How do you build resilience to fire, flood, and create new community ties in the process? Well we turned to a set of local experts who are doing just that work every day.

Friday’s speakers gave us an in-depth look into how locally powered organizations in Boulder County are working with the natural environment to not only mitigate homes and protect against natural hazards, but also encouraging people to meet their neighbors, strengthening local support networks for times of crisis, and bridging geographic divides by connecting people from mountain and plains areas.

And after Friday’s meeting, we’ve now we’ve got a whole new set of people who can help spread the word about the phenomenal work that is being done and the connections being made! So thanks to everyone who turned out for BoCo Strong’s 2nd quarterly meeting of the year!

Our Speakers


Cecily Mui at the podium (photo by C. Gellido)

Friday’s speakers brought together the leaders of Wildfire Partners, Saws and Slaws, Fourmile Watershed Coalition, and St. Vrain Creek Coalition. Jim Webster of Wildfire Partners spoke eloquently on how much homeowners can impact the wildland urban interface and reduce wildfire threats. Following his presentation was one of the key resources that homeowners can draw upon to reduce these threats: Cesar Gellido of Saws and Slaws explained the deep community ties and support that underlies the unique model of their group. Not only do they provide sawyer training and haul away incredible amounts of slash, but gather for a potluck after each volunteer project.

Moving to the water side, Maya MacHamer discussed the wide variety of partnerships and issues that impact her work with the Fourmile Watershed Coalition as well as different strategies for community outreach. Cecily Mui of the St. Vrain Creek Coalition focused on Resources, Resiliency, and Relationships as her basis for work along the St. Vrain Creek Watershed. Working with cities in both mountain and plains geography, she sees first hand how differently people use and work with the waterways, but also how closely the creek connects them all.

Questions? And Answers


Lively discussion (photo by C. Gellido)

The speakers also shared their expertise on community outreach, collaboration, and hazard mitigation during a Q&A session after the presentations. Additionally, however, they had proposed questions to the group that would help advance or provide feedback on their projects and the second half of the meeting was dedicated to discussing these questions and providing shared knowledge and learning. Key takeaways from these meetings were as follows:

How do we connect real estate agents to promote wildfire mitigation?

  • Create mitigation certificates so home buyers can see the ratings
    • Need larger pool of homes
    • Collaborate with all-hazards to increase number of homes
  • Document, quantify, and publicize how mitigated homes sell for more
  • Educate realtors on importance of mitigation
  • Recognize realtors as good leaders

How do you maintain a sustainable volunteer pool?

  • Seek out new volunteers
    • Social Media Campaigns
    • Youth Programs and Education
  • Sustain existing volunteers
    • Help volunteers see the bigger picture
    • Let people come back and see the impact that they made
    • Hold volunteer appreciation event across communities
    • Create barter system for volunteers
      • bank time and money to trade with other people

How do you create and use assessments for creating organizational programming?

  • Create assessments in advance to identify projects
  • Use assessments afterwards to measure impacts and success
  • Identify needed culture shift and different opportunities to use assessments to measure culture shift

What does it mean to be a watershed coalition?

  • Coalition means relationships, cohesiveness, collaboration
  • Education
  • What is involved in a watershed?
    • not just flood recovery, but also air quality, wildlife
    • sustainability of resources
    • quality of resources over time
  • Coalition shouldn’t just focus on one issue, but should be broadly focused

Upcoming Events

Showing off the merchandise (photo by C. Gellido)

Showing off the merchandise (photo by C. Gellido)

Sad you missed out?
Join us for our next meeting on July 22nd from 9:00 to 11:00 AM when we’ll be focusing on youth leadership and resilience. Look for more announcements on location soon.

The 2nd Annual Resilience Summit will be taking place on September 22nd from 1:00 to 5:00 at Planet Bluegrass in Lyons. This year’s theme is “The Power of Connection” so come for the conversation and stay for the company.

Also check out the webpages and Facebook for all of our speakers. They have some fantastic volunteer opportunities coming up.

If you would like to present at an upcoming meeting or help us schedule a new one then please get in touch! Email me with your ideas and contact information and we’ll make it happen.

In the meantime, have a lovely week!

Resiliently yours,