GOCO awards $150,000 grant to Southeast Colorado collaborative to hire outdoor recreation fellow

DENVER – Today the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) board awarded a $150,000 grant to help Southeast Colorado Enterprise Development (SECED) hire a fellow to advance its regional recreation outreach plan.

The grant is part of GOCO’s Fellowship Program, which funds two-year positions at select organizations for young people of diverse backgrounds to gain experience in the fields of conservation, outdoor recreation, and stewardship, while addressing organizational needs. GOCO and its partners aim to reduce barriers to careers in the outdoors and positively introduce young people to the compelling and rewarding benefits of this exciting line of work.

The SECED fellow will help identify regional gaps in services and opportunities for outdoor recreation, as well as pursue projects that address the protection and enhancement of area recreational assets. The fellow will engage stakeholders at regular monthly meetings to gather input and help foster a vibrant community. The fellow will also communicate the value of the outdoors and efforts to create, grow, and take care of outdoor projects. 

“SECED and the board of directors are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with GOCO, through the fellowship position, to create access to resources and build capacity to help identify the outdoor recreation and conservation needs in the region,” said Stephanie Gonzales, SECED executive director. “The position is important in that it adds to the toolbox of services that currently exist at SECED that are designed to provide opportunities for improving the quality of life in Southeast Colorado. The fellow will assist in promoting vibrant communities and encouraging outdoor recreation through outreach, sharing information and technical assistance. SECED recognizes that the fellowship position, and having GOCO as a resource partner, are essential first steps in making regional community vitality a reality.”

SECED operates as part of the Southeast Council of Governments comprising Baca, Bent, Crowley, Otero, Kiowa, and Prowers counties. The council hopes to recruit a fellow from within the Southeast Colorado region who has an interest in the area’s outdoors. SECED collaborates with two local colleges that will support candidate recruitment and will utilize its strong network focused on improving quality of life for rural communities. 

To date, GOCO has invested more than $4.2 million in projects in Prowers County and partnered to conserve 1,440 acres of land there. GOCO funding has supported the Lamar Loop Trail and the Lamar Sports Complex, among other projects. 

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,600 projects in all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyFeaturedMedia Release


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