The Q for Conservation

History Colorado Center | 1200 Broadway | Denver, Colorado

See Photos from the 2019 Q here!

Watch the video here!



Tim has dedicated his life to improving the lives of Coloradans, especially those in rural areas. Early in his career, he served as County Commissioner for Rio Blanco in Northwest Colorado. He then served as Colorado’s Secretary of Agriculture, Director of Department of Local Affairs, and was the first Chairman of the Colorado Economic Development Commission. Most recently before his retirement in 2017, Tim was the President and Executive Director of the Boettcher Foundation for more than two decades. The Boettcher Foundation has been dedicated to assisting, encouraging, and promoting the general well being of the residents of the State of Colorado since 1937.


Pam Houston is the author of the national bestseller, Cowboys Are My Weakness. Her most recent memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, is inspired by her ranch home at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande. It tells the remarkable story of “that girl who dared herself to buy a ranch, dared herself to dig in and care for it, to work hard enough to pay for it, to figure out what other people mean when they use the word ‘home.’”



Acequias often represent the oldest water rights in Colorado. Their protection is critical to preserving the heritage and way of life in the San Luis Valley, where many make their living as farmers and ranchers. Communal water use is critical in the area – without these historic water-sharing agreements, the region’s agricultural way of life would not be possible. Many acequia properties have been managed by the same families since the mid-1800s, and the acequias form the agricultural, social, and ecological foundation of the communities.

Unfortunately, the acequias are in danger, threatened by a growingdemand for water from outside development pressures. If these acequia water rights are purchased, the water that has fed the agricultural fields and culture in the Valley may be transferred away. If that happens, the agricultural economy will crumble, and the community along with it.

Colorado Open Lands began working in the Valley over eight years ago. We have completed conservation easements on several properties featuring acequias, protecting the land and the water. We facilitate an annual Congreso de Acequias, which convenes acequia owners and legal professionals to share knowledge and expertise to manage these precious resources. Our current conservation efforts are focused on several properties along the Culebra Creek that,
when conserved, will protect the watershed’s most senior acequias, and thousands of irrigated acres just outside the town of San Luis. These projects include thirteen community partners and multiple ranching families, all interested in protecting their community’s unique way of life.


The Q for Conservation is Colorado Open Lands’ premier annual celebration of those who care about land conservation in Colorado. The event brings people
together to connect and find inspiration in protecting Colorado’s land forever.

The 13th Annual Q for Conservation will take place on Thursday, October 24th, from 5:30-8:30 pm at the History Colorado Center in the museum district of Downtown Denver. We will welcome 350 leaders from Colorado’s business, policy, and philanthropic community to learn and celebrate with us. The event features a private cocktail reception and dinner and an inspiring program highlighting the work of Colorado Open Lands.

This year’s Q for Conservation will explore community, resilience, and hope in rural Colorado. The event highlights the historic practices and traditions of some of the longest-standing communities in Colorado, featuring the acequia farmers in the San Luis Valley. The event also features a thought-provoking presentation by author Pam Houston and the presentation of our highest honor to Tim Schultz. See photos from last year’s Q here!

The Champion of the Land 
The Champion of the Land award was established to recognize influential individuals who have demonstrated leadership, foresight, and a strong land ethic, resulting in lasting impacts on our state. Our 2014 inaugural recipients, Dean Singleton and Dan Ritchie, laid the foundation of a new tradition that continued in 2015 with Harris D. Sherman, and in 2016 with Will Shafroth and Lise Aangeenbrug.[/su_spoiler]

For more information, please contact Alyssa Acosta at 303.988.2373 or


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