Nederland Mayor Joe Gierlach
From Mayor Joe Gierlach
To anyone who identifies with the Greater Nederland Area:

#NedZero began as the culmination of several major planning documents. Starting in 2010, the Nederland Board of Trustees (BOT) decided to gather input from our citizens to create a vision for the future of our town. After one and a half years, on September 6, 2011, the BOT adopted Envision 2020 as our guiding document. It was heavily skewed toward sustainability and resiliency. A large poster of the nine vision statements hangs on the wall of our main meeting room as a reminder of that vision.

Over the next several years, in the same meeting room, these major planning documents were debated, created, and approved:
  • Community Wildfire Protection Plan – adopted May 2011
  • Parks, Recreation, Open Space, and Trails Master Plan – adopted February 19, 2013
  • Nederland became a Solar Friendly Community – May 2013
  • Nederland became a Firewise Community – June 2013
  • 2013 Comprehensive Plan – adopted November 5, 2013
  • Selected for the Leadership STAR Community Program – Jan 2014
  • Master Infrastructure Plan – adopted August 5, 2014
  • Sustainability Action Plan – adopted September 2, 2014
  • Community Center Site Master Plan – adopted January 6, 2015
  • Nederland Noxious Weed Plan – adopted January 20, 2015
  • Selected for Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program – Jan 2015
  • Nederland Source Water Protection Plan – adopted February 3, 2015

When the Sustainability Advisory Board was developing the Sustainability Action Plan, it quickly became a coalescence of all the sustainable items in the other master plans. Furthermore, while those plans were being written, fires, floods, and droughts have occurred around Nederland, as well as the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic and other significant climate change related events across the U.S., highlighting the importance of adopting a sustainability action plan.

The next idea was that #NedZero needed to be a dynamic, living, action plan that would grow organically and adapt to our changing needs. For example, the 2013 Boulder Flood closed our major road to Nederland, and illustrated the need for a localized economy. Resiliency has shifted from a green ideal to work toward someday, to an urgent need.

#NedZero also needed to coordinate the efforts of many more people, companies, non-profits, and organizations. It could not be another master plan that sat on a shelf. We needed to leverage Nederland's greatest asset – our community of volunteers and organizations. Ultimately, it's building a critical mass of community members that will continue the program, as champions, co-champions and/or as part of organizations that take on different action items.

Next, In January 2014, Nederland was selected with 20 other cities in the U.S., to participate in the Leadership STAR Community Program; the smallest city selected. The STAR Communities Program tracks our progress toward becoming a sustainable community. STAR criteria fits well with #NedZero, and is completely integrated into our action items.

#NedZero naturally became a living document as an interactive website and program, that provides resources, transfers information, tracks progress, and adapts to changing conditions.

We have a big goal: To Become the Most Sustainable Small Town in the U.S.. Quite frankly, because we are a small mountain town, separated geographically by just enough space, to create our own unique sustainability culture, that gives us an advantage in achieving this "John F Kennedy, We Choose to Go to the Moon" type of goal.

So, I invite you to browse the pages of #NedZero:

  • See what you find interesting or passionate about.
  • Try out the search tool.
  • Sign the #NedZero pledge and become part of the community.
  • Determine your personal level of involvement, or “role”. Are you an appointed Advisory Board member? Town Employee? or Interested Citizen?
  • Contribute to the community discussion, using hashtags on various Social Media platforms.
  • You don't need a login. You can use your own favorite social media, along with our hashtag system, to post images, links, articles, videos, track results, pose questions, introduce ideas, round-up volunteers, etc.
  • Notice what you can expect from the feedback loop.
  • Check out the people, or organizations, who are managing different aspects of the programs.
  • See how the town is providing resources to help people realize their goals.
Remember that we are all volunteers trying to work together to make Nederland a better place. Assume that your neighbor has the best intentions.

  Sustainably Yours,
Mayor Joe Gierlach,
Nederland, Colorado
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