Thursday, December 23, 2010

Donate to the Ute Learning Garden

The Ute Learning Garden covers two and one-half acres and is an example of the plant life zones of western Colorado from the low desert to the ponderosa pine – aspen zone.  This site promotes cultural diversity, educates people on native plants, promotes water conservation, creates intergenerational appreciation and provides a site where schoolchildren and adults alike learn about Native Americans, life zones of Western Colorado, and native plants and their uses.

We don’t charge our visitors and even cover the cost of busing students from area schools. 523 area children and 277 adults join us at the Ute Learning Garden on organized tours in 2010. The student activities we provide are based on their curriculum of study and support the educational goals of their teachers.

I would encourage students and teachers to visit and learn about the history of western Colorado and the previous residents of this area. If you are interested in learning more about guided tours contact Susan Rose at 244-1841 or

This project funds lodging, transportation and meals for Ute Indian students and elders from the Ute Indian reservation in Utah to visit and present two PowWows, one in June, the other in September.

Much of western Colorado was previously identified as the site of the Ute Indian reservation but in 1881 the Ute Indians were forcefully escorted be the US Army to a reservation in Utah. This project provides an opportunity for Ute Indians to visit their old home site and learn about their ancestors’ and how they lived. This is also an opportunity to provide local residents an opportunity to mingle with and learn from the Ute Indians.

Signs placed throughout the gardens highlight the various native plants and how they were used by the Ute Indians. Wickiups and cooking hearths, all historically accurate, are located throughout the gardens. More permanent signs are being developed for installation in early spring of 2011.

Ute Indian Erected the TeePee
The teepee on site is of Plains Indian design. When funding is available a Ute Indian teepee will be erected. When the Ute Indian students and elders erected our current teepee, many of the Indian youth stated they had never been that close to a teepee let alone help put one up.

Even though this project is located on Mesa County property, county funds are not used to maintain the gardens, support busing of students to the site, or cover the other costs necessary to keep this project alive. Consequently your donations to this project are critical. Your donations help provide funding for the busing of students, cover the cost of items needed to maintain the garden, including irrigation supplies, plants, and decomposed granite for walkways, and support our effort to bring Ute Indian students and their elders back to their native land. Hopefully we can install a riparian site this coming spring.

Fire up your computer and go to and make your secure donation. If you would prefer, you can send a check made out to the CSU Foundation – Ute Learning Garden in care of Dr. Curtis Swift at P.O. Box 20,000-5028, Grand Junction, CO 81502-5028. You will receive a tax credit from the Colorado State University Foundation for your contribution.

You can also drop off gobs of cash or stocks and bonds at my office at the Mesa County Fairgrounds. Every bit helps! Have a great Holiday Season

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