RECOGNIZING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE THORNE ECOLOGICAL INSTITUTE -- (Extensions of Remarks - July 07, 2004)
SPEECH OF HON. MARK UDALL OF COLORADO IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 2004
Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the 50th anniversary of the Thorne Ecological Institute (TEI), its record of providing ecological education and environmental awareness to countless numbers of young people, and its development of forward-looking environmental policies.
I believe that many of the problems which face our Nation can be solved through better understanding and awareness of our natural surroundings. For 50 years, the Thorne Ecological Institute has been dedicated to fulfilling this goal by giving hands-on experience to children and adults in Colorado.
In 1954, Dr. Oakleigh Thorne, II, established the Thorne Ecological Institute in hopes of bringing environmental education to the community of Boulder, Colorado. He taught a variety of courses at the University of Colorado at Boulder, working to increase his students' understanding of the environment and its complex interrelationships. His goal was to "connect people to nature," and the last 50 years have seen this goal met with great success. To this day, the Thorne Ecological Institute maintains its commitment to environmental education, now with a focus on children and young people in the Colorado's Front Range. Innovative programs like Project BEAR-Building Environmental Awareness and Respect-reach inner-city children and establish a connection with the wonders of nature, an invaluable accomplishment and contribution to our society.
In addition to their outstanding efforts with children, the Institute was a catalyst in establishing environmental organizations in Colorado, including the first chapters of the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, and the Denver Audubon Society. These organizations have been essential to the protection and promotion of Colorado's environment, and their impact is a direct result of Dr. Thorne's pioneering work.
I would also like to recognize the Thorne Ecological Institute for its innovation within environmental policy. The City of Boulder has been honored nationally for its policy of buying open-space to ensure a high quality of life for its residents. We must remember, though, that the Institute played a critical role in developing this landmark policy.
Moreover, long before the Environmental Protection Agency required environmental impact studies, the TEI was conducting them in Colorado to increase understanding of the consequences of commercial development and to lay the foundation for their mitigation.
Mr. Speaker, environmental understanding and protection of environmental quality are things close to my heart-and the Thorne Ecological Institute has been at the forefront of the environmental movement in the Rockies for 50 years. Under the leadership of Dr. Oakleigh Thorne, II, the TEI has fulfilled the dream of connecting people to nature. I congratulate the Thorne Ecological Institute for its accomplishments and ask my colleagues to join me in appreciation.