GOCO awards $150,000 grant to Southeast Colorado collaborative to rent out of doors recreation fellow : The Prowers Journal

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DENVER – Today the Board of Directors of Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) awarded a $150,000 grant to assist Southeast Colorado Enterprise Development (SECED) in hiring an employee to advance its regional recovery plan.

The grant is part of GOCO’s Fellowship program, which funds two-year positions at select organizations for young people from diverse backgrounds to gain conservation, outdoor recreation and stewardship experience while also addressing organizational needs. GOCO and its partners aim to break down barriers to careers in the great outdoors and positively engage young people in the compelling and rewarding benefits of this exciting industry.

The SECED grantee will help identify regional gaps in outdoor recreation services and opportunities, and pursue projects focused on protecting and enhancing recreational resources in the region. The grantee will engage stakeholders at regular monthly meetings to gather input and foster a vibrant community. The grantee will also communicate the value of nature and efforts to create, expand and mentor outdoor projects.

“SECED and the Board welcome the opportunity to partner with GOCO through the grant position to provide access to resources and build capacity to identify outdoor recreation and conservation needs in the region,” said Stephanie Gonzales, SECED Executive Director . “The position is important as it complements the toolbox of services currently in place at SECED designed to provide opportunities to improve the quality of life in Southeast Colorado. The grantee will help foster thriving communities and promote outdoor recreation through outreach, information sharing, and technical assistance. SECED recognizes that the Fellowship position and GOCO as a resource partner are important first steps in making regional community vitality a reality.”

SECED is part of the Southeast Council of Governments, which includes Baca, Bent, Crowley, Otero, Kiowa and Prowers counties. The council hopes to recruit a colleague from the Southeast Colorado region who is interested in the area’s wildlife. SECED is working with two local colleges who will support candidate recruitment and leverage their strong network focused on improving the quality of life in rural communities.

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

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