Volunteers Essential for Colorado's Public Lands

Thursday, April 26, 2018

FROM KOAA NEWS CHANNEL 5:

It is the peak recruiting season for an essential workforce in Colorado. These workers put in time for reward, but not pay. “We wouldn’t have the capacity to do as much work as we do without the volunteers,” said Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI), Volunteer Coordinator, Molly Mazel.

Consider the full time staff to volunteer ratio of an organization like RMFI.

The non-profit employs five year round staff and eight to 12 seasonal field leaders for their mission of building and maintaining sustainable infrastructure on public lands. “Last year in 2017, our volunteers donated more than 16 thousand hours of volunteer time total,” said Mazel. “So it really is a huge, huge piece of the pie.” Those combine hours happened because of nearly 21 hundred volunteers.

RMFI is one of dozens of groups enlisting volunteers for work on Colorado’s public lands. In Southern Colorado for example there are 20 plus “Friends” groups supporting spots like city, county, state, and federal parks.

Most of the groups are calendaring work days and recruiting volunteers. Susan Davies the Executive Director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition says they are essential. “Work just wouldn’t get done.”

The Trails and Open Space Coalition works to direct potential volunteers to places they want to work.  The group maintains an on-line calendar with links to a list of groups with volunteer work happening on public lands. RMFI is one of those links.

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