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Nature Johnston, Reverend of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity presents Sustainability Council’s Zack Kelley, Zack Schuler and Becca Martinez with a monetary award.

Sustainability Council recognized by local church

The Colorado Mesa University Sustainability Council’s efforts to foster responsible environmental practices recently garnered recognition from the Grand Junction community. The Church of the Nativity awarded the council their inaugural Environmental Excellence award at the Western Colorado Congress-sponsored MountainFilm on Tour, held at the Avalon Theatre on Nov. 7.

Rev. Nature Johnston, pastor of the Redlands-based church, voiced support for the student organization and their goals. “The world is sacred. God loves the world as much as he loves us. A lot of people don’t really get that.”

Johnston said the church was interested in supporting environmental stewardship in the community after hearing about “bike blessings” at other churches. Nativity, with a congregation of about 100 people, is very environmentally conscious. The church houses a herd of deer and owl houses on its property and does a monthly blessing of pets and animals. Eventually Johnston was connected with the student-run Sustainability Council.

The decision to award the council was made after Johnston met with Sustainability Council President Zack Kelley, in which he outlined the organization’s recent initiatives. The church’s award of $500 was well received.

The organization plans to donate $100 to the Grand Valley Trails Alliance, to put toward a restoration project on Kurt’s Lane, a popular trail at the Tabeguache trailhead.

The remaining $400 will be used to send Sustainability Council students to Denver in April, to attend the Power Dialog, a Bard College initiative to connect students around the country with legislators in an open discussion about ways to implement the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent Clean Power Plan. The plan aligns with a recent promise from U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030.

“Hopefully [the students who attend] are going to inspire others,” Johnston said.

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Dana Nunn, Director of Media Relations

dnunn@coloradomesa.edu

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