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Our valley needs us: donate today!

A celebration of local environmental heroes meant to ignite hope in our community and inspire others to become environmental stewards

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GARNA 2020 Environmental Hero Awards

GARNA is proud to introduce our 2020 Environmental Heroes, local activists recognized for their outstanding contributions to GARNA and protecting and conserving the Upper Arkansas Valley.

May the accomplishments of these dedicated community members inspire others to preserve and protect our public lands and support GARNA during our annual fundraising campaign.

Click on each Hero's picture below to see their videos.

To register for the brief, free and virtual awards ceremony from 5-6 pm on Oct. 10, click here.

Many thanks to our Headwaters Sponsors!

LaGree's Food Stores Climax

And thank you to our Rapids level sponsors!

Mike Conlin, Stewardship Award

“Outreach. Education. Partnership. That’s GARNA.”Mike Conlin, 2020 GARNA Environmental Hero Award for Stewardship

As Coordinator for Lake County Open Space Initiative (LCOSI) since its inception 23 years ago, Mike is known for demonstrating incredible leadership in projects that provide long term protection of critical landscapes, habitats and the river corridor in the Upper Arkansas Valley. He has also played pivotal roles in the establishment of the Mineral Belt Trail, the successful nomination of the Top of the Rockies National Scenic Byway, and the restoration of the Arkansas River, once considered an industrial sewer, but now classified as a gold medal fishery. Through GARNA, Mike has led high school students through activities including site clean-ups, willow plantings, and bird and bat boxes.

“This award is especially meaningful since it comes from an organization that exudes the basic values, the pillars of conservation that have formed my career, and that direct my life,” says Mike. “It means a lot coming from this organization full of peers and people I respect for the conservation efforts they have made over the years.”

Jacy Doumas, Sustainability Award Winner

“Nurturing. Ecological. Collaborative. That’s GARNA.” Jacy Doumas, 2020 GARNA Environmental Hero Award for Sustainability

Jacy’s deep dive into the work of Envision Chaffee County Through Jacy’s deep dive into the work of Envision Chaffee County, she helped form relationships with others concerned about single use plastics, waste management, recycling, composting, environmental health, renewable energy and conservation throughout the region that ultimately grew into the creation of Chaffee Green. Since Chaffee Green has become a program of GARNA, Jacy continues to serve as a board member, promoting and inspiring engagement in GARNA’s mission with hopes to contribute to a future County Sustainability Plan.

“As long as I continue to breathe, walk and drink, I will continue to be driven to protect the air, land, and water,” says Jacy. “I have given a significant amount of time to GARNA because I believe it is a proven and dedicated nonprofit that protects that which cannot protect itself in a positive uplifting way.”

Keith Krebs, Education Award Winner

“Community Driven. Good People. Positive Impact. That’s GARNA.”– Keith Krebs, 2020 GARNA Environmental Hero Award for Education

Keith, a GARNA supporter, member and volunteer for ten years, has been a driving force behind the Stream Explorers program, an immersive, fun, hands-on learning experience that connects young people to the rivers flowing through their backyard.

“We need to keep exposing kids, who are the future of environmental work and our world - to the outdoors,” says Keith. “What’s most important is that we get them away from the screen and into the stream where they can really interact with the resources we work to protect.”

Denny Arter, Lifetime Achievement Award

“Forward-thinking. Hardworking. Dedicated.” – Denny Arter, 2020 GARNA Environmental Hero Lifetime Achievement Award

Denny’s passion for nature started early and only grew stronger throughout the years. In her 20 years of service to GARNA, Denny served as board chair and board member, and founded the popular birding club, which provides an “educational opportunity and expands people’s understanding and appreciation for nature and the incredible environment we live in.”

Despite her accomplishments and lifelong commitment to environmental causes, Denny says receiving GARNA’s 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award is a complete surprise. “What an honor! I never expected anything like this,” she says. “So often through life we get tiny pats on the back that are nice, but every once in a while, something bigger comes along and you think: Really? For me? It makes me think: maybe I really did make a difference here and there, which we all do in different ways.”

Thanks to our Wave level sponsors:

And our Ripple level sponsors:

New drawing prizes being entered all the time, from: