This page offers up-to-date information on VOC's actions in response to the spread of COVID-19.
Last Updated: Friday, April 24, 2020 - 8:45 AM
The safety of our volunteer community is our top priority, and we are committed to doing our part to limit the spread of the virus. For more information on the items below and how these decisions were made, watch our April 20 Kitchen Table Conversation on the right or read the April 23 VOC Voice newsletter.
Organizational & Field Program Updates
- All programs, projects, and trainings have been cancelled through the end of June. If these programs can be rescheduled for later in the year, those who had registered will receive priority registration on the project(s) they signed up for.
- Until a vaccine is developed, we anticipate significant changes to our field programs over the next 6-18 months. When projects and trainings resume, they may look a little different than what you're used to with VOC. See the next section for more information.
- This includes significant changes to our entire project calendar. We are working with our project partners to determine if, how, and when we can complete their projects and will keep this page updated.
- As of April 24, we have had to furlough nearly 50% of our staff until further notice. After reducing non-personnel expenses as much as possible, furloughs were deemed necessary by VOC's Board of Directors and executive staff to preseve the long-term sustainability of the organization.
What VOC is Working On
VOC remains committed to our stewardship mission. To adequately respond to, and prepare for, the duration of this crisis, we are focusing our efforts in four key areas. We are:
- Retooling our project model to keep our volunteers, as well as the communities we serve, safe throughout ongoing COVID-19 precautions. While not final, some of the protocols we are considering include:
- No overnight projects
- Limited project sizes
- Less technical work (e.g. no rock work) to maintain minimum physical distancing of 6'
- Health check protocols for volunteers, staff, and partners
- Volunteers bring their own masks, gloves, and food
- Virtually engaging volunteers. We are developing ways for our community to remotely engage with VOC and outdoor stewardship until projects resume. Stay tuned to Facebook and our Voice e-newsletter for updates.
- Collaborating with our stewardship partners. We are in continuing conversations with land managers and other stewardship organizations to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on public lands and prepare a coordinated response.
- Sharing what we learn with others. Through these conversations and our own work to update VOC's program model, we will gather best practices for safe stewardship efforts and freely share them with other organizations to adapt and use. We are currently collecting helpful resources for organizations on our Stepping Up Stewardship Toolkit site.
How You Can Help
Parks, trails, and open spaces are seeing increased use during this time, the impacts of which are compounded by the lack of VOC volunteers able to care and maintain these well-loved places. Here are a few ways to help VOC and Colorado's public lands:
- Donate. With much of our funding tied directly to projects, and in-person fundraisers cancelled, VOC needs your support to make it through the COVID-19 crisis and continue our stewardship mission.
- When recreating, stay home or close to it. It is difficult (if not impossible) to maintain safe social distancing on busy or singletrack trails, and less-populated areas tend to have fewer resources available if you get injured or spread infection. It is also important to avoid risky activities to avoid further strain on our medical facilities and first responders.
- We are also committed to supporting our business partners during this uncertain time; please click here to view the list of our recent partners and how you can help #SupportOurSupporters.
- For those looking for immediate volunteer opportunities, here are a few options:
- Make and donate face masks to VOC. These may be required for future projects, and we'll need some on hand for volunteers who forget theirs at home. Click here, here or here for how-to guides, and contact us when you're ready to donate.
- Contribute to citizen science efforts from your own home via iNaturalist.
- Visit HelpColoradoNow.org to find volunteer opportunities to help those most affected by COVID-19 in Colorado.
About COVID-19 in Colorado
- VOC is regularly monitoring the latest information from the state and national government as well as public health institutions.
- CDC guidelines suggest that transmission can occur between people in a 5-minute period within a distance of less than 6 feet, regardless of whether you are inside or outside, and the virus can live on surfaces for several hours.