Alpine Achievers Serve Over 1,000 SLV Students

Here at RiGHT, we know that partnerships are what make so many worthwhile projects possible. Through the San Luis Valley Conservation and Connection Initiative (SLV CCI), we’re able to support groups like the Alpine Achievers Initiative (AAI) and their Backyard to Backcountry Program (B2B).  

The B2B program supports community-based youth engagement programs and environmental education programs, seeking to increase the capacity of existing environmental education programs and develop programming in areas where there is none available. During the 2016-2017 school year, AAI provided services to over 1,000 students via the 16 schools they currently serve and they are now reaching out to all SLV schools to offer B2B programs. See for more information.  

RiGHT is very grateful to be able to help support such important youth programs, and hopefully inspire the next generation of stewards for the land, water and resources of the Valley.

A core idea behind B2B programs is to help overcome barriers, such transportation, financial and time, that families identified as preventing them from getting outside. The program provides transportation to and from all B2B programs to ensure all youth are able to participate. In addition, by providing programs during the school day or through existing out of school programs there are no additional burdens on families to modify their schedules to get kids to programs.

AAI began in 2013 to meet the needs of under-served youth in Saguache County and has since grown to serve many other areas of the San Luis Valley (SLV). AAI's goal is to support what is best for ALL SLV youth and that cannot happen in isolation. They place a strong emphasis on partnerships, especially here where many groups operate with limited resources.  

“Collaborating makes us all stronger and more sustainable,” said Megan Straus, Executive Director.   

They are working with many other SLV organizations to enhance their existing environmental education programs, during the school day, after school, on weekends, alternative breaks and in the summer. AAI partners with at least 20 organizations in the SLV, ranging from school districts to Adams State University, the Conservation Districts, other youth programs, and many more.

Their B2B programs are designed to provide age appropriate programming that progress in complexity as youth move through grades K to 12. The two core results AAI seeks to achieve through their B2B Programs are:  

  1. To provide B2B programs to at least 1,000 kids in grades K-12 at least two times during the school year

  2. For kids that participate in over 6 days’ worth of B2B programs, to show an increase in Positive Youth Development factors, an intentional, pro-social approach that engages youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that is productive and constructive; recognizes, utilizes, and enhances youths’ strengths; and promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.

RiGHT’s partnership with the LOR Foundation, Colorado Open Lands and Western Rivers Conservancy allows RiGHT to support these and many other great efforts in conservation, restoration, education and more across the San Luis Valley.  


2017 Cathy McNeil Conservation Intern

Hello! My name is Emilee Rowe and I am the 2017 Cathy McNeil Conservation Intern! I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico but I have spent a lot of my childhood visiting my family fishing cabin in the South Fork area. I am currently a Junior at the University of Oklahoma studying advertising and the impressive record of our football team. I have a love for writing and being creative, which has lead me to the creative world of advertising. On campus at OU, I am apart of the student-run advertising agency, Lindsey + Asp, which has allowed me to develop my passion for creative advertising even further. Outside the classroom side of life, I am addicted to running, playing golf and all things sports. There isn’t a game I wouldn’t love watching.

I grew up coming to the San Luis valley to learn to ski and fish in this beautiful scenery. My dad, a Monte Vista native, brought my family to the valley as often as he could, and I’m sure glad he did. From my early stages, I became obsessed with the endless skylines of mountains and the breathtaking mix of water in those mountains. Growing up in Albuquerque, I was surrounded by mountains, but none quite like San Juans or the Sangre de Cristos.

Which is why I am back this summer. I don’t quite get my mountain fix going to school in Oklahoma, so I went after them for this summer. Although I am not well versed in the world of land trusts or an expert on all things pertaining to the environment, I am very excited to learn more than any other advertising major would. I believe there is no information that is bad information so I want to learn as much as I can while I am here.

I look forward to being fully embraced in the valley lifestyle while learning about things that can really make a difference in people’s lives. Doing something impactful has been instilled in me very early on. My mom helped start a nonprofit in my hometown and brother spent many years working for a nonprofit in Utah. These people have shown me how important it is to do work that really matters, and I find work that matters in RiGHT. I am very excited to be apart of this change for a summer and I hope it leads me to meeting you along the way!

2017 RiGHT Wildflower Tour

This event was a huge success! You can see photos from the day by clicking here or going to our Facebook page.


Come join us for a morning of exploring the wildflower culture of the San Luis Valley! Happening July 15th from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the conserved Soward Ranch near Creede.

The tour will cover basics of wildflower identification as well as give people experienced in identification access to a special area. The tour will be led by wildflower expert and author of Flora of the San Juans, Sue Komarek. This year’s tour will also include special activities for kids! There is no cost to attend the tour and it is sure to be a fun event.

Space is limited, so please call to register today: 719-657-0800 or email

How to Plan Your Conservation Legacy

Thank you for your interest in supporting the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT). Estate planning is a very important step and your decision to leave charitable bequests should be made carefully. A charitable bequest through your will or revocable trust today can help support RiGHT tomorrow. Whether you are a concerned farmer or rancher or just dedicated to conserving land in the San Luis Valley, RiGHT hopes that you will keep us in mind while planning for your estate.

The San Luis Valley is known for its outstanding agricultural production, beautiful views, its wildlife and the water resources that support all of that. From our farming and ranching economy, our recreational resources along the river, and the beauty of the Sandhill Cranes, our heritage and way of life all ties back to the land. When the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) started in 1999, we made a promise to protect the special places in the Valley…forever, for the next generation and generations to come. We are the only local land trust in the Valley that serves the whole Valley. So please join our Headwaters Legacy Circle to make a lasting gift today so we can protect these lands, into the future.      

Reasons to include a charitable bequest and benefits to you:

·       It is not payable until death, so it does not affect your assets or cash flow during your life time;

·       it is revocable, meaning you can change the provisions in your will or trust at any time;

·       it is private since your will or trust is not made public until your death;

·       it is fully deductible for federal estate tax purposes, and there is no limit on the deduction your estate can claim. In addition, the gift is usually exempt from state inheritance taxes.  This may provide estate tax savings or avoid tax burdens for your heirs; and,

·       you leave a lasting legacy for the San Luis Valley and become a member of RiGHT’s Headwaters Legacy Circle 

Types of Assets 

You may also choose to name RiGHT as the beneficiary of a variety of assets, including:

·       insurance policies;

·       retirement funds (IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s;

·       pension or profit-sharing plans); and,

·        financial accounts (bank accounts, CDs, savings bonds, brokerage accounts, stock portfolios).

Because many of these assets may be subject to income and estate taxes when left to heirs, leaving them to RiGHT can be a low-cost, simple and tax- efficient way to support Conserving Our Land, Water and Way of Life in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

Types of Bequests

If you choose to include RiGHT in your will or trust, there are several ways to control how your estate is distributed:

·       Specific Bequest: A description of what you want to leave to RiGHT, whether that is a specific dollar amount or a particular asset. Beware of disposing of the asset prior to your death, which will result in an unfulfilled bequest.

·       Residuary Bequest: Leaving all or a percentage of what’s left in your estate after specific bequests, debts, expenses and taxes have been paid.

·       Codicil or Amendment: A codicil is prepared by your attorney to modify, explain, change or otherwise qualify terms in your will. If you have a revocable living trust, your attorney can prepare an amendment for you that will serve the same function.

Types of Beneficiary Designations

·       Primary Beneficiary: You may name the RiGHT as the primary beneficiary of a percentage or specific amount of your plan or policy.

·       Contingent/Secondary Beneficiary: You may name RiGHT as a contingent beneficiary of all or a portion of your plan or policy. For example, you may name family members or friends as the primary beneficiaries, and then name RiGHT to receive assets if the named individuals do not survive you.


Sample Bequest Language

Specific Bequest – Unrestricted Use

I give, devise and bequeath to the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust ("RiGHT"), a nonprofit corporation under Colorado law with its principal business address of P.O. Box 444, Del Norte, CO81132, Tax Identification Number 84-1495770, [the sum of (_______________ AND XX/100 DOLLARS $_______________)] to be used to further RiGHT's charitable mission as RiGHT's Board of Directors in its sole discretion may deem appropriate.

Sample Real Property Bequest Language

I give, devise and bequeath to the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust, (“RiGHT”) a nonprofit corporation under Colorado law with its principal business address of P.O. Box 444, Del Norte, CO81132, Tax Identification Number 84-1495770, the real property located in _________ County, [State], which consists of approximately _____ acres and is more particularly described on Exhibit __ attached hereto together with all water rights and mineral rights appurtenant thereto, also known as [insert physical address] (the "Property"), subject to any reservations, easements, rights of way of record, including without limitation any conservation easements encumbering the Property during my lifetime.

Restricted versus Unrestricted Gifts

At RiGHT all unrestricted charitable gifts are used at the discretion of RiGHT’s Board of Directors to strategically support top conservation priorities. If you have a more specific purpose in mind, please contact us at (719) 657-0800.  If you make a restricted gift and if at any time in the judgement of the Board of Directors of RiGHT it is impractical or impossible to carry out this purpose, then the Board of Directors may use this bequest for other purposes that will be determined by the Board to be consistent with your interests and intentions.

 Let Us Know Your Plans

If you have already included RiGHT in your estate plans, please let us know by contacting us at (719) 657-0800.  We would like to thank you and acknowledge you for your generous commitment.


We look forward to sitting down with you and discussing your many options with estate planning. As beneficiary of any gift we would like to meet with you to document your future wishes for the gift, to discuss any requests you may have related to privacy and your giving, and to appropriately thank you for your generous support.  Your support will help us preserve our land and water for future generations to enjoy. 

If you would like to set up a meeting or if you have any questions please contact Nancy Butler, Executive Director at 719-657-0800 or

Thank You - The Headwaters Legacy Circle

 The Headwaters Legacy Circle is our way to say thank you. It acknowledges your planned gift and commitment to RiGHT.

Thank you again for your interest in RiGHT!


Caveat, the staff at the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust are not financial advisors or accountants.  We highly encourage you to meet with your advisors including attorneys, financial planners, and accountants.