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November 8, 2012
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Renowned photographer John Fielder hosts event to benefit Mesa Land Trust

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - When someone buys a lottery ticket, Colorado wins.Twenty years ago voters created Great Outdoors Colorado, and designated a portion of lottery ticket profits to fund GOCO's efforts to protect the state's wildlife, parks, rivers, trails and open spaces. Renowned nature photographer John Fielder, and a GOCO founder, is touring Colorado to commemorate the 20th anniversary with two new books: "The Guide to Colorado's Great Outdoors: Lottery-funded Parks, Trails, Wildlife Areas and Open Spaces," and its companion, "Colorado's Great Outdoors - Celebrating 20 Years of Lottery-funded Lands."Fielder will be in Grand Junction Saturday, Nov. 17, to give a slideshow presentation about GOCO's work using its share of state lottery funds. The Colorado Mesa University Ballroom event is a fundraiser for Mesa Land Trust, a private, nonprofit land conservation organization founded in 1980, by a small group of Palisade-area farmers. Since then, the land trust has preserved more than 63,800 acres, thanks in part to Great Outdoors Colorado."We're the only state in the country that uses lottery profits" to benefit its natural resources, Fielder said. "It's worked out well. Now we've got the best parks and trails in the country."The GOCO board of directors partnered with Fielder to photograph county and city spaces; wildlife habitat; state parks and wildlife areas; local and regional trails; community parks, ball fields and playgrounds; and private ranches across Colorado. "GOCO worked with John on these books as a way to celebrate the projects that land trusts, local governments and the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife have been able to achieve with GOCO/Lottery dollars," GOCO spokesman Chris Leding said. The guidebook features more than 500 public places in all 64 Colorado counties that GOCO has invested in, such as local parks, wildlife areas and trails, Fielder said. In Mesa County, GOCO has awarded $27.8 million for projects.The picture book contains "more dramatic photos," including places not accessible to the public, such as private ranches and orchards, Fielder said. Harry Talbott's Palisade orchard is one of the Mesa County properties featured in the book.Known primarily for his work photographing public lands such as national parks and wilderness areas, Fielder's last two projects have sought to promote the idea of protecting farm lands and open space via conservation easements. Great Outdoors Colorado grant money helps land trusts purchase the development rights on private lands.All ticket proceeds from the weekend events will go to Mesa Land Trust. Fielder will teach a photography class Sunday, Nov. 18, from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. The class will be held at the conserved Horsethief Canyon Ranch near Loma. Cost is $200, which includes brunch.Additionally, 30 percent of all book sale proceeds will be donated to Mesa Land Trust.Fielder's presentation will feature several GOCO investments in Mesa County, said Mary Hughes of Mesa Land Trust."GOCO has enabled much of our conservation work; it will be exciting to see GOCO's local investment in the presentation," she said. Fielder was awarded the Ansel Adams Award in 1993 by the Sierra Club, and, in 2011, he was given the Aldo Leopold Foundation's first Achievement Award to an individual. Tickets are available by calling Mesa Land Trust at 970-263-5443, or visit

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The Post Independent Updated Nov 9, 2012 03:36PM Published Nov 8, 2012 06:13PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.