To foster a community spirit of shared responsibility for the stewardship and restoration of public, protected, and ecologically significant lands across Colorado and beyond.
Our work brings people together. It builds community. Our community of volunteers is the heart and soul of WRV. We strive to build partnerships. We are inclusive of a diverse range of perspectives, not just “preaching to the choir” of folks who share a particular view. We seek to collaborate and find common ground with individuals and groups who might not consider themselves “environmentalists.” Youth are the next generation of land stewards and a key part of our community.
Our work empowers people to take action. We provide skills, training, tools, and a vision of hope for the future that catalyzes people to believe that they can make a real difference in the healing of the planet. We support people to learn and stretch and become leaders in ecological restoration and other land stewardship activities. We seek to transform the relationship between culture and nature, resulting in behavior changes that will ultimately reduce the need for restoration.
Our work is motivated by a shared love of earth, nature, the land. This love motivates us to give something back to the earth. We feel a sense of stewardship or responsibility to take care of the Earth.
Our work embodies healing—healing of the land, healing of communities, healing for people who engage in the work, countering the trend toward so-called Nature Deficit Disorder. Our work can bring a deep sense of personal fulfillment for people. Our work is simply healthy. It gets people outdoors, breathing fresh air, exercising their bodies.
Our work educates people about the need and value of ecological restoration and the need to address root causes of environmental degradation. We acquire or develop the best quality knowledge available on restoration principles and practices and disseminate that information to our constituencies through a wide range of educational and leadership training opportunities.
Our work accomplishes tangible results. We’re not just doing this for a “feel good experience.” We want to see real changes to the landscape—tangible signs of healing and progress. In addition to tangible results in the landscape, we measure tangible results in terms of the impact on people—accumulated skills, numbers of volunteers, and leaders.
Our work is inherently positive and tremendously worthy of celebration. Our labor itself is a celebration and we celebrate success and express appreciation to volunteers with great food, music, camaraderie and other expressions that help us draw forth, comprehend, and share the joy and meaning of our work.
Ed Self began WRV when he organized about 20 volunteers to plant willows at Pella Crossing Open Space near Hygiene. It all began with wetlands restoration.
WRV officially became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with several hundred volunteers.
WRV began the first leadership training program for crew leaders. Over time we added training programs for volunteer cooks, project leaders, technical advisers, and tool managers; as well as trainings in wilderness first aid, trail skills, advanced restoration skills, and other topics.
WRV opened a sister office in Fort Collins and initiated the Youth Program which has engaged over 3,000 youth thus far.
WRV volunteers now contribute over 40,000 volunteer hours annually, making us one of the largest volunteer outdoor stewardship organizations in Colorado, and perhaps the United States. By the end of 2016, WRV volunteers had completed 880 projects, contributing over 450,000 volunteer hours, valued at over $9.4 million, toward the care and restoration of public lands.