FLC ready to ‘Empower the Dream’

Diversity goes into the spotlight this weekend at Fort Lewis College. The Empower the Dream, Inspire the Change Conference is set for Feb. 24-26 and is a major part of the school’s ongoing Centennial celebration. The Durango community is encouraged to join Fort Lewis students and faculty in the exploration of culture.

A wide swath of Southwest Colorado will take part in the three-day event, and organizers will help participants navigate an increasingly diverse and global world. The FLC Centennial is a fitting time for the conference, which will look at the past 100 years and consider changed for the college and community’s next century. Participants are encouraged to participate in all three days if possible as each event will build upon the other.

“This conference has been created with the spirit that all individuals have the potential to lead, although our spheres of influence vary,” reads the Empower the Dream mission statement.

On Feb. 24, community leaders will pursue this mission by taking part in an “intercultural conversation.” The 10 individuals from a variety of backgrounds agreed to talk honestly about who they are and how they envision their roles in this increasingly diverse society. Through the facilitated dialogue, the college hopes to present a rare glimpse of what people of color living in our region feel and think.

Keynoting the event will be Lee Mun Wah, an internationally renowned diversity consultant and the creator of the film “Color of Fear.” On Friday, Feb. 25, Mun Wah will screen one of his latest films and lead a Q&A with community and campus members from 6:30-9 p.m. FLC faculty and students along with local and regional leaders will join Mun Wah in dialogues throughout the weekend.

Additional events include: “Truth Stories,” which display students’ diverse cultural backgrounds; daily screenings and discussions of films with intercultural themes; a ceremony at the Peace Tree in Hesperus Park; a Healing Wall of graphic memories and stories; and much more.

For more information and a complete schedule, visitwww.fortlewis.edu/LeadershipCenter and click on “Empower the Dream Conference.”

Ski Area Enhancement Act introduced

The Forest Service may be warming to summer tourism at ski areas. The Ski Area Recreation Opportunity Enhancement Act was introduced on Capitol Hill by a variety of sponsors last week. If approved, this bill would change permitting rules for ski areas on National Forest to allow for summertime recreation and a hopeful increase in tourism.

The current law allows only ski-related activities at resorts like Durango Mountain Resort, Telluride and Wolf Creek, which are permitted to operate on public lands. The bill would allow the Forest Service to permit appropriate year-round and summertime activities – such as mountain biking and concerts – at ski areas. The plan is to level seasonal economies and provide steady job opportunities for the people who make up ski communities. The bill would also bring the legalese up with the times and officially allow sports other than alpine and Nordic skiing, such as snowboarding and ski biking.

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo, is one of the bill’s sponsors. “Tourism is a top economic driver for Colorado, but because many of our ski areas are limited to providing recreational opportunities during the winter months only, many ski towns swing between thriving winters and slumping shoulder seasons every year,” he said.  “This bill will bolster mountain economies by enabling the Forest Service to permit more use during the off-seasons.”

Udall added that the bill would serve the duel purpose of immersing more people in the outdoors and bolstering small town economies. “Our appreciation of the wilderness should not be constrained to one season out of the year,” he said. “Opening the door to more responsible recreational opportunities can bring more jobs and economic stability to ski area communities.”  

In addition to amenities like trails, the bill would permit low impact amenities like Frisbee golf courses, zip lines and ropes

courses. It specifically prohibits tennis courts, swimming pools, golf courses, water slides and water parks on public lands.

“In Colorado, outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and hiking are an intrinsic part of our everyday lives throughout the year.,” said co-sponsor U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo. “With this bill, tourists can join us in those activities no longer visiting only in the winter and looking elsewhere for amenities in the summer.”

Discovery Museum marks opening day

The Durango Discovery Museum went official this week. Following a 10-year, $4 million renovation of the historic powerhouse, the museum opened to the general public on Feb. 23.

“It’s hard to imagine we are finally here,” said Claire Bradshaw, the museum’s executive director. “It’s been a long journey, but none of this could have been possible without the thousands of volunteers and donors who generously gave their time and their dollars to this amazing endeavor.”

The museum opened for a members-only preview on Feb. 16-19, and family memberships are on sale at a discounted rate through March 2. With the official opening this week, the museum unveiled  more than a dozen major exhibits in the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Energy Gallery. The eTree, Good Time Clock, Animation Station, Magic Planet, and Mensch Spark Shop were all on tap for opening day along with the Powerhouse Theater, “mad scientist” exhibitions, and Durango Discovery Kids, a toddler-specific play zone.

“The Discovery Museum is something we can all take immense pride in,” Bradshaw said. “It is a worthy addition to the town, and we hope everyone joins us to celebrate the Powerhouse’s long-awaited ‘reopening’ as an interactive science and energy museum.”

The museum also features a new public plaza along the Animas River, including the Carver Brewing Co. and Family Stage. Education programs, birthday parties, and science related events are already taking place in the newly remodeled Carlton Family Science Education Center, aka “The Ed.”

Winter hours for the museum will be Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. For more information, visitwww.durangodiscovery.org. 

– Will Sands



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