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The Jefferson County Hall of Fame, now in its third year, celebrated the contributions of five individuals on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at Pinehurst Country Club. Meteorologist Dave Aguilera of CBS Channel 4 served as emcee. Those inducted were:
- Sylvia Brockner of Evergreen
- Steve Camins of Arvada
- Eldon Laidig of Arvada
- Betty Miller, formerly of Lakewood
- Dan Pike of Evergreen
Sylvia Brockner has been a force in the Evergreen community since 1968, paying particular attention to the birds and plants in this part of the mountain area. She and her husband, Bill, formed the Evergreen Naturalists Audubon Society, now known as Evergreen Audubon and Nature Center. Sylvia was a licensed bird bander for 30 years, helping to map the migration of birds.
She was also a member of the Evergreen Garden Club for 30 years.
In the late 1980s Sylvia turned to Jefferson County Open Space to protect 319 acres known as Lair O’ the Bear Open Space, which opened to the public in 1991.
She was a founding member of the Mountain Area Land Trust in 1993, an organization that has conserved more than 22,000 acres within 50 miles of Evergreen.
When the Lake House was being built in the 1990s, she and others in Evergreen Audubon fought mightily to protect the wetlands, which have become such an integral part of the park, providing habitat for the birds.
Her weekly columns in the Canyon Courier continue to be printed, documenting the birds and plants that make up our natural world in the area. Although now in reruns, she penned more than 2,200 columns with original pen-and-ink illustrations.
In 1974 she published a book entitled Birds in our Evergreen World and at nearly 97 has another book in the works, plucking the best of her newspaper columns over the years.
In accepting the award, Sylvia pointed out there’s nothing that compares to being able to pass by a piece of land that’s been protected from development and knowing it will always be there.
Dan Pike was recognized for his vast impact on the world of conservation not only in Jefferson County but throughout the state. He was the first conservation employee in the state in 1976 when he opened an office for the Nature Conservancy. He helped to draft legislation that enabled use of conservation easements in Colorado, and he wrote the first conservation easement in the state.
He, too, was a founding member of the Mountain Area Land Trust in 1993 and the person behind the scenes who led negotiations and coordinated the transactions in the effort to protect Noble Meadow, an ambitious first public project for any organization. The 408 acres contiguous to Elk Meadow had been slated for 238 homes in 1995. By working with a small group of individuals, MALT convinced Evergreen Park and Rec to purchase its first piece of property, the space that would become home for the ball fields and the Buchanan Rec Center. Some of the land would be permanently protected under a conservation easement but continue to be privately owned. Other acreage would become part of Elk Meadow Open Space Park.
“It was a project in which the community willed it to happen,” he told the group. “At first rejected by the county, the Evergreen community undertook the project by itself. Virtually every civic organization and every elementary school class rallied behind the project. A six-month fundraising campaign was successfully completed in less time. And a Park and Rec bond issue vote to help fund the project yielded a record turn-out and a 96% yes vote.”
Mesmerizing the audience of county officials and community supporters with his passion in speaking about the power of community, Dan continued beyond his allotted four minutes saying, “It was Evergreen that taught me how important community is to people. It was Evergreen that taught me about local power. It was Evergreen that taught me that, if the people lead, the leaders will follow.
“We hear a lot about how the world is flattening and shrinking, and how we live in a global community. But the adage ‘think globally, act locally,’ has never been more relevant. We also hear about ‘too big to fail.’ But if we look at real examples, we see many things that are actually too big to succeed.
“If we’re really going to resolve the issues of the day, we need to conduct business where it still occurs face to face – like with the members of the West Jeff Chamber – where decisions are made based on logic, merit and common sense, and not based on which boxes are checked. We need to make decisions at a level where government still hears its citizens. And we need to act where neighbors can still come together and change their community for the better.
“Our world needs our communities today more than ever. I learned that in Evergreen and Jeffco. “
As president of MALT, Dan also led the effort to conserve the 5000-acre Beaver Brook Watershed considered part of Evergreen but in Clear Creek County.
He has been involved with the conservation of 5,000 acres in Jefferson County and a 250,000 acres throughout the state while working as President of Colorado Open Lands. A number of governors of Colorado have appointed Dan to head statewide conservation-related projects.
Photos of the Hall of Fame honorees are hung on a wall of The West Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the event.
Read more about Sylvia Brockner’s role in the community by clicking here.
Read more about Dan Pike’s contributions to Evergreen by clicking here.