Guest editorial: Donate and help the Swaner EcoCenter thrive for generations |

Guest editorial: Donate and help the Swaner EcoCenter thrive for generations

Stephanie Dolmat
Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter board member
Children walk out onto the Swaner Preserve during the Little Naturalist Story Time's nature portion of the event Monday morning, October 9, 2017.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record, file

Last week, I went swimming at the Basin Recreation pool. I stopped at the end of a lap and I heard the distinctive guttural calls, then saw six sandhill cranes flying above the pool in a V formation. I broke into a big smile — my natural reaction every time I glimpse a sandhill. The reason I could experience the sandhills’ special presence in our community is in no small part because of the Swaner Preserve.

Swaner is home to over 150 bird species — not to mention 40 mammal species and 200 native plant species. It’s a vital stopover for migratory birds to replenish on their long journeys while we wait for the snow to fall or the trails to dry. And it provides a beautiful, unobstructed view for those who come to our community to visit and for anyone riding or walking along the trail on Bitner Road or Old Ranch Road.

Though Swaner’s land is set aside forever, the Preserve faces ongoing costs of up to $150,000 or more each year for conservation work. And these costs don’t include the organization’s larger programs that benefit so many people and educate so many children in our community — summer camps, EcoClub, Saturday morning nature club walks at 8:30 a.m., climbing wall Sundays from 1-3 p.m., and traveling exhibits like the recent Nature’s Ninjas that delighted and inspired both kids and adults alike.

Last year, the Swaner Preserve Conservation Endowment was created to ensure restoration, research and a home for native wildlife on the Preserve in perpetuity. The goal is to raise $2.25 million in endowed funds for Swaner’s conservation efforts before Aug. 1.

Swaner has almost reached its goal, bringing in $2.05 million to date. It also has a matching grant for $100,000! I am excited that my recent gift will be doubled by this match, and I will become a founding member of the Swaner Preserve Conservation Endowment. Fifty years from now, I can drive by the Preserve and know that it is healthy and thriving because of the generosity and hard work of so many of us in 2019. I’d like to see the sandhill cranes there in 50 years, too.

I hope you will join me in doing your part to give to this worthy effort. If you do so now, you, too, will become a founding member and double your impact. To donate, contact the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter at, 435-797-8939, or

The Preserve inhabitants — and I — will be ever grateful to you! Conservation isn’t something that happens one time, it’s ongoing, and it’s up to us to show our kids our commitment to their future.

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