Collaboration offers path to stronger future for San Isabel

Our mission: San Isabel Land Protection Trust employs collaboration, innovation and science to safeguard health and resiliency of land, waters and wildlife in Colorado’s Fremont, Custer, Huerfano and western Pueblo counties. Through land protection and care programs, strategic partnerships and outreach, we help connect people to nature and ensure the lasting vitality of our land and rural communities.

How can we meet our unswerving mission in an ever-changing world? With so many environmental, social, economic and personal issues pulling and shoving us in different directions, how do we wisely choose the one path we take? These are questions San Isabel's leaders grapple with daily.

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San Isabel and the Quivira Coalition joined forces to offer a community workshop on erosion control.

Buckminster Fuller famously said: The things to do are: the things that need doing, that you see need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done.

For San Isabel, that means focusing on collaboration. To our many partners, we offer our experience and commitment to consensus-based conservation that capitalizes on diversity. Simply put, with savvy facilitation, there is strength in numbers and power in differences.

Bucky Fuller urged people to: Take the initiative. Go to work, and above all cooperate and don't hold back on one another or try to gain at the expense of another. Any success in such lopsidedness will be increasingly short-lived. These are the synergetic rules that evolution is employing and trying to make clear to us.

Over the past year, San Isabel has reached out to potential partners in several key areas to see where collaboration can enhance conservation success. The response has been tremendous and signals that San Isabel’s tools of convening and consensus building will be of great value moving forward: 

  • We secured a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado and the Gates Family Foundation to convene all land trusts in the Arkansas Basin to develop a shared 50-year conservation vision and 5-year action plan that incorporates collaboration as a path to increasing the rate and rigor of conservation. 
  • The generous support of the Laura Jane Musser Fund is fueling a community planning process for the Bluff Park that will position us to obtain funds and build partnerships to realize the shared dreams for this special park.
  • We partnered with the Trust for Public Lands and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust to secure full funding for a conservation easement protecting the 2,687-acre Taylor-Oswald Ranch in Fremont County, a unique and biodiverse working ranch.
  • We continue the excellent partnership work launched by Kate Spinelli, San Isabel’s former Stewardship Director, in helping landowners and communities with land care issues, such as weed control, fire mitigation and forestry management. We continue to connect landowners to technical expertise and funding sources for on-the-ground work. The workshop offered by San Isabel and the Quivira Coalition on low-cost erosion-control methods, as well as work done by Mile High Youth Corps crews on protected properties damaged by fire, are examples of our collaborative approach.

Are we on the right path with our emphasis on collaborative conservation? Yes! According to another great modern philosopher (Dr. Seuss): “So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s a great balancing act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! 98 and ¾ percent guaranteed! Kid, you’ll move save mountains.” (San Isabel tweak of the quote).

Linda Poole

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  • “Because San Isabel is pro-agriculture, we were able to work closely with them to craft the contract we felt comfortable with. It allows us to capture revenue off the land while still living on it and maintaining full autonomy of ownership.”

    – Elin Parker Ganschow, Music Meadows Ranch and Sangres Best