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Giving gifts that give

Tonya Bina
Off Beat/ Grand County, Colo.

One of the most memorable Christmas gifts I ever got was a real, live cow.

Yes. One that goes moo. Udder and all.

But before you envision me stumbling out into the cold at 6 a.m. every morning to milk the beast, the cow is not being stored in my garage in my HOA-controlled subdivision.



I’ll explain further.

It was given to me by one of my extended family members, who in my name, bought a cow to give to someone else – hopefully someone who knows what to do with a cow a lot more than I would.



This charitable gift was through Heifer International, which takes donations to give heifers, flocks of chicks, goats, even water buffalo, to families in impoverished areas – helping poor villagers throughout the world become more self-reliant.

As I occasionally think about having been the recipient of that gift, I’m grateful my 2007 Christmas lives on (and hopefully that cow) to better our world in a small but significant way.

But are there “Heifer”-like gifts here in Grand County?

There are, and the local organization Infinite West is about to release a list of many of them in what it calls the first “Local Green Gift Guide.”

Whether it be a gift that supports our local public lands and open space, one that helps regenerate trees in these beetle-ravaged lands, one that uses innovation to better our environment, or one that helps our own neighbors in need, a gift like that can offer both the giver and receiver something good beyond what’s in the box.

It promotes local shopping, locally-produced items and many times service to the environment in the festive, giving time of Christmas.

Tim Hodsdon, founder of Infinite West, solicited gift ideas from a 173-person email blast sent out last week, but he noted that the list is still a works-in-progress as more and more people provide ideas for its content.

The first release of the greater gift list, which aims to be complete with phone numbers, emails and locations, will be available at http://www.infinitewest.org come Monday, Dec. 13.

Here’s a teaser of Christmas gift ideas:

• Gardener on your list? For $40, you could grant someone a season to grow their own food in a Community Garden in Hot Sulphur Springs, Granby or Kremmling. The gift is available through the CSU Extension in Kremmling.

• For the dad or mom concerned about rising energy bills, gift an energy audit for the home through Imagin3, LLC.

• Through the Middle Park Conservation District, you could buy tree seedlings for someone’s land. As many as 50 different species of shrubs and trees are available through the district from the Colorado State Forest Service.

• Another idea is a Rocky Mountain National Park pass or Arapaho National Recreation Pass for someone who likes to hike, camp and/or fish.

• Anyone passionate about Grand County and its open space and preservation would love a Middle Park Land Trust contribution gifted in his or her name.

• Buy a gift certificate for locally grown produce from Morales Farms in Granby

• Woolf Design Works of Hot Sulphur Springs suggests gifting someone the opportunity to re-upholster an old chair or other piece of furniture

• The Grand Lake Art Gallery sells beetle-kill Christmas ornaments.

• Buy the beer connoisseur a reusable “Growler” of locally made beer at the Grand Lake Brewery

And here’s one of my own suggestions: You can make a contribution or buy a membership to any of the local nonprofits in someone’s name (lord knows they all need the help at the present time) such as local history organizations, the libraries, Mountain Family Center, the schools, Infinite West, Rocky Mountain Nature Association, Grand Huts Association, Grand Foundation . . . and the list goes on.


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