View from the Chair

by Sherri Valentine, Chapter Chair

What Is The Sierra Club?

When was the last time you stopped, for just a moment, and asked yourself: "What is the Sierra Club and why am I a member?" If you haven’t done so recently, I hope that you will. During the years that I have been a member of this organization I have learned many things about Sierra Club and my relationship with it and the people who make this incredible organization.

It is the volunteers who make this organization—people just like you and me! The work and decision-making of Sierra Club is done primarily by volunteers. For the most part, the role of Sierra Club staff members is to support that work. In Colorado, this "democratic" organization consists of members organized by local area (Groups) and interests (Sections and Committees). Group and At-Large delegates are elected to serve on the statewide Chapter Executive Committee, the decision-making body of the Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC). The RMC in turn, is represented on various regional, national and international decision-making bodies.

(Until recently, Sierra Club referred to itself as "national"; however, because of rapidly increasing numbers of members in Canada and Mexico, we are now truly an "international" environmental organization.)

It is the individuals working within and as a part of each Group, Section and Committee that create the vitality of this organization. We are Sierra Club. Years ago, a former member of RMC, Helga Fensterman (who has since moved to another state), reminded me that the Sierra Club "is a volunteer organization. We place no expectations on your time, but we appreciate all that you can give." Your involvement, however given, is our most important resource—and the most important thing you can give to protect and preserve our fragile environment for future generations of all species.


Election Update

In the last issue of Peak & Prairie, members were asked to vote whether to grant Chapter Sections voting status on the Chapter Executive Committee (Ex-Com). Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, the issue was not presented in a balanced manner. Therefore, the Ex-Com voted unanimously not to count the votes and to invalidate this portion of the ballot election. The issue should be presented to the members again, for another vote, in a future issue of Peak & Prairie.

Votes for At-Large Ex-Com members were counted and will be reported in the next issue of Peak & Prairie.


Leadership Changes

New At-Large and Group Representatives will be seated on the Ex-Com, and a new Chapter Chair and Vice-Chair will be elected by those Ex-Com members, at the January meeting, which is scheduled to be held in Canon City and hosted by the Sangre de Cristo Group.

Fran Baxter, who has been editor of this newsletter for the past six years, has resigned. We thank her and much appreciate all the hard work she has put in over the years. Fran is replaced by Kevin Mackessy, who brings a new staff of volunteers on-board.


Thanks For The Memories

During the past year as Chapter Chair, I have had the good fortune to work with a wonderful group of extremely dedicated volunteers and staff members. I want to thank everyone for their hard work and support. My most special thanks go to Peggy Malchow, who served as Vice-Chair. (Peggy, I could not have done this without you.) Peggy and Lyn Yarroll, chair of the Mount Evans Group, were both presented Chapter Volunteer of the Year awards for their hard work and dedication; those awards were well deserved by both women.

And to everyone: Keep up the good work on behalf of the environment, and don’t forget to laugh and have fun along the way. May we always remember that we do not need to stoop to the negativity so often displayed by those with whom we often find ourselves at odds, and let us never forget that this work is a labor of love.


Sherri Valentine