CMC’s virtual sustainability conference scheduled for Friday in conjunction with Earth Day weekend |

CMC’s virtual sustainability conference scheduled for Friday in conjunction with Earth Day weekend

College to feature Beatriz Soto, student sustainability work

Beatriz Soto, former candidate for Garfield County commissioner.
Sierra Jeter photo

Colorado Mountain College’s sustainability studies program is set to host its seventh sustainability and ecosystem science conference from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on Friday, a day before Earth Day.

“Climate Justice and Nature in Colorado” will be accessible by Zoom throughout CMC’s nine-county district and will be followed by in-person events at CMC Breckenridge, Vail Valley at Edwards, Steamboat Springs, and Spring Valley. The conference is free, and the public is welcome to register and attend, according to a news release.

Beatriz Soto, director of Conservation Colorado’s Protogéte program, will offer the conference’s keynote address. A Roaring Fork Valley architect and former Garfield County commissioner candidate, she will be discussing a study conducted on the growing Latino community and the very tangible issues of climate justice, such as air pollution and access to clean water in mobile home parks, the release states.

“I’ll be talking about why diversity is so important in climate policy and leadership, and how Latinos can help us meet our climate goals,” she said. “CMC’s unique program has been helpful in inspiring youth to join the community and consider careers in sustainability. And it helps the next generation see the intersection of race, nature, migration, and other environmental issues. I see a lot of hope for the future.”

Kevin Hillmer-Pegram, professor of sustainability studies at CMC, said this year’s conference will be a chance for 18 of the program’s graduates to share their capstone projects on subjects including eco-resilience, ecosystem management and species reintroduction. The presentations will take place in online breakout rooms.

“We started our program 10 years ago to try to help students go out and find a balance between conservation and ecological justice especially on the Western Slope,” he said. “They’ve done some great, original research that’s at the nexus of social and environmental science.”

CMC President Carrie Besnette Hauser will also address the conference about the college’s educational and operational visions regarding climate justice.

Post-conference activities include an Earth Day road cleanup at CMC Spring Valley, in-person presentations and a reception at CMC Steamboat Springs, a community panel at CMC Vail Valley and films, food and presentations at CMC Summit; all free and open to the public.

For more information about all the on-campus activities and to register for the virtual conference, visit

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