I struggled with what to write today.
We all know it’s been a rough year. We all know and support people who have fought to keep their heads above water this year – and maybe that person was you. We’ve all endured a lot of trauma this year.
We’ve also come together as a community and created great change!
The election has resulted in a President-elect that not only recognizes that climate change is a major threat and has vowed to expand our nation’s commitment to combat it, he’s even said he supports banning oil and gas drilling in public lands! Which is great for our species, especially the greater and Gunnison sage-grouse who’ve had huge swaths of their habitat leased these last four years (and it has the opportunity to open up a ton of Alison’s time for new exciting projects!).
So, what to write?
As I usually do, I slept on it. And I realized, that what I wanted to say is we’re an incredible group of caring folks and I’m thankful to be in community with you.
We weathered a lot, not just in 2020, but in the last four years. We’ve supported each other, we’ve fought for each others’ rights and the rights of our furred, feathered, and scaled neighbors. We made sure that despite the tumultuously anti-wildlife administration we just survived, none of the species in our region went extinct!
Despite a time when industry regulations were being hastily rolled back, we kept Wolf Creek Pass wild and free from development. Despite unprecedented wildfires, a human pandemic, layoffs at our partner organization, rabbit hemorrhagic disease and new protocols to safely collect data while preventing the spread of this disease to pika, our dedicated community scientists did remarkable work in the Front Range Pika Project. Despite not being able to meet in person, we hosted numerous virtual lectures, power hours, and events to stay in community, learn about, and advocate for the species in our region.
2020 also gave us time (and punctuated the need) to investigate ways in which Rocky Mountain Wild contributes to a culture of exclusion and ways to advance justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in our organization. We received feedback from our supporters and partners and began the work, from changing some of our policies to being mindfully inclusive in our language; from having our first anti-bias training to looking into contracting for an analysis to understand how cultural and institutional norms, values, and practices advantage certain community members to the detriment of individuals from marginalized groups. For that, we are incredibly grateful.
Protecting biodiversity is a huge job, and it helps to know that we are never alone – that we have a diverse and vibrant community of caring folks to make this work happen. We always welcome feedback as to how we can better support everyone within our community and build our organization for equity.
So this Giving Tuesday, I want to thank you for giving and doing what you could in 2020. Whether it was food and support to neighbors in need, volunteer hours to organizations you care about, community science support to species in our region, providing cultural feedback to organizations like ours, or whatever you did for your community, I thank you.
If you are in a secure place and are able, I would humbly ask you to donate to keep our community going strong. Despite the pandemic and the resulting unemployment, we were still able to reach 61% of the level of individual giving that we received last year! We understand that a lot of people are feeling the crunch, but if you could spare a donation at this time, we would be most grateful for whatever you can give.
This year, there are four main ways you can support Rocky Mountain Wild financially:
- Schedule your donation for Colorado Gives Day (December 8). When you schedule your end of year donation for Colorado Gives Day, your donation will go even further thanks to the $1 Million Incentive Fund from Community First Foundation, FirstBank, and other community members!
- Purchase the symbolic naming rights for a piece of biodiversity in our Biodiversity 2020 Campaign. Your donation is tax-deductible, and your named species or landscape will be included on our website. This is a great way to give a gift of biodiversity to someone you love this holiday season!
- Adopt a pika or a bat! Adoptions make a great gift for any holiday. They come with an adorable plush animal and a personalized e-certificate of adoption.
- Join our Super Species Squad by becoming a monthly donor to Rocky Mountain Wild. Monthly donations are our most stable source of funding!
And, thanks to a generous donor, any increased or new donations will be matched up to $10,000!
Of course, if you can’t afford to support us financially right now, there are tons of ways you can continue your support, including: taking direct action to build a more sustainable future, volunteer your time, join a community science project, and share our messages and news on social media!
For the wild!
Chris Talbot-Heindl (they/them)
Communications & Membership Manager
P.S. COVID-19 has impacted all of us, but it has impacted some communities more. We know that for a lot of people money is tight and the causes we care about are vast, so we understand that we may not be your priority right now. If that’s the case, please visit the Colorado Gives Day page and search for your Colorado-based nonprofit of choice. You can search by keyword, location, or cause. We’re all in this together.