Environment Foundation Commits to Enviro Ed and Valley Trails

This April the Environment Foundation board granted over $129,000 in support of sixteen organizations dedicated to youth environmental education, ensuring water quality in local streams and rivers, responsible oil and gas drilling, supporting local trail work projects, and promoting climate change awareness and advocacy.

Two three-year commitments were made to Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV) and Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES). “The Foundation’s long term commitment acknowledges the tremendous work done by ACES and RFOV to benefit the Roaring Fork Valley community” said, Matthew Hamilton, Executive Director of the Environment Foundation.RFOV - three people

RFOV celebrates 20 years of volunteerism and environmental stewardship this year. They anticipate 2,500 volunteers working throughout this summer to maintain the trails many locals and guests use. Their projects are often community events in themselves ending with a dinner and cold beverage to thank volunteers for their hard work. “Our volunteers are dirty, tired and smiling,” [i] said David Hamilton, Executive Director of RFOV.  Part of their success comes from creating a fulfilling experience for members of the community looking to give back. In addition to the first-time volunteers, there are many locals who volunteer year after year.

ACES promotes environmental literacy for all ages through hands-on classroom and field environmental science programs. Roaring Fork Valley children in 45 schools throughout Pitkin, Garfield, and Eagle counties benefit. ACES programming serves first through fourth grades at Aspen, Basalt, and Crystal River Elementary while also providing field science courses in many topics from botany at Hallam Lake to Local Animals in Spring.

The Thompson Divide Coalition was granted $12,000 to support their continued efforts to protect the Thompson Divide from future energy development and preserve the vital rural economies dependent on the pristine surroundings.RFC - Stream Team

Roaring Fork Conservancy (RFC) received a grant to support their Water Quality Monitoring Program. Made up of volunteer ‘Stream Teams’ these dedicated individuals help collect data used by RFC and state organizations to monitor the health of our local rivers and streams. As we all learn to live with less water and work to maintain critical streams and rivers the work of these citizen scientists is critical.

Roaring Fork Valley youth are fortunate to have the opportunity to take part in outdoor experiential education programs, but not all of their teachers get the same access to these experiences. The Environment Foundation funded scholarships for Aspen and Roaring Fork School District teachers to take part in Colorado Outward Bound School’s (COBS) teacher practicum. “COBS aims to develop leadership skills, communication skills, and an ethic of service in students by immersing them in unfamiliar and challenging environments.” Providing teachers the opportunity to participate in these meaningful experiences creates personal investment in this mode of learning, in addition to providing a deeper understanding of experiential learning’s value.

POW - GretchenThe Foundation granted $15,000 to Protect Our Winters (POW). POW’s athlete-led campaign is designed to leverage the influence of pro athletes to create awareness and inspire others to take meaningful action on climate. Focusing on youth education, advocacy, and community activism, POW ties their media campaign to specific actions for people to get involved.

In total, the Foundation donated more than $129,000 to 16 projects in the spring of 2015. The foundation is funded by donations from Aspen Skiing Company employees and matched in whole or in part by the Aspen Community Foundation, the Aspen Skiing Company Family Fund, and Keurig Green Mountain. Since its inception the foundation has supported 454 projects with more than $2.6 million in grants.

Organization Amount
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies: Three Years of General Operating Support for Environmental Education Programming ($7,500 commitment per cycle through 12/31/17) $7,500.00
Buddy Program:  LEAD Programs and Outdoor Leadership $5,000.00
Citizens for Healthy Communities on behalf of the Western Environmental Law Center: North Fork Valley Oil & Gas Legal Defense Campaign $10,000.00
Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER): Creating enduring regional and state funding for community energy efficiency and climate protection programs $12,000.00
Colorado Fourteeners Initiative: Elk Mountains Fourteeners Trail Maintenance, Restoration and Data Collection Project $5,609.00
Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS): Empowering Teachers to Reach the Summit $9,765.00
Conservation Colorado Education Fund: Advancing Energy Efficiency in Colorado $10,000.00
EcoFlight: Overflights for Forest Health in the Roaring Fork Valley $3,000.00
Fat City Farmers: Continuing support for our Summer garden manager at RFHS and Working with (co)studio, formerly Houses for Higher Education (H4HE) to help students learn about the arts of indoor gardening, greenhouse design, manufacturing, construction, and teamwork $6,400.00
Mount Sopris Nordic Council: Spring Gulch Trail System 2015 Summer Maintenance $4,235.00
Protect Our Winters: athlete-led campaign designed to leverage the influence of pro athletes to create awareness and inspire others to make meaningful action on climate $15,000.00
Red Rock Pictures – Support for 2015 US PBS Re-Broadcast of Split Estate $5,000.00
Roaring Fork Conservancy: To improve its Water Quality Monitoring Program through the purchase of new pH meters $6,589.00
Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers: Trail and Restoration Projects ($5,000 commitment per year through 12/31/17) $5,000.00
Thompson Divide Coalition: Community-based effort to prevent oil and gas drilling in Thompson Divide $12,000.00
Wilderness Workshop: Support Oil & Gas Defense Program $12,000.00
TOTAL $129,098


Applications for the fall 2015 grant cycle are due October 30, 2015. Those interested in receiving an application can email Matthew Hamilton at mhamilton@aspensnowmass.com.


The employee-funded, -founded and -directed Environment Foundation has awarded more than $2.6 million to 454 diverse local environmental projects since its inception in December 1997. Almost 1,800 employees per year contribute to the foundation directly from their paychecks. For additional information about the Environment Foundation visit theenvironmentfoundation.org.



[i] http://www.aspentimes.com/news/15725984-113/roaring-fork-outdoor-volunteers-on-the-right-path-for

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About Matthew Hamilton

Matthew Hamilton is Aspen Skiing Company’s (ASC) Sustainability Director. He is also the Executive Director of the Environment Foundation, which has donated more than $2 million over the past 15 years. Matthew oversees ASC's community philanthropy, and runs ASC's day-to-day environmental programs, including the monthly Greenletter, and GREENTRACK, ASC's ISO 14001 certified environmental management system. Matthew is also consultant with Aspen Sustainability Associates, and has lectured nationally and internationally on ASC's work. He currently serves as President of the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education, and on the boards of the Carbondale Tourism Council, Colorado Youth Corps Association and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. Previously, Matthew was a Research Officer at The Piton Foundation, working with low income neighborhoods on issues of education reform, affordable housing and economic development. Prior to that, he worked for Share Our Strength, a national anti-hunger anti-poverty group; the Independent Sector, a national association of nonprofits and foundations, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (on a project called Enterprise for the Environment), for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, and for Middlebury College. Matthew has a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science from Middlebury College and a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University where he focused on nonprofit management. During his free time he can be found on his bike spending time enjoying many of the local trails and back roads. He lives in Carbondale, Colorado with his wife Jen, and their children Boden and Beck.