Carol O'Meara - Colorado State University Extension

Carol O’Meara – Colorado State University Extension

BOULDER – When the season quiets, gardeners find time to reflect on the past, musing on how much the garden benefits us.  With warm thoughts we reminisce over harvests and flowers, the smell of the earth, and lay plans for next year when the soil warms again.

As you’re wandering those paths in your mind, add in a thought for sharing that connection to the garden with others this year.  In lieu of gifts, a donation to help a non-profit is a wonderful way to reach out and show your community you care. If you missed Colorado Gives Day, you still can make a difference in your community.

“There are a lot of places and ways to give, but in supporting local programs it’s our youth and our communities you’re helping,” says Alyssa McConkey, Executive Director of Loveland Youth Gardeners. “To give a gift to our program in someone’s name you’re impacting a life in a way that giving that person a sweater can’t do – supporting young people who are struggling and making sure youth have resources they need to thrive.”

Loveland Youth Gardeners ( changes lives through growing food. Working with at-risk and special needs kids, LYG gives young people, who may be struggling, a way to develop life skills through connection to the earth, food systems, each other, and their community.

Loveland Youth Gardeners programs are a continuum; many kids are involved several summers in a row and move into entrepreneurial projects. By working with small groups, LYG youth put in up to 120 plus hours each for a combined total of over 4,000 hours in skill development, community service, and personal growth.

Dedication to preserving some of our fragile species is the mission of the Colorado Natural Heritage Program ( As habitats shrink or undergo changes, plants and animals feel the impact. The CNHP monitors threatened species and habitats, working to improve conservation of our biological resources.

Partnering and collaborating with a network of conservation organizations, the CNHP conducts research, supports the research of others, maintains an inventory of rare and endangered species, identifies locations and habitats of threatened species, map natural communities, and performs a host of critical information sharing projects. CNHP is a nonprofit, sponsored program of the Warner College of Natural Resources, Department of Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Biology at Colorado State University.

Growing Gardens ( encourages people to give where they live to support horticultural therapy, food security, and youth development programs.  Working in the Boulder County community, Growing Gardens operates community gardens, the Cultiva Youth Project, The Children’s Peace Garden, The Food Project Farm, and offers gardening classes.

Consider these or other non-profits as a change up to your gift giving this year. You’ll reap the rewards of a stronger community plus help make the lives of others a bit brighter.

Colorado State University Extension, together with Boulder County Parks and Open Space, provides unbiased, research-based information about consumer and family issues, horticulture, natural resources, agriculture and 4-H youth development. For more information contact Extension at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Rd., Box B, Longmont, 303.678.6238, or visit