CFP Survey Results: Vital Input on Vision, Core Purpose, and Priorities for our Coalition

In April 2018, a broad range of constituents was invited to complete a brief survey to provide vital input on the vision, core purpose, and priorities for a new statewide land conservation coalition for Colorado.

Thanks to the 92 individuals who completed the Conservation Futures Project survey. Linked below is a four-page executive summary of survey results, in addition to an appendix with full responses.



Jewett: Think Big and Hear All Voices for Coalition Success

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As a member of the Conservation Futures Project steering committee, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to fill out the CFP survey in early April. We had a great response rate at just under 100 participants. We are at a critical inflection point in our collective work in Colorado. Your insights provide a valuable perspective in informing how land conservation moves forward in our state, and in your community.

You can view a four-page summary of survey results here, with an appendix that provides full responses. I’d also like to highlight a few of my own initial takeaways. First, it is clear that our conservation community is ready to think big when it comes to the future of conservation in Colorado. Together, we can be stronger and more effective in our work. A reimagined coalition can provide a critical framework for bringing us together to generate more impact to Colorado. Phrases like “forward thinking,” “thriving,” “strong,” “a model for global conservation,” “national leader,” “visionary land and water conservation planning,” and “highest quality of life of any state,” define our vision for our collective work.

Second, in reading your responses it is clear to all of us on the steering committee that, as we reimagine a strong statewide coalition, it is imperative that all voices are heard. What we build will only be strong if it represents conservation from every corner of Colorado. As a leader of a community-based land trust, I know that I provide a unique perspective. When I think about Rocky Ford, Colorado Springs, or Woodland Park – no other land trust knows these areas like Palmer Land Trust. The same is true for each community throughout the state and the organizations that represent those communities.

If you represent a community-focused land trust, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to me or anyone else on the steering committee as we continue with the Conservation Futures Project. Your perspective matters, and if you have ideas, concerns, or inspired insights, I want to hear from you as we move forward. Together, we can turn our vision for Colorado into a reality. Or, in the words of one survey participant’s vision: “Woman walks across Colorado without ever leaving conserved lands.” Love it!

And to many of you, I look forward to continuing our conversation at the Conservation Futures Project summit on May 9 in Breckenridge. If you haven’t yet registered, there’s still time – and a $350 travel stipend and possible CPW grant to facilitate your attendance



Rebecca Jewett

Executive Director, Palmer Land Trust

Steering Committee Member, Conservation Futures Project


Research Summary: What’s Working for Land Trust Coalitions Around the Country?

As Colorado’s land conservation community starts to re-envision a new statewide coalition with the focus, capacity and structure to guide Colorado into the future, it makes sense to start with a scan of successful models and path-leading ideas from across the nation.

Linked below is an overview of research conducted by the CFP Steering Committee in Spring 2018 on six high-functioning land trust coalitions (LTCs). This information is meant to provide helpful baseline data, as Colorado land trust leaders and other partners engage in the CFP process throughout the year. The summary also contains a brief analysis of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts’ transition, and explains how the CFP was formed.


Letter from Great Outdoors Colorado and the Gates Family Foundation to the Conservation Community

Dear Colorado Conservationist,

Our state’s open lands are among Colorado’s most treasured assets, providing residents and visitors with majestic views, world-class outdoor recreation, and robust working farms and ranches – all of which provide huge economic benefits to our state and contribute to our shared identity as Coloradans.

Land trusts serve as vital partners in the conservation and stewardship of these open lands in communities across the state. These nonprofit, charitable organizations work with local landowners who wish to voluntarily restrict development of their private lands, in order to protect iconic vistas, preserve working farms and ranches, and safeguard waterways and ecosystems. In return, land trusts guarantee to protect and steward the open space under their watch – in perpetuity. Altogether, nonprofit land trusts are responsible for the stewardship of nearly 80% of the 2.2 million acres of private land conserved in Colorado.

Because of this, the capacity, vibrancy, and sustainability of the state’s land trusts should be of vital importance to all Coloradans. Many of them are fixtures in their communities, raising thousands to millions of dollars in donations each year from local residents who understand and value their work. The people of Colorado are also deeply supportive of land conservation, through tax credits and open space grants provided by Great Outdoors Colorado – created by voters in 1992 and funded by Colorado Lottery proceeds. And, since GOCO’s inception, the Gates Family Foundation has been Colorado’s largest private match source for GOCO-funded land conservation, statewide.

With so much invested in Colorado’s land trusts, we are proud to support the launch of the Conservation Futures Project – and we invite you to join us. The yearlong project will build on a series of conversations held in 2017, where land conservation leaders and funders from across the state came together to explore big-picture challenges that can’t be solved by any single organization. By the end of 2018, the Conservation Futures Project will engage an expanded coalition of partners to forge a common vision and path forward for the land conservation community, ensuring perpetual stewardship of the state’s conserved private lands.

To get from here to there, the Conservation Futures Project has two primary objectives. First, it will shepherd a collaborative effort to research, design, and launch a new, statewide organization with the structure and capacity to lead Colorado’s land conservation community into the future. And second, the project will help beta test and launch some new, useful tools for navigating our common path forward – such as alternative valuation models for conservation easements, a stewardship endowment calculator, and models for supporting regional land trust collaboration.

We invite you to visit the Conservation Futures Project website to learn more. Our goal is to be as transparent and inclusive as possible. The steering committee includes board members from the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, which has endorsed the project; leaders from other local, statewide, and nationally operating land trusts; and partners from GOCO and the Gates Family Foundation, which are providing financial support for the project. The Land Trust Alliance is also a supportive and integral partner in the initiative.

We hope that you, too, will find value in engaging with the Conservation Futures Project and receiving monthly updates as our work unfolds. To subscribe to the CFP newsletter and read more about the history and milestones for the project, please visit the CFP website.

On behalf of the Conservation Futures Project steering committee, we are excited to be embarking upon this yearlong journey with each of you.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the steering committee at




Beth Conover                                                                                Peter Ericson

Senior Vice President                                                                    Chief Operating Officer

Gates Family Foundation                                                              Great Outdoors Colorado