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Next 100 Colorado Blog!

What do you do for work and how does this work tie into the movement and Next100 CO?

My current work focuses on expanding, restoring, and protecting the National Conservation Lands, which include the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) national monuments, wilderness, wilderness study areas, national conservation areas, wild and scenic rivers, and national historic and scenic trails. As the Public Lands Policy Director at the Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF), I advance policy initiatives to ensure that BLM lands are stewarded appropriately and their unique cultural, ecological, historical, and scenic resources are protected for generations to come. 

My work at CLF is related to Next 100 Colorado’s in both substance and approach. Both CLF and Next 100 Colorado work on Colorado’s public lands, though CLF focuses on Colorado’s BLM lands. Like Next 100 Colorado, CLF is also committed to elevating local, grassroots, and community voices in an inclusive and equitable way. We support over 80 small, grassroots nonprofits across the West, including several in Colorado, to ensure that the voices of those most impacted by federal lands policy decisions are heard in DC. 

What inspired your career in conservation?

I entered college without a strong sense of what I wanted to study; I knew I was curious about a lot of different things, and I knew that I wanted my future career to have a positive impact on the world. For a while, I considered wildlife veterinary medicine, because I loved wildlife watching and science. But I soon discovered that I enjoyed looking at issues from a much broader lens. I remembered a summer program in which I participated, in Sanibel, Florida. That program, focused on marine ecology and environmental philosophy, was my first introduction to the field of environmental science and only strengthened my love of being outside. Studying environmental science in college allowed me to approach problems that I cared deeply about–threats to our natural world–from an interdisciplinary perspective. Having grown up in DC, environmental policy was a natural direction for my career after college. I love working on public lands conservation because it requires a systems-level understanding of how many different issues are interconnected–water, wildlife, culture, recreation, energy generation, history, and science–and because I can help communities connect to and protect the places they love. 

How long have you been a Next 100 Colorado Member?

I first heard about Next 100 Colorado from a former colleague at The Wilderness Society, who encouraged me to apply for Next 100 Colorado’s first-ever mentorship program. I loved the community, support, and mentorship that I found in the program, so I decided to join Next 100 Colorado as an individual member in 2021. Since then, I have been fortunate to lead and facilitate the third cohort of the mentorship program, and I currently serve as the at-large co-chair of Next 100 Colorado. 

What is your favorite outdoor spot in Colorado?

I love scrambling on the Flatirons in Boulder! 

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

There are too many to choose from! I have always been an avid hiker, but since moving to Colorado, I have been learning to mountain bike, backcountry ski, and climb–and I have loved all of them. As a former figure skater, one of my favorite Colorado memories has been skating on alpine lakes.

A wide landscape shot of a river. Snow covers the land. The sun shines.

Gov. Jared Polis

Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Dan Gibb

Colorado Parks & Wildlife Director Jeff Davis

Members of the Colorado General Assembly

December 4th, 2023

Dear Gov. Polis, Directors Gibbs and Davis, and Members of the General Assembly:

On behalf of the 68 undersigned organizations, we thank you for your commitment and leadership in working toward a Colorado where nature’s benefits are available to and experienced by all. Many of our organizations were supporters of HB 21-1318 to create the Outdoor Equity Grant Program in Colorado. We celebrated when Gov. Polis signed the bill into law at Lincoln Hills CARES in Gilpin County. We are heartened by the progress made to-date, but believe there is more work to be done.

Since the program was created, Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) has distributed about $3 million through two rounds of grantmaking to 69 grantees including Tribes, non-profit organizations, school districts and businesses. This funding has benefited a total of 7,498 participants in 34 counties across the state. This is a significant achievement, of which we should all be proud. Yet, the initial funding provided by HB 21-1318, which maxes out at $3 million per year beginning in the 2023-2024 fiscal year, is insufficient. Demand for grants, defined as the total dollar amount requested through the first two grant periods totaled over $23 million. Yet, in 2022 through the first two rounds of grants, just over $3 million was awarded. We recognize that demand may not be the best measure of an appropriate funding level, but quality proposals were funded at a lesser level or denied due to the current limitations on funding during the first two rounds of funding.

We believe a significant opportunity exists to expand funding to help more Colorado youth to get outside and experience nature’s benefits. Further, other states across the west have significantly resourced their outdoor equity funds and expanded funding. During New Mexico’s 2023 legislative session, they passed SB 9 - the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund, which established a permanent endowment fund to support conservation efforts in perpetuity, including by increasing the amount available for the state’s Outdoor Equity Fund. In California, the state made $57 million worth of grants during its first round of grant applications in 2022.

We look forward to working with you and your staff to advance this initiative between now and when the Colorado legislature convenes in January 2024. Thank you again for your efforts to make Colorado’s incredible natural spaces welcoming and accessible to all.


1. Jennifer Singer - 4Corners Broadband/Great Old Broads For Wilderness

2. Hector Salas – Aint Dead Communications LLC

3. Zuza Bohley - Americas for Conservation + the Arts

4. Andrea Aust - Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

5. Jenna Celmer - Basecamp Outdoor

6. John Sanderson - Center for Collaborative Conservation

7. Donahue - City of Fort Collins, Natural Areas Department

8. Katie Navin - Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education

9. Dominic Lucero - Colorado High Country Educational Treks

10. Lauren Petrie - Colorado Rising

11. Ramesh Bhatt - Colorado Sierra Club

12. Scott Segerstrom - Colorado Youth Corps Association

13. Brien Webster - Conservation Colorado

14. Teresa Martinez - Continental Divide Trail Coalition

15. Ford Church - Cottonwood Institute

16. Omar Sarabia - Defiende Nuestra Tierra

17. Matt Samelson - Donnell-Kay Foundation

18. Anita Evans - Friends of Youth and Nature

19. Becca Katz - Good Natured Learning

20. Chara Ragland - Great Old Broads for Wilderness - South San Juan Broadband

21. Christine Jauhola - Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Grand Junction Broadband

22. Carrie Krickbaum - Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Northern San Juan Broadband

23. Jason Marsden - Greater Arkansas River Nature Association

24. Ean Thomas Tafoya - GreenLatinos Colorado

25. Cindy Chang - Groundwork Denver

26. Timiya Jackson - Heart & Hand Center

27. Mike Ksenyak - Intersecting Solutions LLC

28. Josh Miller - Josh Miller Ventures LLC

29. Bianca Modesta McGrath-Martínez - Latino Outdoors Colorado

30. J.R. Lapierre - Lincoln Hills Cares

31. Zuza Bohley - Love 4 Nature, Inc.

32. Gemara Gifford - Mending Mountains Collective LLC

33. Javier Pineda - Mountain Dreamers Oso Outdoors

34. Shirley Romero Otero - Move Mountains Project: San Luis

35. Taishya Adams - Mukuyu Collective, LLC

36. Tracy Coppola - National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)

37. Taylor Driver - Nature and Wildlife Discovery Center

38. Devin Jaffe - Nature's Educators

39. Andy Hartman - New Treks

40. Jerry Otero - Next 100 Colorado

41. Della Garelle - Northern Front Range Broads; Great Old Broads for Wilderness

42. Carmela Montenegro - Not Mad Just Misunderstood

43. Felipe Vieyra - Oso Adventure Meals

44. Beatriz Soto - Protegete

45. Jason Swann - Rising Routes

46. Jack Curry - Riverside Educational Center

47. Megan Dean - Roaring Fork Conservancy

48. Ian Stafford - Rocky Mountain Conservancy

49. Chris Talbot-Heindl - Rocky Mountain Wild

50. Christine Canaly - San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council

51. Annie Altwarg, Brian Puccerella, Dani Robben, and Mick Daniel - San Luis Valley Great


52. Mason Osgood - Sheep Mountain Alliance

53. Seth Ehrlich - SOS Outreach

54. Shaina Gonzales - Spirit of the Sun

55. Denisee Sierra - Sun Valley Youth Center

56. Ryan Aids - The Greenway Foundation

57. Ben Graves - The Nature Connection

58. Jim Ramey and Clara Moulton - The Wilderness Society

59. Liz Rose and Jared Romero - Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

60. Rachel Brett - Thorne Nature Experience

61. Emily Hornback - Western Colorado Alliance

62. Maritza Arizaga - Western Resource Advocates

63. Hannah Stevens - Western Slope Conservation Center

64. John Sztukowski - Wild Connections

65. Sarah R Johnson - Wild Rose Education

66. Erin Riccio - Wilderness Workshop

67. Kriste Peoples - Women's Wilderness

68. Megan Patterson - Worldmind Nature Immersion School

Photograph and direction by The Female Shoota. Makeup by Brittany Blaze-Shearz Haircut by Uri Moreno Cattoo by Aura Rain Heindl-Rockman

Hey, y'all! I'm Chris Talbot-Heindl, and my affirming pronouns are they and them. I'm currently the Communications Director and on the Leadership Team at Rocky Mountain Wild, the Editor of Community-Centric Fundraising's Content Hub, and the owner of The Talbot-Heindl Experience, a small company for my spouse and myself to create magazines, chapbooks, educomics, and artwork, and for me to do justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) consulting.

You can find me on my website at, or on Instagram or Twitter at @talbot_heindl.

Photograph and direction by The Female Shoota.

Haircut by Uri Moreno

What do you do for work and how does this work tie into the movement and Next100 CO?

I like to think of my work with all of my jobs and with Next 100 Colorado to be about creating spaces that are ready to celebrate people when they turn up authentically. I've spent 21 years working and volunteering with environmental nonprofit spaces that weren't built with me in mind as a queer, trans nonbinary, mixed-race, and neurodivergent person. I've spent the majority of that time trying to acclimate as a survival tactic. But coalitions like Next 100 Colorado, movements like Community-Centric Fundraising, and organizations like artEquity, Native Wellness Institute, and Justice Outside, all of which I am blessed to have in my network, gave me the permission and the tools to take up space, to use my authentic voice, and to advocate for myself and my communities. I like to think of my work as spreading that reframe to my relatives that have also spent their careers on the margins while advocating and providing training to my relatives who haven't on how they can be accomplices and restructure organizations to be safer, welcoming, inviting, and ready for all of us to show up authentically.

What inspired your career in conservation?

I started a career in the environmental nonprofit industrial complex completely by accident. It began as a one-time contract opportunity passed down to me when I was 19, which opened the door to an internship, which led to a career. But I was called to it once I had the open door because of the experiences of my childhood. My family lived on a street in rural Wisconsin just outside of Green Bay that sat between a slaughterhouse and a dump. My summers were spent playing outdoors like most kids in the 80s and 90s, but often with the smell of either warm blood or decaying trash depending on the direction of the wind. The dump would occasionally burn things (or items would catch fire, not sure which), so we had that as well. I developed asthma over time and in my late teens and early twenties, I had to use an inhaler. In high school, I took an environmental science class, and while we never used the term "environmental justice," I could see the connection and I was 100% in to solve the issues, in whatever way I could. But really, it was by accident. If a door had opened for racial justice or queer rights, I would have leapt with just as much fervor. It just so happened that the environmental nonprofit door opened first.

What needs to be said about Colorado, its history, the outdoors, equity, conservation, inclusivity, etc.?

Ooh! So much needs to be said. I'm a transplant, so I'm still slowly learning the Colorado history from this state's Indigenous elders. The history I learned from Google searches and books was incomplete at best, and complete fiction at worst. So, I think that's what I want to say: Accept that the history you've received from your schooling and from traditional media sources is skewed — sometimes just because of uninvestigated bias and sometimes with malice or for a purpose — to erase the injustices of the past that have impacted our present. Listen and believe marginalized people when they tell you their experience and their history. Be open to that and recognize it as the gift it is rather than getting defensive or feeling guilt or shame from either not knowing (the truth was something taken from you, not something you are guilty of not knowing) or benefiting at others' expense (that was imposed on you, so it's not your fault, but it is your responsibility to combat in any way that you can).

I think a lot of our equity work gets stopped in its tracks because people lean into defensiveness or guilt when confronted with something they didn't learn in school (think: the argument that there are only two sexes or genders — when there is biologically natural variance in sex and gender is a social construct — when it comes to discussions about transgender rights, or the uproar from Governor Polis and others after Black and Indigenous activists toppled the Civil War statue at the Colorado state capitol that named the Sand Creek Massacre as a battle rather than the horrific massacre it was). Now imagine how we could do better work — better equity and inclusion work in the outdoors, in our environmental nonprofits, and in conservation, leading to better and more nuanced solutions — more quickly if people leaned in with curiosity when confronted with new information or different ways of knowing. I think that's the top thing I want to say today. It may be entirely different tomorrow. LOL.

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