As we begin the new year with a new blog and a new initiative, Colorado Water 2012, it’s the perfect time to kick things off with an introduction from Nicole Seltzer, Chair of the Water 2012 Management Team and Executive Director of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. Gain Nicole’s perspective on what’s to come in the new year:
What is Water 2012? Water 2012 is a celebration of Colorado’s water. It’s an opportunity for us to celebrate our history, the value of water to the state of Colorado and to create a connection with all of us who use it. Activity wise it’s library programs, it’s video contests, it’s book clubs, it’s career choices, it’s art, it’s connecting with new audiences—it’s all of those things.
How are people celebrating? I think everybody is celebrating in a way that is meaningful to them. If their organization is celebrating an anniversary, they’re going to focus on that; if they are motivated by youth education, then maybe they’ll help with River of Words programs; if they want to spur interest in careers in water or are looking for a career in water, then they’ll participate in the student networking events. I think it’s all driven by what motivates people internally and we’ve tried to create a wide variety of activities so that everybody can participate in an area that moves them personally.
What are you doing to celebrate? I’m going to make a pledge here. I’m going to read the books on the Book Club list. I’m going to give a lot of presentations through the Speakers Bureau— in fact my first presentation just got scheduled earlier this week to speak to one of the Denver Rotary Club Chapters. Throughout the year I’ll be spreading the word of Water 2012 as best I can and encouraging people to get involved themselves.
How did Water 2012 come to be? It started because some of us are celebrating anniversaries in 2012: the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Northern Water, The Colorado River District and the Colorado Water Conservation Board, among others. We got together in 2010 to talk about how we wanted to commemorate our anniversaries. The Foundation for Water Education also put out an email to its membership asking if they wanted to do something special to celebrate… and that’s really how and where the idea for Water 2012 was hatched. We grew from a meeting of 5 people to an email list of more 300– It’s been this exciting grassroots process with lots of momentum where lots of people are involved and everybody is encouraged to celebrate in their own way.
How are you involved? I am the Chair of the Management Team, which means that I help oversee the strategy, the finances and the paid consultants. In the beginning I acted as the facilitator and the convener of the process but as it grew we needed to bring on professionals to do that work. I’m involved because on a personal level I believe it’s important that every person in the state of Colorado celebrate the role of water in our lives. From the Foundation for Water Education’s perspective I want to reach more people, I want to connect our work with people who may not know about us.
I want to see Water 2012 be successful. I want us to meet our goals of reaching 500,000 Coloradans, of raising enough money to be sustainable and to lay the groundwork for what’s next.
What is success? I would view success as: meeting our goal of reaching 10% of Coloradans with a message about celebrating water, having 5,000 registered users on Water2012.org to involve them in our work, and having events take place in each river basin within Colorado so that every person has an opportunity to attend a water 2012 event in their community. I’d also like to reach our financial goals so that we can be as effective as we’d like to be. At the end of the day, I hope we end 2012 having a clear idea of what we’ve accomplished and how we want to move forward in 2013.
What’s planned for 2013? My hope is that in 2013 we will have identified and motivated a new generation of people that care about Colorado water and are charged with a desire to become involved in discussions about Colorado’s most precious resource.
How can people get involved? The first thing people can do is visit water2012.org. They should also subscribe to this blog because a lot of news and interesting content will be coming through here. They should look at the calendar and find out when there will be events near them that they can participate in, and, if they can’t find any events…then they should hold some!
What are you most excited about? I’m most excited about the Speakers Bureau. Through the Speakers Bureau there’s a huge opportunity to reach out to lots of people in the quiet corners of Colorado that may not normally have access to Colorado’s water professionals. People all over the state will be trained in giving this presentation, so everybody from Lamar to Craig will have an opportunity to listen, participate and learn. Aside from that, I am looking forward to a fun and busy year educating people about the magic of Colorado water. Let the festivities begin!