(1950 - )
Cathy was born and raised in Spokane, Washington, and lived in the Seattle area prior to moving to Evergreen in 1996 with her husband, Jim.
The couple met working for Pacific USWest Bell; and, in 1996, the telecommunications industry transferred Jim to the Denver area where they thought they would reside for about 5 years. By retirement they were both deeply engaged in the community.
In 1998, along with Sylvia Robertson, Cathy co-founded the Community Weed Awareness Campaign (CWAC), a committee of Evergreen Audubon in cooperation with the Mt. Evans Group of the Sierra Club and the Evergreen Garden Club. The group formed to address the introduction of problem weeds – either by accident or on purpose – that threaten the natural ecosystem.
“We don’t want non-native species to choke out natural species,” Cathy explains, pointing to their logo depicting a musk thistle strangling a columbine. “In some cases, they can threaten the wildlife that eat them.” In many cases the noxious weeds can be very attractive, such as the Myrtle Spurge that had taken over El Pinal and the Oxide Daisies, which had been introduced as ornamental. “What’s a problem here may not be a problem elsewhere,” she says.
The CWAC concentrated its efforts on the focal point of the community – Evergreen Lake – by dividing and conquering. The premier event, Community Weed Day, at Evergreen Lake, started in 1998 and has continued through 2012. To augment the annual group efforts in June, volunteers adopted 1 of 20 segments of the periphery of the lake to monitor and combat the growth of weeds in between annual events.
Because the wetlands area is off-limits during the June weed pull due to nesting of birds, the group gathers a second time, in August, to address that portion of the lake. Grants enable the group to provide educational materials to the public.
In addition to chairing the weed effort for 15 years, Cathy served as president of Evergreen Audubon (1997-8) in addition to serving in other leadership positions within the organization.
She served on the initial board of the Colorado Noxious Weed Advisory Committee from 2003 to 2006, to advise the Department of Agriculture on what to present to the state legislature on the priority of weeds to be addressed.
She also served on the board of ddirectors of the Colorado Weed Management Association in 2008-9. She was a board member of Audubon Colorado (1999 – 2002), starting when regional boards across the country changed to state boards.
From 2001 to 2005 she was a “Wildlife Master” for Jefferson County.
In 2007 Cathy and Sylvia Robertson were recognized by the Mountain Area Land Trust with its Preservationist Award for their work on weeding. Audubon was recognized for its weeding efforts by the Rotary Club of Evergreen.
In 2009 Cathy received the Partnership Award frm the Colorado Weed Management Association for her work with Pulling for Colorado, a statewide effort to educate state residents about the impacts of noxious weeds on natural, agricultural and recreational lands.
Cathy says her greatest love is felines. Prior to moving to Colorado, she volunteered with the Woodland Park Zoo, working with the big cats. She also had a part-time paid position at the International Snow Leopard Trust in Seattle.
Adapting to being 40 miles from the Denver Zoo, she became a foster mom with the Evergreen Animal Protective League (EAPL), fostering approximately 125 kittens and cats (many ferrel), keeping only 3.
Source: Cathy Shelton interview