Summer 2023 Newsletter

Two people measuring diameter of tree.

Summer 2023 Newsletter

Lead. Fires. Floods. Drought.

For hundreds of years, the ancient bristlecone pine trees on the Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area have been writing their autobiographies and painting a picture of how the environment has changed over time.

Regis University Professor John Sakulich, a biogeographer and forest ecologist, has been studying and collecting data from bristlecone pines and working with students to analyze centuries of climate, chemistry and the natural environment of trees living in high altitude conditions.

On the top of a 11,800’ peak, conservationists and community members ranging in age from 11 to 70-years-old joined Sakulich to learn about Dendrochronology. This is the science of dating events, environmental change, and archaeological artifacts by using the characteristic patterns of annual growth rings in timber and tree trunks.

“The oldest tree we’ve discovered in this area is around 1,500 years old. We know the bristlecone pines can live up to 2,500 years,” Sakulich shared with those who attended the “Be A Citizen Scientist Dendrochronology Workshop” with Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT) in Fairplay.

“A tree grows a ring one time a year…light wood is early wood, while darker wood is later wood. The different widths of tree rings differ from year to year. We see wider rings in wetter years and narrower rings during dry years,” he said. Tree rings also have different density and chemistry, which gives scientists insight into the conditions during a point in time. For instance, Sakulich and students have detected lead in tree rings when mining was at its prime. He has also seen dark burn scars on trees that survived a wildfire.

Mountain Area Land Trust Earns National Recognition
Photo of sunflowers with text Celebrating Our Accreditation

Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT) announced it has earned and renewed its land trust accreditation – proving once again that, as part of a network of over 450 accredited land trusts across the nation, it is committed to conservation excellence.

“Renewing our accreditation shows Mountain Area Land Trust’s ongoing commitment to permanent land conservation throughout our six county service area along Colorado’s Front Range,” said Lynn Caligiuri, MALT Executive Director. “We are a stronger organization than ever for having gone through the rigorous accreditation renewal process. Our strength means exceptional places like Mount Tom, Beaver Brook Watershed and Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area will be protected forever. MALT provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded renewed accreditation, signifying its confidence in MALT.” Read more here!

Congratulations to Longtime MALT Volunteer Greg Vallin
Group photo of MALT board members and Brownstein attorney's.

Congratulations to longtime volunteer and former MALT board member Greg Vallin for earning a Pro Bono Lifetime Achievement Award at Brownstein! He was pivotal in helping MALT and partners conserve Beaver Brook Watershed, along with many other properties.

Since 1998, Vallin has worked on 47 conservation easements preserving more than 13,000 acres. He has donated nearly 500 hours in pro bono legal services. We congratulate Vallin for his incredible service and commitment to MALT, and land and water conservation!

Watch a video about Vallin’s service here, which includes historical information about Beaver Brook Watershed. A special thank you to Mel Andrew, Jeanne Beaudry, Dan Pike, Linda Rockwell and the Brownstein team for creating this video.

Volunteers Remove a 1/2 Mile of Barbed Wire at Floyd Hill Meadow
Volunteers pulling weeds and using wheel barrow to haul away weeds.

Thank you to volunteers for helping with the Floyd Hill Meadow Clean Up earlier this month! Volunteers removed a ½ mile of barbed wire and rusted metal fence posts and cleared an estimated 42,000 square feet of noxious weeds and trash! This is a major improvement to Floyd Hill Meadow and keeping it safe for wildlife and neighbors.

History and Conservation Hike at Floyd Hill Open Space

Grab a hiking buddy to learn about the history of Floyd Hill Open Space (FHOS). This area provides unique public access to more than 12,000 acres of open space in an area that was once inaccessible.

  • FHOS (Hwy 40; just west of Homestead Rd and Floyd Hill I-70 exits) | Evergreen
  • Thursday, October 12 | 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • RSVP to
Grateful appreciation to our partners in conservation!
Conservation Title Sponsor

Highlands Wealth Management Group

Rivers Partners

Working Ranches Partners
Historic Lands Partners
Interested in supporting our Conservation work? Become a sponsor!