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Summer 2024 Newsletter

Executive Director Update

Just as a decade marks a significant period for reflection in a person's life, it also serves as a milestone for an organization. Celebrating 60 years of support for the Colorado National Monument Association, we reflect on the tremendous impact we've made as a park partner. Our contributions have been substantial, including providing over $70,000 in direct monetary aid last year alone. Additionally, we support the park's outstanding efforts, such as:

  • Welcoming nearly 500,000 visitors annually
  • Hosting over 2,000 local school children on educational field trips each year
  • Protecting over 900 species
  • Training more than 3,000 Junior Rangers annually
  • Safeguarding 20,500 acres of incredible landscape
  • Helping to launch the first-ever National Park Service Resiliency Ranger
  • And so much more!

We've been enjoying our 60th anniversary celebrations and eagerly anticipate what's ahead. Here are some highlights so far:

  • A free concert at Hot Tomato
  • The Ramblebine Brewing Co. Release Party with special member gifts
  • A full spring of diverse, free programs, including our first ever, Spanish-language program and the "Then & Now" display featuring photos commemorating our 60th anniversary
  • A generous donation of over $20,000 from the Grand Junction Women’s Giving Club

Looking forward, we are excited to celebrate the completion of the Saddlehorn Amphitheater and Trail Project on August 2nd with an incredible concert. Tickets are available now, and in mid-July, we will release tickets for our fundraising event, "A Monumental Celebration," an event not to be missed. Following this, our 8th Annual Plein Air Art Invitational promises to be another remarkable event, showcasing artwork of our beloved local public lands.

It's a busy year, and we look forward to seeing you at our events and out in the community. Thank you for all your support of our backyard national park!

With Gratitude,

Johanna van Waveren

Help us raise $60K in our 60th Year

National Park Service News

3,000 Meaningful Connections

School Programs Insights

by: Nicholas Scarborough

Education Technician,

Colorado National Monument

The 2023-2024 school year has ended, and it was a time for flexibility, teamwork, and trying new things! Thanks to incredible Volunteers-in-Parks (VIPs); partner organizations like Colorado Canyons Association, Riverside Education Centers, and Colorado National Monument Association; and assistance from teachers and chaperones, we were able to serve 3,000 education contacts this school year while keeping adult to student ratios less than 1:15 – with an average of 1 adult to 10 students. Small group sizes like these make learning more individualized, personal, and more rewarding for both the learner and educator.  

If you haven’t come to a school program in the last couple of years, it might look very different from what you’d expect. Often, teachers request to bring the entire grade of students from their school at one time, in order to minimize per-student bus costs and minimize disruptions to the curriculum calendar in the classroom. A typical field trip here has 60 to 80 students at one time for up to four hours. I don’t know about you, but I would NOT want to hike with that many people together on a single trail, no matter their age – not to mention the impact on Wilderness values. 

We design experiences that address topics through different types of activities, with the understanding that relationships and enjoyment affect learning and memory. VIPs and partners help lead activity stations that range from drawing and coloring to guided exploration to hiking to story time to playing group games. The order of the stations fluctuates so that students are not kept at a high energy for the entirety of the field trip. Having slower and more reflective activities between more high-exertion activities helps learners not become exhausted, bored, overstimulated, or under stimulated – ways that preclude many “behavioral issues” that are really just the result of energy dysregulation. 

If you ask whether this field trip structure is effective in practice, I’d refer to the feedback we receive from teachers and learners alike (I could also refer to the research in experiential education and memory – let me know if you’re interested!). Here are some letter samples we received from a class of Fruita third grade students this year: 

  • “Hey I got to say THANK YOU that was a pretty fun activity. I mean a spider crawling on me that is just a bonus! You are a good teacher! We are off to a good start, thank you soooo much.” (To be clear, we do not put spiders on students nor can we control spiders’ behaviors.) 

  • “Thank you for teaching us the FUN game. By the way I LOVE cactus.” (We also don’t control the cacti.) 

  • “Thank you for teaching us a new game. And for being nice. Also thank you for giving us a good time. I wish I can go again. See you next time.” 

  • “I want to write to all the rangers because I couldn’t choose! I loved all of them! I hope you liked it as much as I did. Thank you!” 

What I read from these and many other letters from students is the sense of a positive experience in a national park, where students connected not only with each other and the landscape but also with the rangers. That’s been my goal as the school programs coordinator for the monument. I think most of us need more positive interactions and meaningful connections, especially young people still developing their sense of identity and worldview. Fostering these positive attitudes and memories of national parks and park rangers will lead to interest in continued learning and experiences in the outdoors and on public lands, potentially leading to increased conservation values and support for the National Park Service as a whole. At a personal level, positive connections with nature and other people also lead to better mental and physical health. This is one positive feedback loop that I’m grateful to be part of. 

Colorado National Monument Association has helped with these efforts by facilitating grant funding for us to hire educator positions and grant-specific educational opportunities, not to mention the transportation assistance for schools to receive funding that covers bus costs associated with their field trips to the monument. Many thanks to CNMA and to you as a CNMA member for your continued support of this work! If you’d like to be more involved in school programs or are curious about what else you can do to support our local students and schoolteachers, feel free to reach out to me directly at

Resiliency at Colorado National Monument

An Innovative Program Begins

by: Amber Martin

Resiliency Ranger,

Colorado National Monument

What comes to mind when thinking about nature? Is it the quiet or calm, is it humbling to feel so small gazing upon these grand vistas and viewsheds? What about peace?

For many military veterans, at risk youth, and diverse groups, peace is something they are searching for, and the outdoor setting of the Colorado National Monument is the perfect place to find it. A sense of belonging in the natural setting goes a long way to comforting the spirit and calming the mind.

There is a reason why this place is referred to as the ‘Heart of the World’ by so many. 

My name is Amber, and I am excited to be the first Resiliency Ranger for the Colorado National Monument. My job will encompass working with these diverse groups, community partners, and suicide prevention efforts, as well as educating participants to the natural setting of place and home for so many of our incredible visitors.

Whole health, mindfulness, and resiliency will be at the heart of this program, and I am committed to changing people’s perspectives through the healing element of the great outdoors.


The Colorado National Monument Resiliency Ranger program is the first of its kind. This would not be possible without funding from the Mesa County Workforce Center and the Western Colorado Community Foundation. Colorado National Monument Association thanks them heartily for their support. If you are interested in helping this program continue into 2025, please reach out to

Meet Our Newest Staff Members

Please join us in welcoming three new staff to our team!

Shalana Battles

Development Coordinator

Shalana joined the Colorado National Monument Association in May 2024, driven by her passion for storytelling and relationship-building.

With a background in Journalism (BS) and Cultural Anthropology (MA), she supports the preservation of the landscape. Previously, she worked as a Development Coordinator for an animal shelter and is an avid animal lover with a home full of rescued animals.

Shalana enjoys outdoor activities with her family, such as trail rides, camping, and fishing, and also spends time writing and editing books for indie authors.

Justin Beemer

Sales Associate

Justin is a Junior at Colorado Mesa University, joined the Colorado National Monument Association in June 2024.

He is studying Business Management with a focus on Marketing and Outdoor Recreation.

Passionate about outdoor activities like snowboarding, rock climbing, and mountain biking, he enjoys meeting people from around the world and supporting protected and public lands.

Morgan Sweet

Program Coordinator

Morgan joined the Colorado National Monument Association in June 2024, bringing a love for the monument's geology and biodiversity.

She aims to connect the community with the outdoors through authentic experiences.

Morgan feels fortunate to have the Grand Valley as her backyard and the monument as a source of inspiration to connect others with nature.

Learn more about them at our website, Meet Our Staff.

Business Supporters

Business Member Spotlight

by: Crystal Tyndall

Membership and Outreach Coordinator

Colorado National Monument Association

We are excited to shine the spotlight on one of our long-time business members!

Meet Sorter Construction, a locally owned, 3rd generation, company founded in 1953. Their patriotic ethos "We Dig America" rings true in more ways than just dirt. They provide a service to those in need, be it small or large.

Sorter Construction is particularly proud to support education efforts offered within Colorado National Monument for both youth and adults alike. And noted, 'Colorado National Monument is a jewel in our community. It's our price and support to be a Colorado National Monument Association member.'

We are so thankful to Sorter Construction for their continued support of Colorado National Monument Association!

Community News

Glade Park Community Service Celebrates 50th Anniversary

In this year of prodigious anniversaries, Glade Park Community Services, Inc. (GPCS)--the organization representing and providing services to the Glade Park community--is celebrating our 50th! Sharing a boundary for many years with the Colorado National Monument, GPCS is very excited to celebrate our half-century of existence alongside the 60th anniversary celebration of the Colorado National Monument Association (CNMA).

The Pipeline School building was offered to the Glade Park community by the Piñon Mesa Stockmen in 1973. The community came together to purchase property adjacent to the existing building, move the building, and incorporate with the aim that the old school would be maintained and utilized as a place for public use and enjoyment by Glade Park residents. The deed changed hands in December of that year, and the first meeting establishing a GPCS board of directors was on January 12, 1974.

Since then, GPCS has maintained and improved the building and secured its placement on the National and Colorado State Registers of Historic Sites. Countless events and fundraisers over the past 50 years have kept the community close: rodeos, poker rides, dances, 4H, Boy Scouts, church services, pasta potlucks, chili cookoffs, craft fairs, pancake breakfasts, cemetery and road clean ups, aerobics, Tai Chi, craft and quilting groups, game days, and many private celebrations and memorials.

To celebrate, GPCS is planning our 50th anniversary day for Saturday, July 27th to include activities from our past events. We are searching for historical information and images to share throughout the year in our quarterly newsletters as well as monthly postings and pictures on several Glade Park-related Facebook pages.

We appreciate the CNMA’s pride and anticipation in sharing your 60th anniversary with the surrounding community. It represents a cooperative dedication of spirit and energy, planning, hard work, and joy. Congratulations, neighbor!

Saddlehorn Amphitheater

Tickets On Sale for Saddlehorn Concert

The Colorado National Monument Association proudly celebrates the completed renovation of the Saddlehorn Amphitheater on Friday, August 2nd!

Get Your Tickets Here!

Join us for an unforgettable concert event with live music by Jeneve Rose Mitchell, a multi-instrumentalist and top 14 finalist from American Idol's farewell season. Learn more about Jeneve here.

Saddlehorn Memory shared by Larry Peterson

After serving as a seasonal ranger in Yosemite, I applied for the position of permanent ranger. During finals my senior year of college I was assigned to Colorado National Monument (COLM). After a short stint there I spent almost four years in the USAF during Vietnam. I retired to COLM in 1972 with my wife Kathleen and we lived, at different times, in both of the Mission 66 houses at the East Entrance.

As primarily a certified law enforcement ranger, Summer Sundays were my favorite. After handling the public around Devil's Kitchen, I would man and then close the visitor center. Then I gave the campfire program at the old amphitheater, including starting a real campfire. This was well before the vandalism of the fire pit. As I recall, my presentation was on the hot topic at the time of ecology.

I am certainly pleased to see the completion of the new amphitheater!


Have a memory of Saddlehorn Amphitheater you'd like to share? Please contact us.

2024 COLM Limited Edition Bike Jersey

The 2024 COLM bike Jerseys are available for purchase at the visitor center or through the link below.

Thank you to our generous sponsors: Loki, The Hot Tomato, and Brown Cycles.

Buy Your 2024 COLM Bike Jersey Here

Programs Recap

The 2024 Spring/Summer season of Walks and Talks started out with our annual Bighorn Sheep hike. The sheep and their babies showed up for photo opportunities and provided opportunities to learn from our gracious and knowledgeable guides, Don and Paula.


We also hosted our 1st Spanish speaking presentation with Beverly from the Masonry Crew who shared their expertise of rock work in Colorado National Monument.


Our geology hikes through Upper Monument Canyon provided the perfect outdoor classroom for participants to experience geologic time while guided through the rock layers by Don and Roger, our resident geologists.


The Monument on Tap series moved to Copper Club Brewing in Fruita. Presenters from CMU and Mesa County Libraries shared their knowledge on the outdoor stage. Thank you to Cassie, Ike, and Denita for your time.


Densie shared her love of art with both kid and adult events offering an opportunity to take in the beauty of the monument and transfer it to artwork. We love Denise’s passion for art and appreciate her time and knowledge.

To celebrate the 113th anniversary of Colorado National Monument on May 24th, Terri Ahern presented a "Then & Now" exhibit at the Saddlehorn Visitor Center. She showcased the exhibit again at Grand Valley Books in Grand Junction in June, sharing a walk through time with photos of the monument from the 1930s to the present day.


We added our 1st New Member Social hike with Crystal as an opportunity to meet other Colorado National Monument Association members.


In June we held a mindfulness session with a meditation and yoga class by instructors Bryan and Elizabeth. There is nothing like doing yoga outdoors with the monument as your backdrop.


We appreciate all our volunteers for sharing their knowledge and passion. These programs would not be possible without you. 


This was my last season of planning events with Colorado National Monument Association. It has been so much fun planning events for our members and connecting people with our beautiful monument and organization. I look forward to seeing you on the trails and future events at the monument. 

Thank you,

Karen Mahoney

Program Coordinator

Colorado National Monument Park Passes

Do you feel like you can benefit from an annual pass to Colorado National Monument? 

If you haven't been able to visit our beautiful local National Park often, or at all, due to entrance fees, we want to help!

Colorado National Monument Association (CNMA) wants to help provide access for all into Colorado National Monument and will give free annual passes to those who want to visit and enjoy these lovely red rock canyons.

If you are interested, please email or give us a call at (970)858-3617 ext.307.

Thanks so much to our sponsors for the 60th Anniversary Fundraiser:

-Kinder Morgan- Title Sponsor

-Alpine Bank

-Monument Vista Place (MVP)

-Hillbilly Catering


-High Country Beverage

-Christi Reece Group

-Shaw Construction

-Fiddlesticks Florals

-City of Fruita

-Balanced Rock Inn

-Hays Home Group

-Rosecap Financial

-GJ Sentinel

-Christine Tubbs

-Ginger Mitchell

-Touch and Phally Vat

-Buck Creek Farm LTD

And thanks for our other organization supporters:

-Rotary Club of Grand Junction

-Rotary Club of Fruita

-Western Colorado Community Foundation

-National Park Trust

-Ramblebine Brewing Company

-Wild Tribute

-Hot Tomato


-Network’s Unlimited

-Sorter Construction

-Enstrom Candies

-Red Bike Counseling

-Brown Cycles

-Women’s Giving Club

-The Trophy Case

We are so grateful for your support!

If you are interested in learning more about business sponsorships, please contact

Parting Shot: Aurora borealis over Colorado National Monument captured by Casey Smith

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