ALAMOSA — The Rio Grande Headwater Land Trust recently announced it will be hosting its 12th annual Headwaters Hoedown on Oct. 1 at the Colorado Farm Brewery from noon to 5 p.m.
This event is an opportunity to learn about the Rio Grande Headwater Land Trust and what they do to serve the greater San Luis Valley through its riparian and conservation efforts.
For the past 23 years, the Rio Grande Headwater Land Trust or RiGHT has served as the San Luis Valley’s only land trust that serves all six counties and is committed to projects all over the region.
“As the community’s land trust, RiGHT is committed to working with private landowners, public agencies, and other conservation organizations to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife habitat of the area and to promote a sustainable agricultural way of life. Our goals are to protect and support working ranches and farms, water resources, wildlife habitat, and scenic landscapes while inspiring a culture of conservation in the San Luis Valley,” officials stated.
According to newly hired RiGHT Executive Director Andy Brown, they are excited to share all their accomplishments with the community during this event and will be highlighting their success in conserving the Fox Creek area.
“We are really looking forward to having the community join us for a day of fun. We held our annual Hoedown last year, but I think this year is going to be even better. The community is just ready to get out and have a good time and that’s what we plan to do,” said Brown.
According to his bio, Brown joined the RiGHT team this May and comes to the San Luis Valley from western North Carolina where he has a home and family in Asheville and a small farm on Roan Mountain that produces Christmas trees, blueberries and heirloom apples. A deep love for the Rio Grande basin and the desert southwest has drawn him to join forces with the board and staff of RiGHT and its many collaborative partners to help protect and enhance the natural and cultural qualities of the San Luis Valley.
Brown holds an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology and a master’s of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Environmental Policy and Planning. Previously, he served as Trout Unlimited's Coldwater Conservation Manager for the four-state southern Appalachian region.
Prior to TU, he created and directed a for-profit environmental consulting firm for 14 years called Equinox with a mission to facilitate conservation and sustainable development. Throughout his 25-year professional career, he has volunteered on the boards of a land trust and an environmental advocacy group and coached his daughters’ basketball teams. He is also a stonemason and has great appreciation for the construction trades and people who work in them.
The Fox Creek conservation project has been in the works for some time and through working with the family, the RiGHT organization was able to secure a conservation easement.
“We worked with a local family, a group of sisters that owned the land and we were able to get a conservation easement in lieu of selling the land. This was a wonderful accomplishment and will ensure the land and water is protected which helps us sustain it for the future,” continued Brown.
The organization has seven conservation projects throughout the San Luis Valley in the works, with the hope of having them finished by the end of the year.
In addition to the conservation work that RiGHT does, they also help local landowners with repair of riparian zones. One project they recently completed was with the Valdez family who own land with wetlands near Capulin, by La Jara at the north end of the Alamosa River.
Riparian zones, or areas are locations where the river meets the land and is one of the many biomes of the planet. They are essential to the function of ecosystems within those areas.
At the Hoedown there will be local beer from the Colorado Farm Brewery, Gosar Sausage and other local food vendors, a corn hole tournament and live music from Wood Belly, a Colorado bluegrass band. Tickets are available online at www.riograndelandtrust.org and come in two levels this year. VIP passes come with a hat, event pint glass, two free beers and more.