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TABLE OF CONTENTS
8 LIFE IN MONTEZUMA COUNTY SPRING 2017
12 LIFE IN MONTEZUMA COUNTY SPRING 2017
Find family-friendly festivals and activities in Montezuma County to capture every moment of these long summer days.
Light and Full: Adventuring to Discover Dynamics There’s few things more important in relationships than flow, but how can group dynamics transform an adventure?
A Different Kind of Breakfast Club
Whispers in the Willowtail Wind
Fozzie’s Farm Fosters Focus
LIFE IN MONTEZUMA COUNTY SPRING 2017
LIFE IN MONTEZUMA COUNTY SPRING 2017
LIFE IN MONTEZUMA COUNTY SPRING 2017
Letter from the Editor
#ZUMAN: Cowboy Pipe People Theatre
The images and colors of southwest Colorado from our friends and neighbors.
Rotary Club of Dolores is a new kind of breakfast club of diverse members with one ultimate goal: service above self.
Nurturing the land brought Willowtail Springs Nature Preserve and Education Center to life, but the artists who visit keep the creative energy flowing.
Fozzie’s Farm opens dialogue for the future of land trusts and conservation in Montezuma County, and supports a connection to the land.
ABOUT THE COVER
I’m a professional photojournalist shooting photos in the Four Corners for the past 20 years. During my travels I always keep a look out for scenes like this old truck in a field in Dove Creek. Times are changing as farmers, ranchers and businesses get rid of old cars, tear down old buildings, so it’s a treasure to find these older things and document what is slipping away. - Jerry McBride, photographer 3
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS
It’s the summertime and we’re all thankful for the long days. This issue of ZUMAG covers the fun events in Montezuma County and shares photos from summers past. In this issue, we investigate what space and place mean to the people who populate Montezuma County, and how they contribute their time and ideas to promote growth and development in a diverse and vibrant community. From a short backpacking adventure into the wild desert to the extended life of Willowtail Springs, we learn how we can manifest our dreams and what to do when they come to life. The article featuring Fozzie’s Farm offers a way for us to ask new questions about what comes next. ZUMAG is a dream come true to make as it connects us to wonderful people and their stories of life in Montezuma County. It’s inspiring to have the support of our advertisers who believe in the power of a connected community. We thank you for supporting ZUMAG and making it possible. Our contributors are talented and carry the spirit of generosity in everything they do. Stay cool, Montezuma County, and enjoy your summer.
Colleen Donley, co-founder and co-editor
Hunter Harrell is a writer, journalist and lifelong learner.
Whether captured in music, film or on a tangible page, sheâ€™s inspired and driven by the stories and experiences of others. She is a wallflower who appreciates new adventures, road trips and hole-in-the-wall diners. She traded rural cornfields in her Southern Illinois hometown for the neon lights of Music City to design newspapers for all of Middle Tennessee before finding a place to truly call home in Durango.
Rosie Mansfield was raised in flatland Missouri. Her idea
of the outdoors had more to do with catching frogs in creeks and riding horses around barrels than rock climbing and backpacking. It was not until moving to Boston for college and exploring the nearby White Mountains in New Hampshire that climbing, biking, fishing and backpacking became part of her outdoor experience. Now she lives in Montezuma County and spends most weekends in the desert in southeast Utah climbing, camping and cooking backcountry feasts or in the San Juan Mountains fishing and backpacking.
EDITORIAL Editors Colleen Donley Ryan Robison Assistant Editor Hunter Harrell Claudia Laws Design Director Todd Bartz
Travis Custer spends his time parenting, teaching and
working to strengthen community resilience through local food, agriculture and social systems. He is a lifelong learner focusing on agronomy, soil ecology, policy, regenerative agriculture and community organizing. Custer lives in Mancos, Colorado and is the proud father of an incredible five-year-old boy.
Sam Green, Photographer Sam has lived in worked in
Montezuma County as an editor, photographer, business owner, water skier and all around great guy. Sam is the photographer for The Journal in Cortez and spends a great deal of his time and energy at community events.
Writers Hunter Harrell Rosie Mansfield Travis Custer
Advertising Design Justin Meek Christian Ridings
Vice President of Advertising David Habrat
Distribution Services Shelley Tanner
Advertising Director Colleen Donley
Photographers Jerry McBride Sam Green
Account Executives Shawna Long Teressa Nelson Ryan Robison Ami McAlpin
CORTEZ || DOLORES || MANCOS
Chief Executive Officer Douglas Bennett
ÂŠ 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Published in the United States by Ballantine Communications, Inc. 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Ballantine Communications uses reasonable effort to include accurate and up-to-date information for its special publications. Details are subject to change, so please check ahead. The publisher accepts no responsibility for any consequences arising from the use of this guide. We welcome suggestions from readers. Please write to the editor at the address above.
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DOLORES RIVER BREWERY Brewing Philosophy Our Brews
Brewing is a strange form of alchemy, rarely understood, never mastered. Theory, philosophy, and perception all coalesce to create a belief in proper practice. However, what one brewer finds as “truth”, another will just as soon condemn as folly. The longer one brews, the more respect on has for the mystery of this ancient art, our brewing philosophy centers around reverence and intention. We strive to bring our heart and presence to our brewing practice in a way that can manifest the most ideal conditions for “the magic” of fermentation. The rest is up to the universe. MILD - Our lightest bodied ale, malty and slightly nutty with a floral dry finish. PALE - Medium bodied and caramelly with a citrusy hoppyness. ESB - A fuller bodied malty beer with roasty undertones and a clean dry finish. DRY STOUT - Rich but surprisingly light bodied, chocolaty, roasty, and smooth. SNAGGLETOOTH - Full bodied with toffee notes and lots of hoppy character including citrus, pine and roses.
Seasonal & Specialty Beers
We are continuously brewing curious beers to fit both the season and our whims. These beers vary from recognized world styles - such as Munich Lagers to styles of our own devise such as Jamaican Sweet Brown. There is nearly always at least one of these brews lurking on tap. Don’t be afraid to broaden your horizons.
Check out our Summer event schedule at www.doloresriverbrewery.com 104 South 4th Street – Dolores, CO · (970) 882-4677 · Tuesday – Sunday 4pm to Closing
Summer Fun Literary Fridays
The Cortez Public Library will host Literary Fridays, featuring storytellers, music, dance, and more. Where: Cortez Public Library, Cortez When: 10-11 a.m. Monthly every third Friday, March 17 to Dec. 15 Admission: Free
Cortez Farmers Market
The Cortez Farmers Market is every Saturday in the summer and fall at the corner of Market and Elm streets next to the Montezuma County Courthouse. Where: Montezuma County Courthouse, Cortez When: 7:30 a.m. - Noon. Repeats weekly, June 3 to Oct. 7 Admission: Free
Summer Reading Program
inspirational messages. Rocks painted by Mancos High School juniors and first graders are hidden throughout the town of Mancos. If you find a
rock, take a photo and upload it to the Mancos Rocks Facebook page. Then hide it again for someone else to find!
Where: Town of Mancos
When: Noon - 1 p.m. Repeats weekly, May 24 to Aug. 12 Admission: Free
Archaeological Research Center Tours Crow Canyon Archaeological Center will offer
free tours of its archaeological research center
every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during the summer from 10 to 11 a.m. For more information, visit www.crowcanyon.org. Where: Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Cortez
The Cortez Public Library will hold its summer reading program between June 1 and July 28. Kids and teens can pick up reading logs and track the number of books they read. They can also enter a prize drawing and register online to receive a T-shirt when the program ends. Contact the library for more information. Where: Cortez Public Library, Cortez When: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Repeats weekly, June 1 to July 28 Admission: Free
When: 10 - 11 a.m. Repeats weekly,
When: 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. Repeats weekly,
Mancos Rocks seeks to spread compassion and fun this summer through rocks painted with 8
May 31 to Sept. 29 Admission: Free
Mesa School Garden: Summer Volunteer Days Montezuma School to Farm Project hosts
community volunteer days on Wednesdays and Thursdays in local school gardens. For more
information visit montezumaschooltofarm.org.
Where: Mesa Elementary School Garden, Cortez June 8 to July 27
This list is a snapshot of the great summer events happening in Montezuma County. If we missed your event, weâ€™re apologetic. Please email us to share community events.
Mancos Meditation Group
The Mancos Meditation Group meets every
Thursday evening in the upstairs of the Bauer Bank Building in Mancos, above the Absolute
Bakery. The group meets for a quiet 25-minute sit followed by a reading and discussion. All are welcome to attend, no experience with meditation is required.
Where: Bauer Bank Building, Mancos
When: 6 - 7 p.m. Repeats weekly, Jan. 5 to Dec. 7 Admission: Free
Montezuma County Free Legal Clinic
Free legal clinics are held the first Tuesday of
every month at the Mancos Public Library. Drop-
ins are welcome. Sessions are intended for people without attorneys.
Where: Mancos Public Library, Mancos When: 2 - 3:30 p.m. Repeats monthly, June 6 to Dec. 5
Third Thursdays Downtown Market The City of Cortez and Cortez Retail
Enhancement Association will host live music, vendors and games in Montezuma Park every
third Thursday of the month during the summer. Where: Montezuma Park, Cortez
When: 5 - 8 p.m. Repeats monthly,
Dolores Mountain Bike Race: Escalante Days
This race is presented by the Rotary Club of Dolores, a nonprofit organization made up entirely of volunteers, where all proceeds go to help the community with childrenâ€™s programs, scholarship and youth leadership opportunities. Where: Flanders Park, Dolores When: Aug. 12, 9 a.m. Admission: www.doloresrace.com
Mancos Days: Honoring Those Who Serve Celebrate Mancos the last weekend of July with parades, kids and adult games, sports tournaments, live music, vendors and more. Where: Boyle Park, Mancos When: July 28-30 Admission: Free
Harvest Beer Festival
The Harvest Beer Festival is a benefit for the Montezuma Land Conservancy and is an evening of fun for the whole family. The cost is $25 online or $30 at the door. The evening is accompanied by great live music, activities for children, a super silent auction and delicious food from local vendors. Where: Montezuma Land Conservancy, Cortez When: September 9, 4 - 9 p.m. Admission: $30
June 15 to Sept. 21 Admission: Free
Little Legs Adventures Program
San Juan Mountains Association and local public lands agencies will offer a free class for toddlers and preschoolers and their parents on Friday, July 21 from at Denny Lake in Cortez. Email email@example.com to register.
Where: Denny Lake Park, Cortez When: July 21 from 10 - 11 a.m. Admission: Free
Escalante Days Festival
The festival in Flanders Park features live
music, local vendors, activities and food to
celebrate the founding of the Dolores area. Thereâ€™s a community pancake breakfast,
dancing and various competitions throughout the weekend. For more information, visit www.doloreschamber.com/event/18260. Where: Flanders Park, Dolores When: August 11-13 Admission: Free
Adventuring to discover dynamics
By Rosie Mansfield We could have bailed. We were a group of women that didn’t know each other, headed into unfamiliar terrain in subpar conditions. After all, the purpose of the trip was to hang out, talk and get to know one another; the backpacking trip was a bonus. Vague goals really. We each took time away from our jobs and lives to head into the canyons to discuss and better understand what was unique about the feminine outdoor experience. We didn’t quite know what that meant, and discovering it was the point of our journey. The fact that it was snowing in May shouldn’t have been a surprise in this part of the country. After leaving Montezuma County, we stopped at the Maverick gas station in Monticello, Utah, for a last grab at snacks and amenities before arriving at Grand Gulch for a three-day backpacking trip in the canyons. I looked out the windshield of the van to see fat snowflakes and wondered what the canyon was going to be like, worried that I was about to lead this group of women on an unpleasant, cold trek. In the driver’s seat, I looked in the rearview mirror to gauge the level of concern in the group, seeing uneasy but excited smiles on the faces behind me; there was an unspoken, unanimous “Yes. Let’s.” Up until this trip my outdoor experiences included catching frogs alone, riding horses with my family as a farm kid in Missouri or learning from mostly male friends about mountains, rock climbing and riding bikes in Boston and the nearby White Mountains of New Hampshire. While both valuable and rewarding, it was limiting. I did not have a strong community of women role models in these outdoor endeavors. But I did not know any of this as I sat in that van, debating whether or not to continue with the trip I organized, or bail, find a quick Airbnb (preferably with a hot tub) and host the discussions from there. Now committed, we headed to Kane Gulch Ranger Station to check in and watch the introduction video (you know the one with that great soundtrack) about safety and how to be considerate of artifacts and the environment. Now, despite the snow and cold of May, we were headed into the canyons. 13
The first night we helped each other set up our
tents and sat around our camp lanterns, making the normal small talk, asking where everyone was from, what their days were like and how
nice it was to be in the quiet still of the canyons. By the second night, after a day together on the trail and setting up camp, we were scrambling
off to discover rocks to climb, pouring cocktails, getting dinner started, making plans for future
trips, taking time away from the group to reflect and coming back together to crack jokes, learn
more about each other and be together. It took less than 24 hours for this group to sink into
what felt like a routine, something lasting and
good. It was comfortable, and somehow both fa-
miliar and new. Most of the group met two days ago, and now it felt like for as long as it lasted, we meant something to each other.
The next day on the trail, I started to think about women that I admire. For the most part, few
of them actually had anything to do with the
What I found to be invaluable in my experiences in the outdoors and all
provided inspiration and impetus for this project
enthusiasm being among like-minded individuals, whether it is at work or
humor, loyalty to their own personalities, disre-
opposing perspectives, everyone also benefits from seeing people like them-
their goals, visions, hopes.
being a doctor, driving a motorcycle, backpacking, enabling ideas, advocating
outdoors. The things that tie them together and
other aspects of my life, really is this: There is great strength, clarity and
included their senses of boisterous, dry, honest
play. While everyone benefits from having their viewpoints challenged by
gard to social obstacles and persistent strength in
selves doing things they would like to do - whether that is rock climbing,
What I admire most about these women are
or anything else.
the complexities in being strong, substantial
It is not our heroes, while valuable in their firsts and bests, that enable us to
feels uniquely feminine, not more or less than
our goals. Instead, it is our like-minded, inspirational peers that take on
and feminine. Their strength and independence
take a step forward in understanding our roles and taking strides to achieve
masculine strength or independence, but some-
subtle yet pervasive obstacles to upset the social learnings of gender stereo-
how more acute, discreet and stoic. As if they
had managed to become who they were despite who they were supposed to be. Definitions of
strength and intelligence are often absent from
concepts like empathy, humor and collaboration. This often narrows and hinders these concepts, misidentifying these expanded definitions with
types. Before this project, I never understood the value of connecting with other women, sharing the outdoors experience, supporting each other and
learning from one another. I never thought about the difference gender can have on group dynamics.
After only three days of skipping rocks, swimming in the stream, constructing elaborate â€œants on a logâ€? and other snacks, a flash flood and clear nights
weak or frivolous traits.
under the stars, I realized what I was missing from my previous outdoor
It seems easy to create a distance between
place for big objectives, for superlative achievements and damn-the-cost at-
yourself and your heroes, admiring their achievements and capabilities while doubting your own ability and vision. Our outdoor heroes pursued dreams and broke boundaries to inspire their
experiences - a reflected sense of self and community. There is a time and
titudes, but this should not overshadow the quiet, peaceful, grounding sense of calm that comes from getting away outdoors with a like-minded group with similar aspirations.
followers to do the same, and continue to push
Achievement cannot be solely contained by firsts or strongest endeavors. For
achievements often come in the form of physical
went because we were curious. We wondered what we might find. What
this sense of admiration, however.
men, women or alone was to come home tired, happy, light and full.
the limits of possibility and imagination. The
this trip, our goals were simple. They were not poorly defined, but open. We
feats, but mean much more. There are limits to
I found on this trip was the feeling I want after any backpacking trip with
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A DIFFERENT KIND OF
Breakfast Club By Hunter Harrell
In Dolores, there is a “Breakfast Club” that wields undeniable power to achieve goals, even at 6:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. Once a week, members of Rotary Club of Dolores assemble at Ponderosa Steakhouse to share a meal, discuss the business of the week, touch base on upcoming projects and brainstorm ways to solve problems in the community. It’s a dynamic group of individuals from different backgrounds with one core mission: service above self. Allan Burnside, Dolores doctor and Rotarian, said these early morning meetings are a great chance to share information with others working to provide the community with positive, lasting change – and a little extra fun from time to time. “It gives a focus to the whole week,” Burnside said. “It’s Tuesday in the early morning, and we have different things to contribute. We all get together and develop our game plan, and everyone goes out to do their part for the greater good.” Bankers, teachers, ranchers and more interact with fellow citizens of Dolores on a daily basis, and return to the Tuesday morning thinktank. Each member brings fresh ideas and experiences to the table, which is what helps 18
the club make waves in this tiny town. Do-
lores Chamber Director and Rotarian Rocky
Moss believes in this small community, one person’s caring and kindness can stretch a long way.
“Rotarians are caring, community-minded folks,” Moss said. “And we share a great
camaraderie with one another. We live in
a small community and our paths cross in
more ways than just Rotary. We are able to work closely together because we all know one another.”
With diversity and passion, the members are able support a wide variety of needs brought to them by other organizations or members of the community through presentations at the meetings. From there, members assess
how best to contribute, whether it be financially, through involvement or both.
“The members include mostly business own-
ers and retirees,” Burnside said. “Most of the people who come every week are past presi-
dents, and we have each had our opportunity to be a spearhead for the organizations we wanted to help personally.”
As a national organization, Rotary focuses service efforts on promoting peace, fight-
ing disease, providing clean water, saving
mothers and children, supporting education
and growing local economies. In Dolores, the Rotary Club follows former president Patrick Coulter’s philosophy: Get involved in as much as possible.
“Service above self reminds me to support
students and community members in need,” Rotary Club President Scott Cooper said in an email. “If someone brings a problem or
need to the discussion we work to solve it,
and develop planning to support the need.” Aside from engaging in public activities,
Rotary Club of Dolores gets others involved too. They hold monthly Bingo events that benefit local organizations and host other
fundraising events like the Bike Rodeo and the Dolores Mountain Bike Race during
Escalante Days in August. In addition to
working together to organize and manage
events, club members serve the community
by hanging and maintaining Christmas decorations and delivering meals.
“We have a long history, and it is not one collective path,” Burnside said. “If we had a true history of the club, you would be amazed at the number of things in which the Rotary Club has been involved. We inherited some things from the town, and some of these things we do are functions we picked up because other groups didn’t want to organize them anymore.” Rotary Club of Dolores also has a strong relationship with the public school system. In addition to organizing dictionary giveaways for local third graders, the club supports students through scholarships, volunteer opportunities, letters of support, grants and donations. Each quarter, the Dolores High School nominates students to be recognized at one of the meetings. At the end of the year, these students each receive a $250 scholarship. “We raise money to donate to students through scholarships, or sponsor expeditionary learning experiences,” Cooper said. “We invite students to the Rotary meetings every week. Mostly they are students within the Dolores High School, with exception, my 11-year-old son, Darwin, has been joining our meetings with me for the past six years.” Last December, the only medical clinic in Dolores closed. In response, the club recently drafted a letter addressed to grant reviewers at the Colorado Health Foundation to pursue the construction and implementation of a School Based Health Clinic (SBHC) to provide the students and community with medical and mental health support. The opportunity was presented by the staff of Southwest Open School. They received grant funding to support the construction and programming of their school-based health clinic, and offered to help. There are still three phases of hurdles to jump through before the School Based Health Clinic becomes reality, but it is just one way the club uses their resources to improve the quality of life for the community. And as Cooper begins his presidency July 1, he is looking forward to making a difference like the other members of the Dolores “Breakfast Club.” “I hope to improve the annual bike race fundraiser, support more students and support as many regional nonprofits that provide for our community,” he said. Rotary meets at 6:30 a.m. every Tuesday at Ponderosa Steakhouse. To get involved or find more information about Rotary Club of Dolores, visit www.portal.clubrunner.ca/3256.
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Whispers in the Willowtail Wind HOW NATURE AND PLACE CAN INSPIRE CREATION By Hunter Harrell with contributions by Gianna Farrell At the end of a gravel road on a secluded property near Mancos, five miles from Mesa Verde National Park, is a place that welcomes those seeking creative inspiration and personal exploration. Capturing the spirit of wholeness and stunning beauty in a diverse ecological landscape, Willowtail Springs is a nature preserve with a program for residencies in the arts. While some wonder why this clandestine creative container draws so many dynamic artists from near and far, the stewards and co-owners of Willowtail Springs understand: Symbiosis is key to its mysterious power, and it is a process nurtured over decades. In 1992, artist Peggy Conklin left a rainy Seattle home for the dry Colorado plateau. She bought 40 acres of land by a small lake which included dilapidated buildings,
and dreamed of using her skills as a painter, sculptress, landscape designer and gardener to shape an already beautiful landscape. Peggy listened to nature, steadily reviving both the land and the buildings there. She used rocks to construct garden beds, filled them with good soil, landscaped paths through the forest and trimmed ancient piñon and juniper trees.
offers participants opportunities to give
By bringing plants from Seattle, Michigan and Vermont, she filled the gardens with diverse life and color. From her family’s farm in Michigan, she brought cherry and walnut wood and later added antiques and paintings. As Peggy’s sense of place developed, so did the environment around her. Over time those 40 acres turned into 60, and she continued to nurture the land and populate the space with more art, including new works of her own, sculptures, fountains and bowling balls around the property and in gardens, prominent or hidden. The old buildings were preserved and transformed into open, light-filled homes, tastefully decorated with vintage treasures. During this time, Peggy’s friends and connections from her career of more than three decades in the arts began visiting the revived oasis to finish novels, write plays and compose musical scores. Where artists gathered, the spirit of innovation thrived. In 1998, Lee Cloy visited Willowtail to teach a Tai Chi class. Just a short year later, he moved to Willowtail and married Peggy. Together, with nurturing and generous character, they now steward the land at Willowtail as well as foster both visitors and creative energy.
allowed her to dive into her own cre-
Though Willowtail Springs had always been a place for artists, in 2012 Peggy and Lee founded a nonprofit organization which they called Willowtail Springs Nature Preserve and Education Center. The 501c3 designation can solicit and accept funding to award scholarships for residencies to emerging artists and career practitioners alike. A residency in the arts
lectures, presentations and studio demonstrations open to the public that encour-
age a vibrant community and support for
local arts. More than 40 artists have visited this living gallery of art and nature to create and compose.
Roxie Mitchell, head of Digital Photog-
raphy at Durango High School, enjoyed
a one-week residency at Willowtail that ative process and produce more work.
The hosts were a large part of her great experience.
“Although Willowtail is close to my
home geographically, it felt like a whole different world,” Mitchell said. “I most
enjoyed getting to know the Cloys, and
their openness and willingness to act as friends and mentors.”
Mitchell is not the first guest to describe
Willowtail as an altered reality or parallel universe, connected by a winding road
to our normal experiences. The land and energy is probably best described by the
many musicians, writers, poets, dancers, playwrights and visual artists who have worked here. At Willowtail, painters
become poets and poets, painters. Jour-
nalists work on plays and photographers begin journaling – almost like magic.
Peggy comments that people forget nor-
mal intuition and the creative power of a curious, inventive mind, seems magical.
However, it is a natural manifestation of a reconnection with part of us that has been lost. Accepting that place and na-
ture can inspire new directions, processes and answers is all part of understanding Willowtail.
“Willowtail is a space of great intention,” said Nina Elder, former Executive Direc-
tor at Santa Fe Art Institute. “The found-
ers’ care and vision are ever-present from the framing of the landscape through
the windows, to the wending through the woods, to the picturesque accom-
modations. Even though the views were
expansive, I was deeply focused without distraction during my residency.”
At Willowtail it is impossible to see the forest
from the trees, because Willowtail is the trees –
the birds, a leaf, a flower, a glass of wine handed to you by Peggy or a story told to you by Lee as he leads a walk around the property. It is the texture of pine bark and the scent of juniper berries. And today, Willowtail Springs is an
inspired sanctuary, developed by a growing group of people to promote creative expression in all of the arts, as well as to support those who seek to
conserve, protect and renew natural ecosystems. Crystal Hartman, jeweler and watercolor artist, was awarded a scholarship for a two-week resi-
dency through Durango Arts Center and a private donor to study and record two wild bee trees in Willowtail Springs woods.
“When I came to Willowtail, I thought I would
keep drawing, influenced by the harsh realities of the honey bees,” Hartman said. “But the first day I went to visit wild honeybees, and their warmth and the warmth of this place grabbed my heart, and everything changed. My whole approach
to their story and the way I want to share their story is much warmer now.”
For some, the freedom and flexibility at Willowtail Springs opens creative doors. Others
come with intent to finish or begin a project.
Regardless of the task, the energy at Willowtail
Springs allows artists to build on previous goals. David Holub, writer, founder and editor of DGO magazine in Durango, completed a residency
funded by Durango Arts Center last year to study the birds. By the end of his stay, Holub wrote a five-act, one-person show, which he previewed at Willowtail and later performed at both the
Durango Arts Center and the Sunflower Theatre in Cortez.
“My Willowtail experience – from conceiving
a proposal to the actual residency to executing
and realizing my project – was the catalyst for so many creative endeavors that did not exist nor
would have been possible otherwise,” Holub said. Perhaps what makes this paradise unique is
one’s ability to become part of the fabric of the
land and community. Time slows down here, and allows individuals to expand in exciting and sur-
prising ways. The accomplishments of artists who have visited through the years shows the power
of this space. With an eye toward the future, the
Cloys look to for ways to preserve the site and its
programs, as well as strengthen its sustainability. 25
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Fozzies Farm Fosters Focus By Travis Custer It happened again this morning while drinking coffee and rifling through the stack of mail on
community to ensure agricultural land is protected? And more importantly, what is it that drives us to protect these lands?
the counter. Buried in the pile was an “urgent”
While there may not be any single answer, one
vocacy organization, explaining the rapid loss of
irrigated farm called Fozzie’s Farm. Situated
work ahead. Fortunately it was complete with a
of education, community involvement and land
now has a fancy name and a profound purpose:
letter and survey from a national farmland ad-
good example is sprouting locally on an 80-acre,
agricultural lands. Just another reminder of the
off Road W, Fozzie’s is focusing on the nexus
bumper sticker. Unfortunately, bumper stickers
conservation. Though the concept is not new, it
While the issues continue to present themselves
on a daily basis, I find both solace and excitement in some of the work our community does to con-
front the issues of land succession and conserva-
Community Conservation. It’s a slogan that has
come out of the National Land Trust circle, organizations around the nation that work to protect open spaces, forever.
tion. Agricultural lands service our communities
Here in Montezuma County the Montezuma
by producing food, providing wildlife habitat
date MLC has protected over 44,000 acres of
and the natural world in a multitude of ways
and protecting open spaces we often take for
granted. But what steps do we need to take as a 28
Land Conservancy (MLC) is our land trust. To
private land. Land Trusts like MLC work with
private landowners and conservation easements
to set restrictions that ensure private land is protected from development into perpetuity. These easements can take many forms, such as wildlife habitat, view sheds and of course, agricultural lands. Around here, it is the latter that drives most of these easements. Farmers and ranchers want to see their land stay in agriculture, and remain a vital open space for our community and future generations. However, land trust stories are changing. And one of the issues is the ever present reality that people just don’t care about land conservation; or rather, they don’t understand it. In a world that seems increasingly distant and disconnected from nature, they have lost their sense of place. When we don’t have an inherent value for land, we lose our desire to protect, interact with and love it. I asked Jon Leibowitz, Executive Director of the Montezuma Land Conservancy about Community Conservation, and what it means to MLC. “Community Conservation is really just a fancy term for using conservation as a tool to change lives and empower individuals to foster a sense of place and thus develop a desire to care for that place,” Leibowitz said. “Land trusts across the country have made a perpetual promise to our communities and our partner landowners that the lands we have protected stay protected - forever. That perpetual obligation demands we play a central role in ensuring future generations have a connection to the land, whether that be agricultural, recreational or otherwise.” One of the most inspiring parts of this story is how Fozzie’s Farm came to be. The land was gifted to MLC by Chuck and MB McAfee to promote the idea of Community Conservation and address their own concerns about land succession. Since then, MLC has pulled together a think-tank of individuals and organizations to help develop a management plan for the property, and move toward the idea that together we can educate and expose people to the value of land and agriculture. Underlying the shifting pieces of Community Conservation is a conversation about how we choose to protect lands, and maybe more importantly, why we choose to protect them. When it comes to land conservation, story and a sense of place are everything, and it’s the why that tells that story. Because, despite the hard work that MLC and their landowner partners have done over the past 20 years to protect 44,000 plus acres, I am constantly reminded of the sobering reality that Colorado loses that same amount of agricultural land nearly every 64 days. “To us it’s all about the land,” said Chuck McAfee. “The land sustains us, it’s resilient, it abides. We take it as a responsibility to nurture the land and enable it to restore itself, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this way.” 29
For Fozzie’s Farm, laying the groundwork to further MLC’s mission and promote a shared vision in the community to support a connection to these lands is the ultimate goal. “For us, we are living on land that was homesteaded more than 100 years ago by Chuck’s grandparents,” MB McAfee said. “We are connected to this particular land; we want to help it thrive. It is the succession of this land that we are concerned about. We donated Fozzie’s Farm to MLC because they have the vision, values and capacity to create a productive and financially viable agricultural operation while serving as a community resource.” Their hope for Fozzie’s Farm is for it to act as one possible model for land successioning, and at the same time, act as a valuable hub for the community to engage in agriculture. Since taking control of the land, MLC has worked with partners such as the High Desert Conservation District to bring this vision to life. “We have opened it up to teachers and youth-based groups to use it in any way that is beneficial to them,” Leibowitz said. “In just two months, since formally opening it up to programming, we’ve had 85 kids out on the property with dozens more trips planned. Second, we aim to utilize Fozzie’s as a demonstration site for local farmers and ranchers. We are currently developing a long-term management and business plan which will answer a lot of questions about future uses and management techniques that will be implemented on the property, and hopefully allow us to run the property in a sustainable manner - both financially and ecologically. Underlying those goals is a desire to get the community involved. If anyone has an idea they think could become part of this community resource, get in touch with us!” I share a lot of common ground with Leibowitz when it comes to talking about protecting agricultural lands and open spaces. “Open space, wilderness, undeveloped land…really whatever you want to call it, it’s where humans came from and where we learned to become human,” Leibowitz said. “It’s in our DNA. It’s also the bank for all diversity on earth; it’s where our food comes from, it supports family farmers and ranchers, it filters our water and provides us with fresh air. Human existence is wholly reliant on open spaces and ecosystems remaining generally intact. I can think of few things more important than preserving land, because once it’s gone it’s usually gone for good.” It’s this latter part of his response that keeps me up at night and fuels a lot of my passion. For so many acres around this country, and here in our backyard, the clock is ticking. When it’s gone, it’s often gone forever. Leibowitz’s response reminded me of my own intentions around all this, and what
drives me to keep my hands and heart firmly rooted in the land. It is part of me, and throughout my life has nurtured me. It has also taught me some of the most valuable lessons in my life — how to treat people and place. It is a fundamental part of who we are as human beings and why we exist. I look forward to seeing how our community can collaborate to ensure these valuable places are not lost to history. Together we can rekindle our personal connections to land and place, thus continuing our story into the future. I look forward to more time spent teaching kids and adults alike, out on the land, and being able to see the look in someone’s eye when they realize they are home. Community members can contact the Montezuma Land Conservancy at (970) 565-1664.
Travis spends his time parenting, teaching, and working to strengthen community resilience through local food, agriculture, and social systems. He is a lifelong learner focusing on agronomy, soil ecology, environmental policy, permaculture and community organizing. He lives in Mancos, Colorado and is the proud father of an incredible 5 year old boy. Farmers and landowners interested in soil health and water conservation can contact Travis at the High Desert Conservation District at (970) 529-8365 or email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Heâ€™s focused on the ingenious future for his community of friends created by Floyd Johnson and for those who stop to visit. Keep your eyes peeled, and you might find the 365-day production alongside County Road P in Montezuma County. Isnâ€™t it how we spend our time in the vastness that makes it bearable?
@AMPUTEE_FIRE_CLIMBER Disabled mountain biker Ashley Dawn Foxworthy tearing it up at Phil’s World. #NOBARRIERS #PHILSWORLD
@ALPACKA_RAFT PHOTO BY @REPUBLICOFDOOM Ben Phillips on the Dolores River with his son Thorne on father’s day. #RIVERDAD
@NOUVEAUCLICHE Nice day for some music! #doloresriverfest #livemusic #doloresriver
@TALESFROMTHEMUTINY Fury’s Funny Farm Traffic jam in McElmo Canyon
Tag your photos on social media with #ZUMAG to show us what you love about the Montezuma County.
@DOLORESRIVERBREWERY Getting Fired Up! #woodfiredpizzas
@NEALS_ON_WHEELS #sheepcrossing “It wasn’t only the stone towers that reminded me of Ireland here in MOCO”
@COREYROBINSON Everything in its right place. #wildedgebrewery #cortezcolorado #beer
@RIGTOFLIP Solstice #doloresriver #summerdogdays
@GOODFIBRATIONS Fresh bread and canned peaches is a good way to start the day! #dolorescolorado #sourdoughbread
@TRAVELINGNEARFAR Mancos Common Press Mural #bradgoodellmurals #zumag
CTC Strives to Help Youth Succeed IN MONTEZUMA COUNTY
Communities That Care (CTC) is an evidence-based prevention model that promotes healthy youth development, improves youth outcomes and reduces behavioral problems. CTC guides a coalition made up of community stakeholders through a proven five-phase change process and provides them with prevention science, digital tools and support to develop successful youth. Montezuma County Public Health Department received a grant in January from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to prevent youth substance abuse. Governor Hickenlooper views substance abuse prevention as a â€œwinnable battle.â€? The framework for CTC increases protective factors while reducing risk factors in the community. Communities who have used this model have seen a 33 percent decrease in tobacco use, 32 percent decrease in alcohol consumption and 25 percent decrease in delinquent behavior. Other positive outcomes include increased high school graduation rates, improved economic outcomes and better mental health. Based on local
data, the framework allows Montezuma County CTC to focus on the highest problem behaviors in their community, rather than following the same policy or strategy as the other 46 communities using CTC in Colorado. In addition, for every dollar spent on CTC, there is a $4.17 return in community benefits. Using prevention science, the Social Development Strategy and effective programs and policies, CTC prevents problems before they begin. CTC works because it is evidence-based, builds capacity in the community and uses local data. Together, we can improve the lives of our youth. For more information about CTC, contact Melanie Begay at (970) 564-4781 or email@example.com.
Prevention Science + Digital Tools + Support = Successful Kids
Communities That Care empowers communities to use the advances of prevention science to achieve better behavioral health outcomes for young people. -Nora Volkow, Director National Institute on Drug Abuse
Promoting Healthy Youth Development
Improving Youth Outcomes
Reducing Problem Behaviors
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