We wish you a happy new year and gratefully welcome 2021! As the saying goes, time flies when you are having fun. If you need proof of that… Saws & Slaws is celebrating its 10th anniversary! Just like any child, we’ve grown a lot in our 10 years. We started with a group of community organizers coming together at first around wildfire and forest health education. The various stakeholder organizations (CCCIA, TEG, Fire Department, etc) found ourselves stumbling over each other planning education events without knowing the other organizations were planning some, too! Once that educational series was done, we wanted to put some of our learnings to work! I would be remiss if I didn’t get full credit to Cesar Gellido for coming up with the idea of doing fire mitigation work “Amish-barn-raising style.” We’d get a whole bunch of volunteers together, do a bunch of work and then celebrate a job well done with a potluck meal together. We tested the concept out with a trial event on Brook Road that went well despite the cold weather!
Since then, we’ve continued to learn a lot about doing effective mitigation work, keeping volunteers safe and engaged and appreciated! Continuous improvement is one of our core values. We have a tradition to include a purposeful opportunity for participants to give feedback during the potluck meals, so we can collaboratively identify opportunities to do things better. Over the 10 years, we continue to learn about good mitigation practices, too. It is hard to believe that the recommendations have changed a bit in that time!
There are many reasons why people volunteer for Saws & Slaws as well as many different ways to volunteer. Regardless of how people came and what they do/did, the sense of community made by the work is a large part of why we are still going as an organization. There are SO many people that have been integral to the success of the program. For many years, we were a subcommittee of The Environmental Group (TEG), and we became a standalone non-profit organization in late 2016. We’ve had wonderful supportive partnerships with Rocky Mountain Resource Protection (otherwise known as “The Erics”) as well as Boulder County. I’m not exagerating when I tell you there are 640 names on the spreadsheet where we keep track of volunteer hours, representing almost 7000 hours of service. (I’m sure we missed tracking some!) Through this organization, we’ve made friends, met neighbors, knocked on doors, and said goodbye to some dear community members. Through some grant funding, this past year we welcomed our first paid employee, Nathaniel Goeckner, for some dedicated attention to take some of the load off the “old” volunteers!
All of that said, we are looking forward to the next 10 years. Nathaniel is actively working on planning our 2021 season and upcoming educational events. We are doing some limited firewood work when weather permits until our regular season starts. If you are interested in keeping your material-handling skills sharp and/or if you are just missing the comraderie, then just reach out and let us know that you’d like to join us. (Participation is currently restricted so we can limit the spread of COVID too!)
Please feel free to contact us on our Facebook page or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in participating in any capacity. This is important work, and we have something for everyone. If you are interested, we’d love to have you be part of it. Thank you for 10 wonderful years!