Celebrate the power of place during the holidays

Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 9:42 PM

I’m writing this column after spending a crisp Tuesday morning on a street corner along with other nonprofit representatives, waving at commuters and reminding them to “give where they live” in conjunction with Colorado Gives Day.

I’ll admit that I’m not great at asking for things. I would much rather give. But as someone who has been in nonprofit management for more than two decades, I’ve long accepted that asking is simply part of the job.

In my short time with Durango Nature Studies, I have asked much from the local community – be it through our online auction, sponsoring Mountainfilm on Tour or supporting our education programs through year-end giving. In return, I have been humbled by the support and generosity, particularly from our local business community.

Anyone who has any affiliation with nonprofit organizations knows that Durango has an ample array of organizations – each with very special niches. I talked with one business owner who admitted to getting more than 60 requests for support during the year. I imagine that is not an isolated case.

We also have an abundance of independently-owned local businesses, and they are integral to making our town special. I’ve lived in a number of places over my lifetime, and Durango has always stood out when it comes to the number of independent businesses and the strong sense of community. That sense of community has been felt by visiting friends as well. That spirit of community shines during the holiday season, kicked off with Noel Night. By shopping local, we keep our dollars local. Strong businesses help support a strong community. I, for one, will be doing all of my holiday shopping locally.

I also want to make a plug for providing experiences for your loved ones this holiday season. Mountainfilm on Tour brought us films that shared that theme. We have an abundance of great experiences just waiting to be had outside our door in this part of the world. Whether it’s recreational, cultural or educational, there are fun things to do and explore almost every day of the week in our community. Some of these experiences may involve expenses, but many do not.

So take the time to truly enjoy all the opportunities right here in our own community and know that by doing so, you are contributing to a strong, vibrant place for everyone.

Stephanie Weber is executive director of Durango Nature Studies. Reach her at