CC's Ken Salazar Named 2012 Champion of the Rockies - Colorado College

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For Immediate Release

Leslie Weddell
(719) 389-6038



 Salazar receives award at ninth State of the Rockies Conference

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – April 10, 2012 – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar was named the 2012 Champion of the Rockies at Colorado College’s ninth annual State of the Rockies Conference. Salazar was presented the award on Monday, April 9 by Walt Hecox, faculty director of CC's State of the Rockies Project.

Salazar, who graduated from Colorado College in 1977, and Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey and a 1974 graduate of Colorado College, both spoke on the opening day of the two-day conference. Salazar gave the keynote presentation, titled “Energy, Water, and Conservation in the West” and McNutt discussed “Science for Sustainability in the Rocky Mountain West.”

Salazar, a political science major at CC, served as a United States senator from Colorado from 2005 to 2009. His campaign slogan was “fighting for Colorado's land, water, and people.” Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, he served as attorney general of Colorado from 1999 to 2005.

In 1990, Salazar was appointed by then-Gov. Roy Romer as director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. There he crafted regulations for oil, mining and gas operations to encourage safe and responsible development, and worked to uphold Colorado’s interstate water compacts.  As the first chairman of Great Outdoors Colorado, Salazar built the program one of the most successful land conservation efforts in the United States. Born in Alamosa, Colo., Salazar has ancestors in the Southwestern United States dating back from the 16th century.

The Champion of the Rockies Award was initiated in 2007 to honor leaders of vision, drive and determination whose efforts are positively shaping the Rocky Mountain region’s present and future.  As Secretary of the Interior, Salazar is in charge of the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Geological Survey, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal agencies overseen by the Interior Department.

Previous recipients include environmentalist and philanthropist Ted Turner; Ed and Betsy Marston, the former publisher and editor, respectively, of the High Country News in Paonia, Colo.; and author and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams.

Each year, the State of the Rockies Conference examines critical issues affecting the eight-state Rocky Mountain region, composed of Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. This year’s conference, titled “The Colorado River Basin: Agenda for Use, Restoration and Sustainability for the Next Generation,” focuses on challenges confronting the Colorado River Basin.

The conference continues today, with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper discussing how to manage the state’s water resources. The session also will include a summary of actions the public can take to manage the Colorado River Basin for the future.

The conference is a culmination of the 2011-12 State of the Rockies Project, and ties together a year of student-faculty collaborative research, a monthly speakers series focusing on basin issues and the publication of the annual State of the Rockies Report Card.

This year’s conference opened with a presentation from two Rockies Project Field Researchers detailing their 1,700 mile source-to-sea trip, from the headwaters of the Green River in Wyoming to the imperiled delta in Mexico. The presentation included the premier of a full-length video covering the researchers’ four-month trip, which started in October 2011 and ended in January 2012.

The State of the Rockies Project team, which includes Colorado College undergraduate students, recent graduates and a faculty adviser, conducts extensive research and creates a comprehensive report on the region. The 2012 State of the Rockies Report Card. The report was released Tuesday, April 9, and can be viewed at

Full details of conference events and speakers can be found on the Rockies Project Conference website.

For information, directions or disability accommodation at the event, members of the public may call (719) 389-6607.

About Colorado College

Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its approximately 2,000 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week segments. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit <>.