CMC’s 50th anniversary road show comes to Spring Valley |

CMC’s 50th anniversary road show comes to Spring Valley

In the mid-1960s Jim and Sharon Nieslanik were among the land owners who donated the now-800 acres for Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley. Jim — affectionately known as “Uncle Jimmy” — and Sharon have donated a pig for a pig roast, as part of the free lunch, 50th program and carnival on April 28 to celebrate Colorado Mountain College’s 50th anniversary.
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Colorado Mountain College’s 50th anniversary celebration comes to the Spring Valley campus outside Glenwood Springs this week with two events, including a community pig roast and carnival on Friday.

First up will be a showcase of CMC’s sustainability studies program with the Thursday conference, “Growing Our Own Future: Grassroots Community Development Through Sustainability Education,” from 12:30-6:30 p.m. in the New Space Theatre at Spring Valley.

CMC offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in sustainability studies, including sustainable agriculture, ecology and natural resource management, sustainable business and ethics, and social responsibility.

This is the fourth year for the sustainability conference. This year, several local “green teams” will feature some of the success stories for students and graduates, according to Adrian Fielder, assistant dean of instruction for Spring Valley, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.

“We want people who hear about our sustainability degree to know that there are a lot of fields our graduates can go into, whether they’re just starting a career or want some retraining for a different direction,” Fielder said.

The conference will help the college implement its sustainability action plan, developed last year by Hunter Lovins, president of Natural Capitalism Solutions, a nonprofit organization in Longmont, and co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute.

“They audited all our operations and offered recommendations on how we could minimize our carbon footprint and become more sustainable across a range of priorities,” Fielder said. “This year, we asked all our conference presenters to read the draft plan and present their thoughts on how we can connect the plan to better reach our communities.”

Keynote speaker Brook LeVan, co-founder of Sustainable Settings in Carbondale, will also moderate a panel discussion inviting community experts and college officials to talk about the plan.

Alyssa Reindel, co-founder of EverGreen Zero Waste, and CMC sustainability students Julia Farwell and Ellie Langford will also present on the college’s waste diversion plan.

The day concludes with a free dinner for all attendees featuring locally sourced, sustainably grown food. The conference is free and open to the public, though registration is required in advance by calling 970-947-8246 or via

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CMC invites the public to join students, faculty, alumni and college founders for the annual Uncle Jimmy’s Pig Roast and Carnival starting at 10 a.m. Friday at the Spring Valley campus.

Spring Valley, located up Garfield County Road 114 southeast of Glenwood Springs, is one of CMC’s two original campuses. There will be a free program about the college’s history in the gymnasium at the Summit Student Center, followed by a pig roast luncheon and carnival.

“We are all here at CMC, educating students, because of our community members,” said Heather Exby, vice president and campus dean for Spring Valley, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale.

David Delaplane, known as the father of CMC, is expected to attend. A morning ceremony will honor and recognize alums, supporters, founders and honorary chairs. Among them will be Alpine Bank founder and Chairman Bob Young, philanthropists Jim and Connie Calaway and Jane Larsen, in honor of her parents Paul and Virginia Lappala, and the family’s donation of land for the Lappala Center in Carbondale.

Jim “Uncle Jimmy” Nieslanik’s family and CMC have been connected since the college’s start. Along with the Quigleys and other Spring Valley ranchers and land owners, in 1966 the Nieslanik family donated land for the Spring Valley campus.

Nieslanik’s connection with the Spring Valley campus continued in 2012 when his niece, Mary McPhee, then general manager for Sodexo’s dining services at the campus, suggested to her uncle that he pick up the edible compost from the cafeteria to feed his hogs. To show his gratitude, every year he donates a hog for a pig roast for CMC students, faculty and staff.

During the afternoon, there will be a carnival for the kids and adults alike, including an obstacle course, adult-sized tricycles, face painting and more.

The Spring Valley campus is located at 3000 County Road 114. Visit or call 970-945-7481 for more information and to RSVP for the pig roast.

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