A lovely evening was had by all who attended Western Resource Advocates’ Land, Air, Water, and Wine event at Balistreri Vineyards in Denver on Thursday, September 10, 2015. Over 240 supporters turned out to celebrate conservation in the West and to honor former Colorado Governor Ritter and emerging leader Rosalia Salazar. Thanks to the generous support of participants, $140,000 was raised from the event to support WRA’s Healthy Rivers, Clean Energy, and Western Lands programs.
Former Colorado Governor Ritter was presented the Kelley Green Conservation Leadership Award by Dick Kelly, retired Chairman and CEO of Xcel Energy. Governor Ritter was recognized for his outstanding leadership in advancing clean energy through legislation, Executive Orders and programs. During his Governorship, he signed 57 new energy bills into law. In 2007, he issued an Executive Order directing Colorado’s state government to reduce overall energy consumption by 20% and petroleum use by state vehicles by 25% by 2012. He signed into law a 30% Renewable Portfolio Standard and helped create the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act, resulting in the retirement of several coal-fired power plant units. In fact, the award was presented at the winery which has a view of the Cherokee Generating Station, a coal-fired unit retired thanks to the Act. Currently, Governor Ritter is the founder and director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University. His leadership in the West, and now throughout the country, shines in his advancement of clean air, clean jobs, and carbon pollution reductions.
Rosalia Salazar was presented the Emerging Conservation Leader Award by Jon Goldin-Dubois, President of Western Resource Advocates. Rosalia Salazar is a 19-year-old Las Vegas resident and active leader of Nuestro Rio’s Youth Leadership Program. Nuestro Rio is a network of over 19,000 Latinos in the West using their collective voice to educate communities about the history of Latinos and the Colorado River. She has been active in Nevada and helped lead youth from Arizona, California, Colorado and the Northwest. She was the State Director of Nevada HOSA [Future Health Professionals] and a participant with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. She participated in Nuestro Rio’s Colorado River rafting trip in 2013, presenting to Arizona legislators about the importance of the Colorado River. She regularly participates as a speaker on conservation and youth leadership at conferences, press conferences, and workshops. Her outreach helped inspire the establishment of the first ever Youth Council at the Bureau of Reclamation—which she has now agreed to serve upon.
The entire evening celebration was jubilant. Other highlights included numerous happy attendees posing with the oversized wine glass and toe tapping to the awesome Three Legged Dog band. A new four-minute video of WRA’s successes and plans was unveiled, now available on the web here. Western Resource Advocates’ board of directors and staff extend a hearty Thank You for the generous support of the event sponsors.
Conscience Bay Company
Patrick and Lynn de Freitas
Environmental Communications Associates
Environmental Defense Fund
First National Denver
Pathfinder Philanthropy Advisors
David and Janet Robertson
Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
Chelsea Congdon Brundige
Jon and Denise Goldin-Dubois
Hilltop Public Solutions
National Wildlife Federation
Erin Overturf and Patty Gage
Christopher and Sage Wirth