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CMU Foundation announces Bishop Habitat Partnership Fund

The CMU president's lobby was filled on Wednesday, November 13, as western Colorado community leaders migrated to campus celebrating the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Waterfowl Stamp Program and the legacy of former Colorado Senator Tilman Bishop.

In addition to unveiling Colorado’s only complete waterfowl stamp art collection, CMU President Tim Foster announced the CMU Foundation created the Bishop Habitat Partnership Fund. The fund will be used to create conservation partnerships in the future by leveraging fund contributions to assist partners like those represented at the event.

“Ducks Unlimited joined us as one of North America’s largest conservation organizations,” said Foster. “The attendance of their members alongside Colorado Parks and Wildlife and local conservation groups reflected the appreciation we all share for habitat conservation, and for the late Senator Tilman Bishop whose legacy had a huge impact on conservation efforts.”

The event was planned after Pat Bishop, the wife of Tilman Bishop, announced CMU would exhibit her late husband’s collection of waterfowl stamp art – the only one of its kind in Colorado.  

“Ducks Unlimited works with Colorado Parks and Wildlife on a lot of local and state-wide projects, and getting everyone in one room to celebrate our similar conservation goals is great,” said Chair of the Grand Valley Chapter of Ducks Unlimited Raven Finegan. “This art collection is a huge symbol of conservation efforts in Colorado that have national implications.”


Colorado Parks and Wildlife professionals attended the event including active and retired leaders and the agency’s Wetlands Program Coordinator Brian Sullivan. Sullivan spoke on behalf of the agency revealing details about the stamp program and highlighting the agency’s history with the program and its work.

“This event last week signified a milestone in conservation and signified conservation success since 1990 in relation to the Waterfowl Stamp Program,” said Sullivan. “We can’t accomplish wetlands conservation for waterfowl and other wildlife on our own, so having these funds allows our agency to attract partnerships to really scale up our work.”

Another local partner who spoke alongside Ducks Unlimited during the event was Western Colorado Conservation Corp. (WCCC). WCCC Associate Director Mathew Jennings described how partners like Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Ducks Unlimited help garner the resources for his organization to do the difficult ground work necessary for creating new habitat and protecting existing habitat. The organization employs youth to clear invasive species and plant the native vegetation necessary for sustaining habitat necessary for waterfowl and other species who share the same ecosystems.

During the dedication Jennings expressed hope that the new fund at CMU can in the future be a catalyst for prompting additional projects for his team in western Colorado.

Pat Bishop listened to the program and joined President Foster cutting a celebratory cake with the image of the 2019 award-winning stamp artwork. She affirmed that her late husband would have been pleased at the support received during the dedication.

Colorado Senator Tillman Bishop was among those who implemented legislation establishing the Waterfowl Stamp Program in 1990. Proceeds from the program fund conservation for ducks, geese and other waterfowl and wildlife whose habitats include Colorado wetlands. Money generated from stamp art and stamp sales come from an annual waterfowl art contest. The winner’s waterfowl painting is then used for the annual postage stamp. In conjunction with the stamp, the artist’s work is printed as wall art. This wall art comprises the collection received by CMU which goes back more than three decades.

The CEO of the CMU Foundation Liz Meyer encourages anyone interested in supporting CMU’s new efforts in habitat conservation to contact the foundation and learn more about the Bishop Habitat Conservation Fund.

The Waterfowl Stamp Program is part of the larger Colorado Parks and Wildlife wetlands conservation effort. Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Wetlands Program seeks to conserve wetlands through voluntary, incentive-based, means. 

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Written by David Ludlam