“When you borrow something you probably return it in ‘as good’ or better shape, right?” says Ty Colman. He believes the natural world is no different. “These places deserve our best and it’s our responsibility to preserve them for us to enjoy, as well as future generations,” says Colman, an energy and resource consultant based in Denver.
This year, the Colorado chapter of The Nature Conservancy launched a young professionals group named “The 13ers” led by Colman, the 13ers’ new board chair. The group, for those aged 21-40, provides opportunities to support the Conservancy, volunteer with like-minded people and find ways to protect and restore our planet.
From happy hours to presentations and events, such as T-N-Ski Day, the group finds new and fun ways for members to get together and make a difference. “It’s great to have family and friends learn about conservation while enjoying the outdoors and getting exercise, all at the same time,” says Colman.
This avid outdoorsman was a Conservancy member, but had let his membership lapse.
An “aha” moment came when Ty guided a Conservancy-chartered Colorado River trip. Hearing about the Conservancy’s work brought him back, ready to roll up his sleeves.
“The Conservancy’s science on its riverside preserves and collaboration with the National Park Service had a direct influence on the way the river was being managed—from river bank erosion management and wildlife protection to water conservation and recreation practices,” remarks Colman.
“I started to see the connections everywhere, from the way our local mountain bike trails are developed to the way our forests are managed.”
Colman believes the Conservancy is on the right track and wants to be a part of the solution.
“The 13ers are tasked with engaging the next generation of conservation leaders and showcasing how The Nature Conservancy is having a positive impact on their lives,” he says. “Our engagement helps ensure the Conservancy can continue developing science-based solutions that have tangible results.”
This commitment also keeps him on track. Colman believes we’re all guilty of getting caught up in the daily grind.
Nature has a way of changing that.
“A long hike, a bike ride or time on the river helps me gain humility and brings me back to center,” remarks Colman.
Many Coloradans come back to center by hiking the state’s 53 14,000-foot mountain peaks. The 13ers name is a play on those mountain tops—if you’re a 13er, you still have some climbing to do.
“The 13ers have grown organically, piece by piece,” says Colman. “One step at a time, these leaders are becoming strong advocates for conservation.”October 24, 2012