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15 of Katie’s Favorite Photos from the 2023 Colorado Forest Collaboratives Summit

Last week, the Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network hosted the 2023 Annual Colorado Forest Collaboratives Summit. Since returning back to the office on Monday morning, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the event and looking through photos. We’ll have a full Summit summary coming in the next few weeks, but for now, I’ve shared a few photos from the event with brief descriptions below. Enjoy!

~Katie McGrath Novak, Coordinator, Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network

Photos taken by Katie McGrath Novak, Aireona Bonnie Raschke, John Sanderson, and Roxie Stricker, unless otherwise noted.

This pair of photos stood out to me because it shows the progression from the beginning to the end of our pre-Summit social on September 6th – people trickled into the venue in small groups, and eventually we had around 50 attendees gathered on the patio enjoying a good view, good food, and most importantly, good conversation with friends new and old.

The SteamPlant Events Center in Salida was a beautiful location. We were right along the river and had very pleasant weather, which made lunch hour and breaks much more enjoyable!

The above photo shows our audience of collaborative leaders and partners. We were blown away by the approximately 100-person turnout!

I love these three photos because they capture what I was personally feeling throughout the day, which I hope others felt as well: fun! Our attendees brought a supportive and lighthearted dynamic to a day of dense content and conversation.

The Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network is housed within the Center for Collaborative Conservation (CCC) at Colorado State University. I am so grateful for our team!

Photo by Matt McCombs.

We started off this year’s Summit with a welcome panel from three local leaders: Chaffee County Commissioner Greg Felt, Colorado Department of Natural Resources Wildfire Mitigation Program Administrator Alison Lerch, and Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative Executive Director Jonathan Paklaian.

These are a few of the numerous Salida-area locals who were instrumental in helping us plan and execute this year’s Summit, and we are grateful to all.

During the Funding Innovations Across Local Contexts session, Paul Orbuch invited Meg Halford (Wildfire Team Forest & Grasslands Project Coordinator for Boulder County) and Scott Golden (Resource Specialist at Boulder County Parks and Open Space) to share their perspectives from working on a Boulder County tax initiative. I was impressed by Meg and Scott’s impromptu presentation and happy to hear from more voices on this collaborative effort!

Someone told me recently, “A picture is worth 1,000 words, and a field trip is worth 1,000 pictures.” Our field trip to the Poncha Pass and Riverside Projects was one of my personal favorite parts of the week.

3rd field trip photo above courtesy of Joe Stone.

These were just a few of the many photos and stories I could share from this year’s Summit. Stay tuned, as we’ll share a detailed summary in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, if you see any of the folks listed below, please share a warm THANK YOU, as they were instrumental in the planning an execution of this year’s Colorado Forest Collaboratives Summit:

Planning Team

Esther Duke, Coalitions & Collaboratives

Holly Gordon, Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network Intern

Ch’aska Huayhuaca, Colorado Forest Restoration Institute

Alison Lerch, Colorado Department of Natural Resources

Katie McGrath Novak, Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network

Paul Orbuch, Boulder County Fireshed

Aireona Bonnie Raschke, Center for Collaborative Conservation

Rebecca Samulski, Fire Adapted Colorado

John Sanderson, Center for Collaborative Conservation

Brett Wolk, Colorado Forest Restoration Institute

Scott Woods, Colorado State Forest Service

Field Trip Planning Team

Kyle Deschenes, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies

Rob Fenwick, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies

Damon Lange, Colorado State Forest Service

Matt Nykiel, National Forest Foundation

JT Shaver, Colorado State Forest Service


Greg Felt, Chaffee County Commissioner

Alison Lerch, Colorado Department of Natural Resources

Jonathan Paklaian, Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative

Katie McGrath Novak, Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network

Tara Umphries, US Forest Service

Ellen Stuart Roberts, Consultant

Aaron Kimple, Southwest Ecological Restoration Institutes

Paul Orbuch, Boulder County Fireshed

Meg Halford, Boulder County

Scott Golden, Boulder County Parks & Open Space

Julie Shapiro, Keystone Policy Center

Dan Gibbs, Colorado Department of Natural Resources

Matt McCombs, Colorado State Forest Service

Diana Trujillo, US Forest Service (was not able to attend)

Jim Pitts, US Forest Service

Kerry Major, Clear Creek Watershed and Forest Health Partnership

Brett Wolk, Colorado Forest Restoration Institute

Esme Cadiente, Forest Stewards Guild (was not able to attend)

Dana Guinn, Forest Stewards Guild