Photo of flowers and Buffalo Mountain in Summit County

CMC Spring Valley will host a sustainability conference on April 27; CMC Breckenridge Green Team’s Earth Day event is on April 20.

Editor’s note: As Colorado Mountain College celebrates Earth Day collegewide, two CMC campuses in Glenwood Springs and Summit County have outlined their plans. 

Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley: “Growing our Own Future: Grassroots Community Development through Sustainable Education” on April 27 

As Colorado Mountain College celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, some employees and alumni are thinking about ways the college can continue to sustainably serve communities within its footprint for the next 50 years.

That’s part of the goal of an upcoming conference, “Growing Our Own Future: Grassroots Community Development Through Sustainability Education,” Thursday, April 27, from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the New Space Theatre at CMC Spring Valley  in Glenwood Springs.

CMC offers a Bachelor of Arts in sustainability studies, with courses in sustainable agriculture, ecology and natural resource management, sustainable business, ethics and social responsibility.

Adrian Fielder, assistant dean of instruction for classes in Spring Valley, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, noted this is the fourth year a sustainability conference has been held, either collegewide or on various campuses. This year, several local “green teams” wanted to feature success stories of local sustainability program students and graduates, Fielder said.

“We want people who hear about our sustainability degree to know that there are a lot of fields – local fields – our graduates can go into, whether they’re just starting a career or want some retraining for a different direction,” he said.

The conference will also help the college get an idea of how to implement its sustainability action plan, developed for last year’s conference by Hunter Lovins, president of Natural Capitalism Solutions, a nonprofit organization in Longmont, and co-founder of Rocky Mountain Institute.

“They audited all our operations and offered recommendations on how we could minimize our carbon footprint and become more sustainable across a range of priorities,” Fielder said. “This year, we asked all our conference presenters to read the draft plan and present their thoughts on how we can connect the plan to better reach our communities.”

Keynote speaker Brook LeVan, co-founder of Sustainable Settings, will also moderate a panel discussion on the plan.

Presenters who are CMC sustainable studies alumni include Carbondale Town Trustee Katrina Byars, manager of Dandelion Market; Kim Cassady, founder of Handicapped Moms for Moms; Alex Curtiss, international sustainable development, Brandeis University; Merrill Johnson, eco-preneur and manager of Cedar Ridge Ranch; and Zac Sutherland, environmental health specialist, Garfield County Department of Public Health. CMC employees and sustainability action plan stewards Pete Waller, Linda English and Fielder will also present at the conference.

In addition, Alyssa Reindel, co-founder of EverGreen Zero Waste, and CMC sustainability students Julia Farwell and Ellie Langford, who are zero waste specialists with EverGreen, will present on the college’s waste diversion plan, the first example of CMC’s efforts to implement the sustainability action plan.

Continuing the sustainability theme, the free dinner for all attendees will feature locally sourced, sustainably grown food. The conference is free and open to the public; registration is required and is expected to fill quickly. For more information or to register, call 970-947-8246, or register at


Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge: “Green Team: Earth Day Festival” on April 20 

Since January. the student-led Colorado Mountain College Green Team has been planning its biennial dustainability conference, set for April 20 at Colorado Mountain College’s Breckenridge campus.

“We’ve got a lot of great activities planned,” said Nick Gendill, a member of the student Green Team class, in a news release. “There’s something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in great speakers, hands-on demonstrations, local vendors, free food, games, prizes or music, the gathering this year will be the biggest and most diversified yet.”

The keynote speaker will be Tyler Jones from the University of Colorado, sharing an upbeat talk titled “4.5 Billion Years of Climate Change,” according to the release. The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 20 in the Eileen and Paul Finkel Auditorium at CMC Breckenridge.

Earlier in the day, other speakers will discuss fostering sustainability, sustainable investing and finding and working for sustainable companies.

Local musicians are alos being encouraged to bring their instruments for a jam session.

“We’ve got some great music lined up including CMC students and local musicians,” said Cassandra Cantu, another Green Team student. “We will also have amazing demonstrations including converting an aluminum can to an alcohol-cooking stove and tie-dyeing with natural, plant-based dyes that you can make yourself. Bring items to tie-dye.”

Several vendors will be on hand to demonstrate sustainable products and services and local sustainable artists will show their creations, as well.

Snacks will be available all day, and a free meal will be provided later in the afternoon. CMC’s Culinary Arts instructor Ian Buchanan will also host demonstrations on sustainability in the kitchen.

Additionally, people will get the chance to see the topics that CMC’s soon-to-be-graduates of the four-year degree in sustainability are presenting for their final, capstone projects.

For more info, see the festival’s Facebook page at “Green Team: Earth Day Festival” or contact Kristin Barrett at or 719-836-0123.