DECEMBER 4, 2014 BY 

At this week’s YVSC monthly community meeting YVSC recognized 7 local heroes who have gone above and beyond for the cause of sustainability and who inspire us to do what we do!

John Spezia, educator, consultant, and outdoor living guru is honored with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless dedication to local resilience. From his work on Vision 2030, multimodal transportation, and affordable housing to his personal commitment to living simply, John is an inspiration to us all.

Bob Keenan, Senior Planner, Building Department the City of Steamboat Springs as our Government Representative.  YVSC recognizes Bob for his dedication to building a sustainable community through Green Building Practices.  Bob was incremental in the startup of YVSC over five years ago, was a key member of the team that developed the Green Building Program, and has been on the City Green Team, since its inception.  He continues to champion Green Building and the education of builders and developers about sustainable building practices.

Kelly and Jason Landers, of Creekside Café, are this year’s recipients of our Sustainable Local Business award for their leadership in the in the fields of local food, zero waste, and philanthropy.  Creekside Café makes every effort to be zero waste.  They consistently use and promote food from local producers and Kelly and Jason are always willing to give their time, energy, and the use of the café for events.

Soda Creek Elementary School was awarded YVSC’s Sustainable Educator for 2014 because of their work in building a school community that values and respects our natural world.  They have an active faculty and student Green Team and an involved parent group to help put plan into action.The staff/parent Green Team provides energy saving tips every month to help them be mindful of their energy use.  From winning the Take Charge Challenge 2 years in a row to spending countless hours making the lunchroom zero waste, the Soda Creek community is an inspiration to our district.

Karen Schulman, citizen leader and founder of the Routt County Litter Solutions Committee since 2007, long time local, and renowned photographer and instructor, is this year’s recipient of our Unsung Hero award because of her long-time dedication to keeping our community clean. From her leadership with the annual Routt County Cleanup to her collaboration with the Sherriff’s department and the Colorado Department of Transportation on the state-wide Adopt A Highway Program, her determination and persistence even in the face of adversity is an inspiration to all that sit on the committee with her.

The Clark Store in North Routt was awarded YVSC’s Outstanding Recycler in 2014 for their Community driven recycling program.   After children at the North Routt Charter School were taught by their teachers to recycle and compost at school, the reality of limited local options to carry that very important message to their homes, inspired a very dedicated group of parents to create a local recycling program.  Specifically, Kelly Subr in cooperation with the management at the Clark Store initiated a self funded program offering community members a drop off recycling location.   Each participant pays a nominal fee to have access to the 2 lockable containers.   To date the program has grown to more than 52 participants with no overflow and very little contamination.  Offering recycling in North Routt has been a longstanding goal of Yampa Valley Recycles.   And due to the dedication and perseverance of a few very driven individuals, that goal has been achieved.

Emilie Rogers, Waste Diversion Director for YVSC was recognized in a unique award given by Mike Zopf, Director of the Environmental Health Department, who, with support of YVSC and YVR, wanted to recognize Emilie for her 7+ years of dedication to Yampa Valley Recycles, her tireless work in bringing recycling to the public through the Green Machines, and her patience and “quiet diligence” in mediating with our local waste haulers.

More on this announcement:


From Left: John Spezia, Michele Miller (Soda Creek Elementary Principal), Emilie Rogers, Karen Schulman, Jason Landers, Kelly Landers, Bob Keenan (Clark Store not Pictured)

Previous year’s awards, visit