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Great Outdoors Colorado awards two Montezuma organizations $320,000 for youths and families

Montezuma Land Conservancy and Montezuma Inspire Coalition encourages time outside for health and vitality
Courtesy of Generation Wild

The Great Outdoors Colorado board announced Sept. 22 that it awarded $320,000 to the Montezuma Land Conservancy and the Montezuma Inspire Coalition, giving way for the groups to continue inspiring kids and families to spend time outside.

According to a news release, the partner’s quest is to generate significant social and outdoor experiences for youths in the community to foster discovery, connection and curiosity.

The grant will help youths have increased experience outdoors.

The funding is part of GOCO’s Generation Wild program that launched in 2015. It helps Colorado’s rural, urban and suburban communities experience new outdoor experience.

A $4 million investment by the board helped fund the grant through 11 communities that represent GOCO’s Generation Wild program.

The Montezuma Inspire Coalition, one of the 12 Generation Wild communities, ensures that youths in the county have access and opportunities for outdoor skill development, cost-free activities, school-friendly programs, affordable access to transportation and outdoor gear.

The coalition collaborates with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s Kwiyagat Community Academy and the Cortez, Dolores and Mancos school districts to develop student field trips and after-school programs. Job training, mentorship and internships are also available to youths through the partnerships to build on leadership skills and explore outdoor career paths.

MIC partners include Dolores River Boating Advocates, Montezuma School to Farm Project, Southwest Conservation Corps, High Desert DEVO, School Community Youth Collaborative, Medicine Horse Center, City of Cortez Parks and Recreation, San Juan Mountains Association and the Montezuma Land Conservancy with its agricultural education center, Fozzie’s Farm. The partners also work with other systems in the region to reach youths and families, including the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.

The funds will allow partners to reach out to youths and provide additional programs for outdoor connection, while expanding its partnership network and supporting the Gear Lending Library and staff.

The total GOCO investment in MIC reaches more than $4.4 million to the community. The funds have gone to the Cortez Middle School garden, the community Gear Lending Library, the community classroom at Fozzie’s Farm and other garden improvements in Montezuma County.

To date, the Generation Wild program has reached $51.8 million from the GOCO board’s investment.

“We have been an MIC partner from a fledgling stage and truly appreciate GOCO’s vision to get all kids outdoors, but especially those who are underserved in our Montezuma County community,” said Lynne Howarth, executive director of Medicine Horse Center. “We enjoy our partnership and love that we can help growing numbers of youth experience all that our outdoor places have to offer, through the lens of stewardship and caring.”