GOLDEN — The nonprofit conservation coalition Keep It Colorado celebrated nine “Conservation Heroes” and 11 photographers at its inaugural Fall Reception on Sept. 1 at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden. About 80 guests attended the event, which featured an awards ceremony, a gallery exhibit and a cocktail reception.
The event was designed to celebrate those who contribute to conservation and those who benefit from protecting Colorado’s unique qualities — such as the beauty of the natural landscapes, the abundant wildlife, the ranching and farming way of life, fresh local food, cultural and historical heritage, and the endless outdoor recreation opportunities.
The heroes for conservation were selected by a committee based on a competitive nomination process. They were each honored for their remarkable contributions to land, water or wildlife conservation in Colorado and included:
In addition to being recognized for their accomplishments, each hero received a ceramic bud vase titled “Bud Vase with an Attitude,” made by Colorado artist Macy Dorf. Much of Dorf’s more modern works are inspired by the geology and mythology of the canyon lands of the southwest.
The Fall Reception also recognized the works of 11 photographers, who had submitted photos illustrating their personal connection to Colorado’s land, water or wildlife, along with an essay, poem or caption to reveal more about that connection. The goal was to highlight the diversity and beauty of landscapes across the state and celebrate the unique relationships people have with Colorado’s places and spaces. Amateur and professional photographers selected from among four categories: “Born and Raised,” “Fell in Love – and Stayed,” “Indigenous Ties,” and “Workin’ It.”
Award winners’ photos and essays will be displayed at the American Mountaineering Center throughout the month of September. All photos and essays are displayed in an online gallery on Keep It Colorado’s website.
Top Picks photographers were:
“Staff Picks” awards went to:
The seven “Top Picks” photographers each received a cash gift in addition to $100 that Keep It Colorado donated to a land trust of their choosing; selected land trusts included Central Colorado Conservancy, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Colorado Open Lands, Ducks Unlimited, La Plata Open Space Conservancy, Trust for Public Land and Western Rivers Conservancy.
“Conservation doesn’t just happen by itself. All the qualities that make Colorado special are possible because of the hard work of people and organizations helping it stay that way through conservation, both today and in the future,” said Linda Lidov, director of membership and communications for Keep It Colorado. “Conservation means something different for everyone, and we believe our awards demonstrate and celebrate those differences. We’re proud of the shared connection Coloradans have for taking care of and enjoying the land.”