RMC to Start "Sierra Club Academy"

by Kirk Cunningham, Conservation Chair

The world is becoming more complex. Yet, as a mostly volunteer organization, the Sierra Club is not adapting as well as it could to changing times. Many new Club volunteers wander around in a state of confusion for months trying to find their intellectual footing and voice, while others give up in frustration before they find their way.

This situation has compelled the Chapter Conservation Committee to begin a series of short courses for new activists or others who may want to expand their knowledge. The courses will start in March, will be taught by Chapter issue committee chairs (with one exception), and, at least initially, will take up approximately two hours for one evening. Based on the response to this first course offering, we anticipate offering additional courses on a regular basis. Courses will be offered free of charge to Club members.

We aiming to simply teach attendees the basic ideas, facts, players and lingo so that they are more able to continue learning on their own. However, a more detailed syllabus including reference materials for further study should be available. Since many of our issue chairs find themselves stretched thin in covering the important aspects of their issue, it is also our hope that a little formal training will make it easier to recruit new committee members.

The following chairs have offered to set up the initial short courses in their issue area:

1. Air Quality, Bill Myers, Thursday, March 25

2. Wildlife, Mike Smith

3. Water Quality, Kirk Cunningham, Thursday, March 18

4. Toxic substances, Joan Seeman

5. Water Resources, Steve Glazer

6. Pesticides, Angela Medbery, Wednesday March 17

7. Running a Campaign: A Beginner’s Guide to Strategy and Tactics, Todd Bacigalupi, chair, Mt. Evans Group, Monday, March 15

8. Fair Trade and Human Rights, John Wade, Tuesday, March 16

9. Agricultural Practices and Safe Food, John Wade, Tuesday, March 23

Other issue leaders may sign up for courses after the deadline for this newsletter. So if you do not see listed a subject of interest to you, please contact us anyway and we’ll do our best to accommodate you. The location for the courses will usually be at the Club office at 1410 Grant St. in Denver, but in principle this could be changed to accommodate people outside Denver. Dates listed above for March are somewhat negotiable, again so that attendance can be maximized. In the future, if this short course concept proves to be popular, we can also set up courses for more administrative skills that are used and needed in the Club.

If you would be interested in attending a course, please write to Sierra Club Academy, 1410 Grant St. #205B, Denver, CO, 80203, or leave a message on the Club phone at 303-861-8819. We will need to know your name, address, phone, and email (if any), what course(s) you want to attend, and what evening dates in March (if not the scheduled date) might be good for you. For additional information, call me at 303-939-8519, or email to kmcunnin@juno.com.