Yampa Valley Sustainability Council looking to expand in Moffat County; internships available | CraigDailyPress.com
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Yampa Valley Sustainability Council looking to expand in Moffat County; internships available

The fall interns for the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council were, from left, Thomas Cooper, Luke Wasem and Lillian Svoboda. The organization is looking for applicants for its summer internship program and Moffat County’s students and young professionals are being encouraged to apply.
YVSC/Courtesy photo

Over the years, the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council has been primarily focused in Routt County, but now the organization has grown its capacity to start exploring more opportunities in Moffat County and across the whole Yampa Valley.

Executive Director Michelle Stewart said that in the past, YVSC has not been able to engage as much with Moffat County. The organization has not had the capacity or the internal drive to expand partnerships and programs down valley.

In the past year, however, YVSC has been able to expand from a three- to four-person staff to having nine dedicated staff members overseeing the growth and sustainability of YVSC programs. This internal growth is key to being able to explore expanding partnerships in Moffat County, which is an identified priority in the organization’s strategic plan.



“We’re excited to move forward with partnerships like these and expanding on programs across the Yampa Valley,” Stewart said. “We hope Moffat County sees us as partners.”

One of the YVSC opportunities Stewart wanted to highlight for Moffat County residents is the Summer Internship program, which is accepting applications until April 15. The internship is an hourly paid position and requires a commitment of 20 hours per week for 12 weeks.



According to an email from Internship Program Manager Nicole Pepper, YVSC started this program a year ago because they recognized a lot of local students and young professionals care about sustainability issues and challenges, and there is a gap in opportunities for students and young professionals to engage in local projects that are meaningful and have an effect.

“Since we started this program last spring, we have hosted over 10 paid interns,” Pepper said. “It has been really reinvigorating and refreshing to have these passionate young and bright minds to bring in fresh perspectives and new ideas to the organization.”

Anyone who has an interest in sustainability and conservation is encouraged to apply. Applicants must be a resident of Moffat or Routt County for the duration of the 12-week program. YVSC will consider interdisciplinary students with skills and backgrounds across many different areas and levels. You don’t have to have a background in sustainability in order to be considered.

All levels of education are welcome to apply including high school, undergraduate and graduate studies. Stewart said YVSC has not received any applicants from Moffat County yet, so local residents are strongly encouraged to apply.

“There is a lot of work to be done in our community. We believe in investing in local students and young professionals, our budding leaders, by providing them with valuable professional training experiences here in their hometowns,” Pepper added.

Pepper explained that it is be a two-pronged internship built around professional development and applied work experience. Interns will have opportunities to develop both personal working skills and technical skills.

Previous YVSC interns have continued on to jobs with partner organizations and to pursue higher education, and some have received long-term positions on the YVSC team. The program is intended to equip interns with the skills to incorporate foundations of sustainability into future leadership and decision-making for any career pathway.

For more information about the YVSC Summer Internship Program, email Pepper at nicole@yvsc.org.

Expanding opportunities

Some of the focus areas that YVSC intends to expand partnerships and opportunities across the Yampa Valley include:

• Increase resiliency in the Yampa Valley through long standing projects to buffer the effects of rising temperatures on the Yampa River. YVSC has also been exploring more water conservation practices for both indoor and outdoor water-use programs.

• YVSC is working in partnership with Yampa Valley Electric Association to do energy assessments to make sure business and commercial buildings are operating in energy efficient ways. Energy efficiency assessments can help businesses save money and reduce energy bills. YVSC also helps leverage funding opportunities for eligible businesses to offset costs of energy efficient retrofits.

• YVSC is working with the regional transportation authority and with local community members to find ways to improve regional public transportation in the Yampa Valley, and potentially increase bus schedule offerings for regional commuters. This is a part of a larger effort for YVSC to increase alternative forms of transportation within the region and offset the amount of carbon produced by single passenger vehicles.

• YVCS has started conversations with the City of Craig and Moffat County Commissioners for a potential partnership to bring a recycling program back to Craig. A potential partnership on a Criag recycling project would be aligned with YVSC efforts to increase waste diversion regionally in tandem with the state’s priority to increase waste diversion significantly over the next 20 years.

For more information on the strategic expansion of YVSC partnerships across the Yampa Valley, contact Executive Director Michelle Stewart at michelle.stewart@yvsc.org.


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