean air, clean water (which comes straight from a mountain glacier) and thriving wildlife. However, we have new environmental challenges that we could not have anticipated in the 1970's, so come and celebrate Wild Earth Day, and be inspired by the folks at Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center in Nederland.
[Related StoryPacific Trash Vortex and the Single-Use Plastic Bag Debate]

[Here is a Video Valediction] This is Ziggy Marley performing Dragonfly.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Legacy of Ned Mayor Paul Luedtke

Location: Nederland, CO 80466, USA
Nederland Mayor Paul H. Luedtke, 1964-1972
Congratulations to candidates Kristopher Larsen, Charles Wood, and Kevin Mueller that were elected to the Board of Trustees last Tuesday. I thank the voters for re-electing myself as well, because I believe that being re-elected has more to do with the political wind of the community than the particular individual who was mayor at the time.

The Nederland Municipal Code dictates that a mayor is limited to only three, two-year terms. None the less, now that I am in my third term, I began asking community elders, "Who was the last mayor to serve three terms?" No one could remember. Neither the Boulder County Clerk & Recorder's Elections Office, nor the Colorado Secretary of State could verify our election history. This is probably due to Colorado's 'wild west' constitution and strong preference for Home Rule and local control. Therefore, our historical election records are locally controlled.

My question triggered a research project at the Boulder Library Carnegie Branch's local history archives to produce a list of former mayors, and we now have a list of Nederland Mayors available on the town's website. I came across Paul H. Luedtke, who was our mayor fifty years ago, from 1964 to 1972, which is actually four terms. I found that the basic town issues that Mayor Luedtke was addressing fifty years ago, is fairly interesting.

For example, back then, they had two local political parties: the Citizens Party and the Taxpayers Party, loosely representing Democrats and Libertarians respectively. Even today, Nederland is mostly Democrats and Libertarians. Paul Luedtke was in the Citizens Party. Perhaps the very nature of being located 3,000 feet above Boulder skews our population toward this political ideology.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Mountain Music, Arts & Culture Magazine doesn't interview Justin Bieber

Location: Nederland, CO 80466, USA
Page 10 of the February Issue of MMAC Monthly
Mountain Music, Arts & Culture, or the MMAC Monthly, is a monthly magazine distributed across the Peak to Peak region from Georgetown to Estes Park with Nederland right in the middle. I like picking up a copy just to have the Event Calendar handy, but then every time I look at it, I find another article of something interesting from the region that I hadn't thought about. It's really well done for people interested in the mountain cultural scene.

The publisher also produces the official Frozen Dead Guy Days guide. You can find MMAC Monthly on-line with their Twitter and Facebook pages, and the magazine is published on issuu here.