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May 8, 2009

Cordillera’s going ‘green’

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Cordillera is taking its environmental efforts to a whole new level.

Located above the Vail Valley within more than 7,000 acres of Colorado High Country ranchland, Cordillera’s property owners, members and employees understand the need to protect what makes it North America’s premiere residential mountain community.

That understanding led to Cordillera’s being nominated for the Vail Valley Partnership’s 2008 Green Business of the Year Award.

Now, with a mission of serving, sustaining and protecting natural resources and the environment throughout the community, and beyond, the new Cordillera Green Team – comprising representatives from all facets of the Cordillera Metro District, the Club at Cordillera and the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera – has been brainstorming on a long list of new “green ideas” for implementation in 2009.

“We’re working together to identify and implement the most economical green practices,” says Green Team Leader Lisa Isom, director of recreation for the Club at Cordillera. “From composting to ‘pre-cycling’ there are many ways to preserve the environment without spending a lot of money.”

Green initiatives planned by the Cordillera Green Team include:

Composting Operations
Employees at Cordillera’s golf course, equestrian and restaurant facilities will be storing organic materials, such as grass clippings, manures, etc., on-site in newly built “tumblers,” or 55-gallon drums modified for the purpose. The resulting compost material will be transported regularly to a site near Cordillera’s Town Park, scheduled to open June 1.

“We hope to be able to compost almost all of the corn-based containers used in the Clubhouses this summer,” says Isom. “These containers won’t break down in the landfill, but they should make great fodder for our gardens and flower beds.”

Community Gardens
Fenced-in Community Gardens, also scheduled to open June 1, will be open to Cordillera property owners and Club members to grow their own herbs and vegetables; employees from Cordillera’s Timber Hearth Grille and Chaparral restaurants also may use the Community Gardens as testing grounds for their own fresh produce, herbs and flowers. The fenced-in, raised planting beds will be constructed using timbers of pine-beetle-killed trees from the local area.

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“It’s exciting to be able to use the beetle-killed trees to enhance the community by using in the construction of the planting beds,” says Jeff Hartman, Design Review Board coordinator for the Cordillera Metro District.

Based on the concept of “think before you buy,” Cordillera Green Team members have identified methods for using and/or developing items that create less waste, including:
– Purchasing supplies, from landscaping items to vehicle-maintenance products to food stocks, in bulk when possible, instead of in individual containers.
– Going “paperless” with payroll and other administrative operations.
– Moving away from bulky, expensive brochures and toward DVDs and Web-based materials for marketing purposes.
– Printing the Club’s annual magazine, Cordillera Living, on recycled paper

Community involvement
– Cordillera offers the service of dozens of its employees on Friday, May 1, to the 10th Annual Community Pride Highway Clean Up, a project of the Eagle River Watershed Council, to pick up trash from the sides of Interstate 70, U.S. Highways 6 and 24 and Colorado Highway 131.
– Cordillera employees also volunteer for the Eagle River Watershed Council’s Annual Community River Clean Up in the fall, scheduled this year for Sept. 12.
– Cordillera has joined Destination Preservation and Environmental Sustainability, a joint environmental program of the Vail Valley Partnership and the Town of Vail.

Adopting “green” policies
The Cordillera Property Owners Association and the Cordillera Metro District have adopted a policy statement entitled “Greening Cordillera,” which establishes procedures and programs to execute new federal “greening” laws and regulations.

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