Metro Denver Nature Alliance

Metro Denver Nature Alliance (Metro DNA) is a growing coalition of non-profit, government, research, and private sector partners seeking to align nature-based efforts toward more equitable access to nature and to promote healthy people, communities, and natural places.

Metro DNA is looking to connect with DU faculty and students on the following projects:

Equity in Action = In March 2019, Metro DNA adopted a set of Equity Principles + Commitments to guide our collaborative conservation and environmental education network. The Equity in Action project will activate our plans for resource sharing, ongoing learning and training, and leadership development in equity + conservation.

  • Literature Review / Policy Review We are looking for a “deep dive” into Metro DNA’s Equity Principles + Commitments that explores the theories and experiences behind each statement and informs how we operationalize them as an organization (e.g., decision making processes, structure, representation in leadership) and craft training opportunities for partners.
    • Key partners – Butterfly Pavilion, EcoInclusive, cityWILD, National Parks Conservation Association, Denver Zoo

Nature Narratives = Nature Narratives is Metro DNA’s collective storytelling project, providing opportunities for partner organizations to elevate our work and the ways we are promoting healthier people, communities, and natural places in metro Denver. The project is also helping us define a shared story of our ongoing efforts to make the metro Denver region a thriving place for people and for nature. 

  • Information Dissemination Using the existing interview data (recordings and coded transcripts), produce a series of partner highlights and thematic stories to be used in blog posts, newsletters, and social media. Explore producing additional Nature Narratives podcast episodes, short videos, and other content.
    • Key partners – The Alliance Center, Continental Divide Trail Coalition, Next 100 Coalition, Colorado Parks & Wildlife
  • Data Collection/Data Analysis Continue in-person interviews with Metro DNA partners, using the framework created in 2019, as part of new partner onboarding and orientation, to expand our database of partner stories for content creation, and to further refine our shared vision.
    • Key partners – Visible Network Labs, Climate Courage

Regional Vision for People + Nature = Metro DNA began facilitating conversations toward a Regional Vision in 2016-17 with the Trust for Public Land. We are now working on a Regional Conservation Assessment, which will use existing information and planning documents to identify high quality, connected, and climate-resilient habitat across the metro area. This work supports the development of a more comprehensive and conservation-forward approach to land use planning that strengthens connectivity and equitable access to nature, protects important wildlife habitat, and maximizes the use of nature-based solutions like green infrastructure.

  • Literature Review / Policy Review We want to understand what conservation and management (land, habitat, species, natural areas, etc.) plans, priorities, and strategies are currently in effect across the seven metro Denver counties and larger municipalities. How can Metro DNA best connect and leverage existing work?
    • Key partners – The Nature Conservancy, Biohabitats, Denver Regional Council of Governments, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute
  • Data Analysis (Geospatial Analysis)Using the existing Metro DNA Mapping Portal, produce maps and infographics that communicate the urgency of regional planning, significant opportunities and challenges with respect to equitable access to nature and habitat conservation, and the cultural and ecological diversity that define the region.
    • Key partners – Trust for Public Land

STEW-MAP = The Denver Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP) will answer the question: What are the social and spatial (geographic) interactions among groups that conserve, manage, monitor, advocate for, and educate the public about their local environments? This project adds a social layer of information to biophysical information on green infrastructure in the metro area. It will also uncover gaps in action, knowledge, and resources, which will inform continued collaboration, research, and project implementation.

  • Literature Review We are implementing STEW-MAP in Denver not only as a research project, but in order to develop and launch an effective partner discovery and engagement tool. We want to understand how STEW-MAP has been implemented, received, and used in other cities in order to maximize its utility in Denver and advance the science.
    • Key partners – US Forest Service (Rocky Mountain Research Station), CU Denver (College of Architecture & Planning, School of Public Affairs), Denver Parks & Recreation (Forestry)

SSKO-GO Day = Safe Summer Kick Off on Get Outdoors Day (SSKO-GO Day) is a free, family-friendly event hosted annually by the SouthWest Denver Coalition, Metro DNA, and Denver Parks & Recreation to promote access to healthy and safe outdoor spaces, support under-resourced communities, and celebrate nature exploration. Entering our second year of partnership, we are interested in deepening relationships in the community around Garfield Lake Park (Westwood), exploring opportunities to add value and connect with communities throughout Southwest Denver and the metro area, and inform state-wide investments in outdoor recreation and community well-being.

  • Literature Review / Policy Review We want to understand what mission-related events and programs are active across the seven metro Denver counties and larger municipalities, across Colorado, and in other metro areas (e.g., Salt Lake City, Portland, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles). What opportunities are there to grow SSKO-GO Day and empower our local partners to share their knowledge and experience for the benefit of the region and the state? 
    • Key partners – SouthWest Denver Coalition, Denver Parks & Recreation, CO Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, Colorado Public Health and Parks & Recreation Collaborative, Colorado Department of Health & Environment, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, National Park Service (Intermountain Region), US Forest Service (Rocky Mountain Region)

*Additional information on Metro DNA projects provided upon request*

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