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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

42 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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!

Comments ( 1 )

ConejosCleanWater 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 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 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!

Previous Stories
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

2

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!