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La Plata Open Space celebrates gift

Donors asked to give now for matching $50,000 grant

Just in time for Colorado Land Conservation Week, La Plata Open Space Conservancy has gotten a big gift.

An anonymous donor will donate up to $50,000 in a matching grant. If La Plata Open Space raises $50,000 by the end of June, it will get the full amount.

La Plata Open Space Conservancy works with local landowners to preserve land for wildlife corridors, wetlands and viewsheds while allowing it to be productive with traditional uses, such as residences, farming and agriculture. Its main tool is called a conservation easement, which can also offer benefits such as tax breaks.

Once a conservation easement is in place, the conservancy continues to monitor the property to ensure any changes comply with the easement. The donation will help the conservancy both with operating expenses and the long-term monitoring commitment.

“My work with private landowners is more rewarding than words can say,” said Amy Schwarzbach, the conservancy’s new executive director. “When a landowner tells me stories of growing up on the land and wanting to leave behind the legacy of protecting it, I am so motivated to work with them.”

La Plata Open Space is almost 21 years old. During its existence, it has conserved more than 25,000 acres across seven counties in Southwest Colorado, working with 400 donors. Almost 2 percent of La Plata County, 18,800 acres, is protected by the conservancy.

As part of the celebration of conservation week, La Plata Open Space will be out in the community telling its story as well as offering a free funk and hip-hop concert to cap it off.

“Life here in Durango wouldn’t be the same if this community didn’t work so hard to protect open space through conservation easements,” Schwarzbach said. “I am incredibly honored to be as part of it.”

abutler@durangoherald.com

If you go

La Plata Open Space Conservancy has scheduled several events to celebrate Colorado Land Conservation Week and introduce new Executive Director Amy Schwarzbach:

5 to 7 p.m. today – SkaBQ information table, Ska Brewing Co., 225 Girard St., in Bodo Industrial Park.

8 a.m. to noon Saturday – information table at the Farmers Market in the parking lot of First National Bank of Durango, 259 W. 9th St.

5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday – free concert featuring funk music by Durango’s Booty Conda and live instrumental hip-hop by Diabolical Sound Platoon at the Powerhouse Science Center Plaza, 1333 Camino del Rio.

Visit www.lposc.org to learn more or become a member.

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