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Conejos Clean Water

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Environment, Food, Minority Rights, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Nutrition

Mission: The mission of Conejos Clean Water is to build public awareness and encourage advocacy and education around environmental, social, economic, and food justice issues in the Conejos Land Grant Region.

Results: Beginning in 2010, Conejos Clean Water (CCW) incorporated in order to promote awareness around health and environmental justice issues affecting residents in Conejos County, to serve as a vehicle for protecting public health and to responsibly manage natural resources. CCW’s efforts in July 2010, focused primarily on the radioactive, hazardous and toxic waste campaign proposed at the transfer site south of the town of Antonito. Community forums with residents of Conejos County were sponsored by CCW including discussions led by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Honor Our Pueblo Existence and Think Outside the Bomb. A countywide canvass to educate and build awareness via door-to-door discussions, community centers and information tables set up outside local grocery stores was initiated, concurrently building membership within CCW to over 400 general members. During 2012 and 2013, CCW participated in Renewable Energy Planning, proposed the Community Solar Garden idea to the Town of Antonito, participated in Brownfields planning and executed the Health Environment Launch Project (HELP) utilizing funds from the USEPA Environmental Justice Small Grant Program, presented across the State of Colorado on environmental justice issues and facilitated transmission discussions impacting Conejos County. In recent years, we have focused on organizing community forums and bringing people together around proposed solar energy zones, hydraulic fracturing, illegal dumping, recycling and school and community gardens.

Target demographics: People of the Conejos Land Grant Region

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 100 community members from children to adults

Geographic areas served: Conejos Land Grant Region of southern Colorado's San Luis Valley

Programs: Recycle Conejos and Costilla Counties, Valleybound - Antonito School and Community Garden, Río Grande del Norte National Monument Expansion

Community Stories

43 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The staff and board of Conejos Clean Water are passionate about our community and protecting our land, water and air. However, their love for the community doesn't end there, but extends to some of our most valuable resources - our children. CCW invests so much time connecting with and sharing their values with the young people in our communities - teaching them about caring for and maintaining their natural and cultural resources. They have even extended that education out of the immediate community, connecting with children throughout the valley. I work with the Boys & Girls Club of the San Luis Valley and just during the few months I have been there, CCW Co-Director Anna Vargas has coordinated and invited our youth to participate in three amazing field trips. I am not sure I have ever met a more dedicated, caring and action-oriented group as CCW. This is an amazing organization. Thank you, Conejos Clean Water for ALL that you do to make sure we, and generations to come, have clean water and air and the opportunity to care for and protect our precious lands and cultures!!!

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ConejosCleanWater 07/18/2017

Thank you so, very much for your kind-hearted, honest review of the justice work we are doing throughout the Conejos Land Grant Region. We love partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of the San Luis Valley and are so grateful for all of the work you are doing for our children and youth in the region. We are so glad you love the outings we have done together, and we look forward to many more in the future. Together we are creating compassionate leaders for the future of our home communities!

1 Loretta12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ditto to all that has been previously said about Conejos Clean Water. They are a collaborative organization that is willing to share their vision for a healthier environment within their community and the larger San Luis Valley. They are bringing together many diverse people to engage in projects that work toward a healthier community on a lot of levels. They are a breath of fresh air and positivity for the SLV. Particularly important is their work engaging and educating local youth in projects that encourage environmental awareness, sustainability, and knowledge of history and culture. We are all blessed by their efforts! At different times I have been a donor, adviser, volunteer, professional with expertise in the field, and a general member of the public. Their staff is stellar! Loretta Mitson

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ConejosCleanWater 03/13/2017

Thank you, Loretta, for all you have done to support us here at Conejos Clean Water and Valleybound! As you said yourself, you have helped us on so many levels, and for that we will always be grateful! We look forward to many more years to come, working with you to advance our mission of environmental and social justice in the region!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies Emeritus who retired in 2011 after 22 years as a tenured faculty member at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, I could not have imagined a better way of truly returning home, and finally living year around on my family ranch on el Rio Conejos, than by serving my community as Co-Chair (with Dr. Michele Trujillo) of the Board of Directors of Conejos Clean Water (CCW). I have no words to express the depth of the honor I feel it is to work with the synergetic team composed of board, staff and volunteers of CCW who are so completely dedicated to the enhancing the health and general welfare of all the human and more-than-human beings that dwell in the Conejos Land Grant Region. From my perspective, CCW operates on the basis of the indigenous principle that the land and the people are so interdependent as to comprise one and the same elementary, composite being. The CCW staff (Executive Director Justin Garoutte, Project Coordinator Anna Lee Vargas, and Master Gardener Abe Rosenberg) together form the beating heart of CCW, and each day they are preserving and protecting our San Luis Valley environmental, social, and cultural traditions of earth justice. Justin earlier posted on this site: "Poco a poco, se anda lejos!" --"Little by little, we walk far!" Indeed! Ándale!

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ConejosCleanWater 03/13/2017

Thank you, Reyes, for your ongoing support and guidance. Together we will continue working for justice here in the Conejos Land Grant Region for years to come. Onward and upward!

1 Maury G.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have to admit, I am a board member. CCW is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive non-profits I have ever been a part of. The missions of environmental, social, economic and food justice are very dear to my heart, so for me it is a perfect fit.
I have a program I call Nature's Table. Its purpose is to bring the idea of 'free' food--edible wild plants and weeds--to the children that participate in the Valleybound program, a very exciting addition to CCW. Adults can also participate as chaperones, or for a donation to Valleybound.
The staff is utterly incredible from the Executive Director, Justin, on down the line.
Thank you lovely staff and board for all you do for our communities in the Conejos Land Grant Region.
I make a monthly donation to CCW, easy peasy. You should too!
Photo: the kids in my garden

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ConejosCleanWater 03/13/2017

Thank you so much, Maury, for your ongoing support and guidance. We appreciate all you do as a board member, volunteer and donor. Your knowledge on wild edible foods has been a wonderful addition to our organization, especially Valleybound, the Antonito School and Community Garden! Here's to an awesome future!

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8

Board Member

Rating: 5

A grass roots organization that is really working on social, economic, environmental and food justice!

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ConejosCleanWater 03/30/2016

Dear Maury - Thank you so much for your review. We are grateful for the countless hours you have spent with us, working on justice issues throughout the Conejos Land Grant Region. In Solidarity, Conejos Clean Water

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My name is Shirley Romero Otero and I am a community organizer, educator and Executive Director of the Move Mountains Youth Project Inc. in San Luis, CO, (Costilla County). Conejos Clean Water is one of the most active, progressive and important organizations in the San Luis Valley. Move Mountains partnered with Conejos Clean Water and were able to clean several illegal dumps in our community, especially along the sacred waterways known as "Acequias." In all, we collected over 90 tons of trash in our community. It would have not been possible to do this work without the financial assistance and guidance from this group. They have also sponsored fieldtrips for our students which they loved. Working with Justin and others from the group is a pleasure and an honor. They do OUTSTANDING work and are a vital part of the community. Keep doing what you are best at!

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ConejosCleanWater 03/08/2017

Muchas gracias, Shirley, for your supportive and inspiring words. We are so glad we are able to partner with Move Mountains and youth from across Costilla County in our efforts to address illegal dumping and educating on the importance of our public lands. We are equally impressed with your work with Move Mountains and are grateful for the partnership we have developed. We look forward to working with you for many more years to come! In peace and solidarity, The CCW Team

1 Jennifer634

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank you Conejos Clean Water for fighting for the people of the San Luis Valley. As a native to Antonito, I am heartened to see them fighting for maintenance of culture and the well being of the people.

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ConejosCleanWater 03/08/2017

Thank you so much for your review! We promise you we will continue fighting for all of us here in the Conejos Land Grant Region and the San Luis Valley. We honor and uphold the very culture that has shaped us and guided our programming and efforts over the past seven years. Here's to many more years to come. If you'd like to get more involved with our work, please get in touch! In solidarity, The CCW Team

1 Justin Garoutte

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've served as Co-Chair on the Board of Directors, have been Executive Director since August 1, 2015, and am an active donor. I have never had a more fulfilling job, nor have I ever worked with more dedicated, caring, compassionate people. Each and every one of us strives for social, environmental, economic, and food justice here in the Conejos Land Grant Region. Together we are making strides for positive change within and for our communities. Poco a poco, se anda lejos! (Photo by Christian O'Rourke)

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ConejosCleanWater 03/08/2017

Thank you for all you do for Conejos Clean Water and our community!

1 Anna132

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have proudly been a staff member of Conejos Clean Water for almost two years now. CCW strives everyday to advocate for environmental, social, economic, and food justice in our communities. I have seen first hand this organization come into fruition with our wonderful staff, board, and community members at the helm. I love my job and will continue to work diligently for the land, water, and people of the San Luis Valley. :)

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ConejosCleanWater 03/07/2017

Thank you, Anna, for all you do to keep Conejos Clean Water and our programs up and running. It is a privilege for all of us to have you on board, and for all of the hours you've put in, we are so grateful. Here's to many more years of advocacy to come!

1 Mick D.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Conejos Clean Water is an outstanding community resource that has deep roots in social and environmental justice. They have broadened their work as part of San Luis Valley Inspire and are now providing school gardens and outdoor education to their community. I look forward to the opportunities that will come to Conejos county because of their leadership in the community.

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ConejosCleanWater 03/07/2017

Thank you so much, Mick, for your supportive review. It's an honor to work with you through San Luis Valley Great Outdoors, especially around our Great Outdoors Colorado Inspire Initiative. The next three years are going to be really exciting for us, and we're grateful to have you as a partner throughout this process!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Conejos Clean Water continues to be a leader in their Agro work which is connected directly to the people of the SLV. They are never hesitant to step up on issues of equality and representation. They take their mission very seriously and live up to the expectations every day. We are proud of the role they fulfill in our expanded community.
Marty Asplin, www.delnortetrails.org

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ConejosCleanWater 03/07/2017

Thank you so much, Marty, for your review! We are grateful for supporters like you who share in the passion we have for our work in the Conejos Land Grant Region around environmental, social, food and economic justice issues. With your continued support, we will continue standing up for justice, lifting up our communities throughout the San Luis Valley. In solidarity, The CCW Team

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Awesome organization. Everyone that works for Conejos Clean Water is very friendly and professional. If I could pick a favorite nonprofit Conejos Clean Water would be it.

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ConejosCleanWater 03/07/2017

Your words brighten our day and remind us why we do the work we do, day in and day out. We could never have the impact and reach we currently have without the generous support from volunteers like you. Thank you for continuing to stand with us!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I'm a missionary for the LDS church and have been doing community service for Conejos Clean Water. This nonprofit has done a lot of good things for this small community. They help the students here in the valley about gardening, picking up waste, and they have been donating their time and food grown during the year to help out in the community. The people here are very friendly and do an awesome job.

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ConejosCleanWater 03/07/2017

Thank you so much for all of the hours you have put in week after week to help us out here at Conejos Clean Water. We appreciate you, from helping us write thank you letters to gearing up for the gardening season, your support means the world to us. We are so grateful for the LDS Church initiating this volunteering experience here in our community. Here's to an awesome summer to come!

1 Jeff138

Donor

Rating: 5

Conejos Clean Water is continuing to breath new life and energy into this part of the San Luis Valley! I'm very thankful for all they do.

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ConejosCleanWater 03/07/2017

Thank you so much, Jeff, for your kind words and support as a donor. We are grateful for people like you who feel the energy and passion we have for justice in the Conejos Land Grant Region!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Conejos Clean Water staff is passionate, hardworking and dedicated to Conejos County youth. They are a pleasure to work with on a partnership level and know the work they do is highly appreciated in their community!

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ConejosCleanWater 03/07/2017

Thank you so much, friend, for your kind words of support and acknowledgement. It is a pleasure to work with you and partner on so many projects, especially our latest Great Outdoors Colorado Inspire Initiative. We are really going to open the doors to outdoor recreation for our children and youth over the course of the next three years! Onward and upward!

1 Andrea139

Board Member

Rating: 5

Conejos Clean Water is based in Antonito, Colorado of the San Luis Valley. The organization has a unique advocacy focus on social, environmental, food, and economic justice. CCW tackles projects and issues that are important to the communities it operates in the region and is effective.

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ConejosCleanWater 03/07/2017

Thank you, Andrea, for all that you have done and continue to do to support our work here at Conejos Clean Water. You inspire us all, and we are grateful to have you on our Board of Directors. Here's to continuing our movement!

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Board Member

Rating: 5

We are the only community based organization in the Conejos Land Grant region. Our organization is comprised of educators, ranchers, farmers, small business owners, students, Our catalyst for forming was to protect the health in our communities. We started in Antonito in response to nuclear waste near the San Antonio River. We work on issues that are important to our communities' way of life and we promote healthy living through environmental, food, and social justice. We have worked tirelessly to build this organization and protect public health. We are all from the Conejos region. Join us. We are looking for additional Board members now.

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ConejosCleanWater 03/30/2016

Dear Andrea - Thank you so much for your review. We will never be able to thank you enough for the numerous hours you have spent fighting for environmental justice in our communities! Your continued guidance is invaluable to the sustainability of Conejos Clean Water. In Solidarity, Conejos Clean Water

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Conejos Clean Water is comprised of energetic, compassionate and sincere people who protect the natural environment of Conejos County, therefore, benefiting all that live-in and visit the area. They lead by example and are a greatly valued non-profit organization, not just in Conejos County but for the entire San Luis Valley, the region and the state.

~~Mary Hoffman
Adams State University Community Partnerships

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ConejosCleanWater 03/06/2017

Thank you so much, Mary, for your warm words. We appreciate how much you have supported us in the past through grants and various initiatives. We wouldn't be where we are today without the support of Adams State University Community Partnerships and other organizations throughout the Conejos Land Grant Region. Muchas gracias!

1 Ethan2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Conejos Clean Water is doing amazing work in the San Luis Valley. Their fantastic staff is engaging the public and creating positive change in their community. From protecting public lands to working with local schools to ensure civil rights, their programming is diverse and valuable. I am in awe of what they have accomplished and can't wait to see what they tackle next.

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ConejosCleanWater 03/06/2017

Thank you so much, Ethan, for your kind words and support. We appreciate the times you have volunteered with us and look forward to working with you in the future. What do you think about an archaeology workshop this summer at the Valleybound, the Antonito School and Community Garden? We think the kids and youth would love it!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Conejos Clean Water deeply values, and is committed to sustaining and promoting inclusiveness both in the workplace and the world. The embrace of human diversity, like the embrace of biological diversity, is not only a matter of tolerance, fairness, and moral duty; it is a matter of love. Conejos love, and wish to sustain, the astounding variety of human beings and cultures that has arisen on this planet over untold thousands of years.
They believe there is not only an intrinsic link between protecting the diversity of the Earth’s cultures, languages, plants, and animals, but between that work and having a staff diverse in gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and socio-economic background.
Diversity in all forms, and a profound respect for the multiple possibilities and perspectives that such diversity offers, enables and inspires powerful, creative work. Only such work can meet the challenges of complex and far-reaching global crises such as extinction, climate change and cultural oppression. They are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion within their organization, the environmental movement and the world at large, and believe diversity reporting is positive new step to bring about needed changes.

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ConejosCleanWater 12/04/2016

Thank you so much for this heartfelt review of our work here in the Conejos Land Grant Region. Your support means the world to us, and we are so grateful to be standing strong for social, environmental, food, and economic justice with you! Here's to many more years to come of progressing our movements for social change, one step at a time. In solidarity, Conejos Clean Water

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great opportunity for our youth to experience the process of planting their own food which allows them to appreciate the value of their hard work.

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ConejosCleanWater 04/28/2016

Dear Volunteer - Thank you so much for your review! We will continue working on food justice issues, reaching our youth and providing them with valuable skills for life! In solidarity, Conejos Clean Water

4 Cameron U.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I was apart of a group of students from metropolitan state university of Denver that traveled to Antonio in order to conduct written surveys and in-person interviews with the goal of helping CCW and the valleybound community garden to evaluate how well the program is Doing at achieving success in the areas of fruit/vegetable knowledge, consumption, self-sustainability and an all around center for community connectedness. Needless to say we heard nothing but positive feedback from the community, volunteers, students and program leaders. This program is something the community is really getting behind and i can honestly say it is helping to achieve a psychologically and physically healthier community. I was delighted to hear abot the garden reaching out to help at-risk youth through a summer run initiative and loved hearing about the direction they are hoping to take this program in as a whole. In just one year this program has helped to achieve community connectedness and raise community knowledge surrounding nutrition! I also love meeting and interacting with all the people of Antonio and hope to come back in a few years to see how the garden has grown. With great pleasure, Cameron ulrich

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ConejosCleanWater 04/13/2016

Dear Cameron - Thank you so much for your review and kind words! We are encouraged by your enthusiasm and all the work you have done to help us evaluate our garden program Valleybound. It was great hosting you this past weekend, and we are grateful for your support and guidance in our program evaluation. We'll see you soon when you present your findings in Denver! In Solidarity, Conejos Clean Water