Sustainable Broomfield History
By Sustainable Broomfield President, Brianna Hallinan
In the spring of 2019, a few Eco-Cycle Eco-Leaders from Broomfield met up to see why our city did not have curbside composting. After doing some research and reaching out to city organizations, we learned that there were plans to develop a city-wide curbside composting program in the future. After voicing our support for this initiative, we decided in the meantime to teach residents how to compost in their own backyards. We developed a composting booth display and presented it at two events around Earth Day followed by composting classes at a local nursery and booth displays at our local farmers market over the summer.
By this time, we had been meeting on a monthly basis and decided to call our group, Sustainable Broomfield. We invited others to come join our meetings and sought out guest speakers to make presentations on other sustainability topics. During the summer, we started a facebook page and eventually launched our own website, SustainableBroomfield.com. September brought the community festival of Broomfield Days, where we had a booth selling reusable bags, surveying residents on the eco-friendly actions they regularly practiced, and teaching people how to backyard compost. Later that fall, we continued meeting monthly and invited City Council candidates to our meetings to discuss their views on sustainability in Broomfield.
By the end of the year, we had developed some solid partnerships with a few organizations in Broomfield, like the Broomfield Crescent Grange and the City of Broomfield’s (ACES) Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability. We had also found a proper meeting location at the Brunner Farmhouse and Gardens and had an average of 10 people at most meetings. Sustainable Broomfield was designated as a citizen group so as to be accessible to anyone who was interested in participating. Many of the original members had taken a backseat and new people started to step up to help out in the leadership and planning positions.
At the beginning of 2020, we decided to put on a giant community Earth Day Festival at the Broomfield Crescent Grange with lots of booths and displays from a variety of community organizations. We had everything lined up and ready to go when COVID shut everything down in March and we had to cancel our event. Our regular monthly meetings continued online in the spring, but we were able to hold outdoor meetings all summer at the Brunner Farmhouse and Gardens. In exchange for meeting at this location, we volunteered to maintain one of the garden plots. That summer of 2020, we completely redeveloped the large perimeter garden plot, which had very few flowering plants and was overrun with weeds. It is now a beautiful area with multiple pathways and lots of native, perennial, pollinator-friendly flowers.
Sustainable Broomfield made another big impact at the Broomfield Crescent Grange’s community garden during the summer of 2020. I joined this garden as an individual member and noticed they had 3 large compost bins that were being under utilized by the gardeners. After some discussion, we agreed that I could recruit Sustainable Broomfield members to start dumping buckets of compostable scraps into the Grange’s compost bins and the community garden could utilize the finished compost. We found a few sources for free five gallon buckets and launched a pilot program with 10 members for a month to see how much compost was created. After gathering more buckets and tweaking our registration program a bit, we opened up the membership to anyone who was interested in joining our new Compost Club. By the fall, we had 60 people participating and had to close our new member registration since our compost bins had reached capacity.
Then, in November of 2020, we were contacted by a local scout, Spencer, who was interested in building some compost bins for an Eagle Scout Project! His timing could not have been better and by February, we had three new compost bins and were able to reopen registration into our compost club! Right now we have 110 people signed up for our club, we have diverted around 4000 gallons of compostable scraps from the landfill, and created around 640 gallons of usable compost. This has probably been one of Sustainable Broomfield’s biggest success stories!
Another Sustainable Broomfield success was the Community Earth Day Scavenger Hunt we helped put on for a week in April of 2021. Since we couldn’t hold an Earth Day Festival in person with the COVID restrictions, we decided to host a weeklong virtual game to celebrate Earth Day. To participate, community members simply registered for the event and downloaded the free GooseChase app on their smartphones. Then, through the app, numerous challenges would pop up throughout each day asking the participant to search online to answer a question, take a photo of themselves completing an activity, or visit a different area of Broomfield. People earned points for properly completing the challenges and at the end of the week our top point earners walked away with some awesome prizes!
Our community game was perfect for people of all ages and ability levels and was a great way to get outside and celebrate Earth Day, as well as explore, support, and learn more about Broomfield. This event was our first Scavenger Hunt and we had 121 participants, 38 community partners/sponsors, and gave away over $2,000 in prizes! We also had a lot of great feedback from many of the participants, sponsors, and community partners, as well as excitement about participating in future events like this.
By the time we hosted the Earth Day Scavenger Hunt in April of 2021, Sustainable Broomfield had just been approved as an official 501(c)3 nonprofit. We realized that in order to continue growing and engaging the community, it would be helpful to have a nonprofit status, which would allow us to apply for local grants to fund our endeavors.
Not much has changed with our new nonprofit status. Over the past year we have continued holding informational booths at events like Broomfield Days and have taught a few well attended compost classes. Our monthly meetings have changed format a bit and are now primarily presentations by guest speakers. Some of the topics include community gardens, composting, bees, bison, pollinator developments, Zero-Waste resources, dark skies, biking in Broomfield, food services, smart commuting options, and how the city government is working to make Broomfield more sustainable. All of these presentations were recorded and are available to view on our YouTube page.
We now email out a monthly e-newsletter, which contains information about all sustainability related events and happenings in Broomfield, advocacy opportunities, seasonal tips on saving energy and water, new resources contained on our website, and more! Right now we have over 475 people on our mailing list and anyone can easily sign up on our website, SustainableBroomfield.com.
We recently redesigned our website to make it more user friendly and created a helpful Zero-Waste Guide. This website tool helps individuals determine where they can locally sell, donate, or recycle most of their everyday items. Our site also has pages about composting, gardening, saving water, climate change, and City of Broomfield Programs, as well as sustainability tips and some engaging blog posts.
The Sustainable Broomfield leadership team has changed members a bit, but we have 6 committed people helping to run our organization right now. We even have a youth member on the team who helps us with social media posts and created a chatbot for our website with some of her classmates for a national competition! Also, three members of our leadership team have or are serving on Broomfield’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Sustainability (called ACES) So, we are staying well apprised of the steps Broomfield is taking to become more sustainable.
That brings us to the present and a quick look at our future plans. We would like to develop a curriculum to teach youth more about sustainable living and hope to start having a presence in schools this year. The City of Broomfield has some major changes they would like to achieve and we will continue to support their efforts and help with outreach to the community. We will continue to learn about new sustainable practices and programs and will share these resources and events with the public through our website, newsletter, presentations, and social media pages. I hope you will join our efforts to create a more sustainable Broomfield!