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Non-Profit Happenings May 2012

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation logoThe Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. The Canyonlands Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was established twenty-two years ago, just six years after the national chapter was established in Missoula, Montana. Since that time, the Canyonlands Chapter has spent countless hours and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to aid in the mission of the organization.

To date, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has protected and enhanced over 6 million acres, supported over 7,400 projects and has restored long-absent elk populations to states throughout the east. In the state of Utah the Elk Foundation has conserved or enhanced approximately 918,000 acres and has funded over 315 projects that vary from habitat enhancement to wildlife studies. Multiple projects have been done locally in the Book Cliffs, La Sals and Elk Ridge which include noxious weed eradication, placement of guzzlers, spring enhancement and juniper thinning.

Elk are members of the cervid family along with deer, moose and caribou. There are six recognized subspecies of elk in North America (two became extinct in the late 1800s) with all of the elk in Utah of the subspecies known as Rocky Mountain elk. Statewide elk populations range around 68,000 and local populations hold approximately 2,300 elk in the La Sals, 4,650 in the Book Cliffs and 1,400 in the Abajos and Elk Ridge.

Photo of a Bull Elk in the snow and treesCow Elk in the WinterElk males, females and young are known as bulls, cows and calves, respectively. Calves are born in May or June into nursery bands of gregarious cows and calves. Within weeks the nursery bands will disperse into smaller groups across their summer range. At this same time, bulls can be found banded together in “bachelor groups”. In early September the rut begins, in which bulls begin to bugle and gather cows into harems. Bulls vigorously defend their harems from other “satellite” bulls attempting to breed their cows. After the rut, bulls will return to their bachelor groups in which they will spend the remainder of the year.

Elk are a generalist ungulate (Latin word for “hoof”), and have a varied diet which consists of grasses, forbs and shrubs. This flexible diet allows elk to live in a variety of habitat types including all of Utah’s mountains as well as some of the low deserts. It is common for the elk of Utah to spend their summers at high elevations in aspen conifer forests and the winter at mid to low elevation habitats which might include mountain shrub and sagebrush communities.

Annually the Canyonlands Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation holds their Big Game Banquet. This evening is an elaborate event in which volunteers put together an evening of auctions (live and silent) raffles and games, meant to generate funding for the mission of the foundation. This year’s annual banquet will take place at the Grand Center on May 19th. If you’re interested in attending, donating or volunteering for the event reference our website at
and be sure to mention you read it in Moab Happenings.

Strategic Planning for non-profits

The WabiSabi Nonprofit Network (WSNN) will be hosting a free workshop for nonprofit organizations May 17th, 2012 at Zions Bank. Fraser Nelson, founder and Managing Director of the Community Foundation of Utah, will focus on Strategic Planning and Social Enterprise for the nonprofit organization. Lunch will be provided.

This workshop aims to give organizations new ideas and simple tools they can use to build their organization for longevity. From 11:00am-12:30pm, Strategic Planning for Capacity and Capital will explore how nonprofits can develop a practical strategic plan that can help build capital and capacity, in an energizing way. 1:00-2:00pm, Are you Ready for Social Enterprise?, looks at how social enterprise can bring a sustainable, positive, impact on people and communities by creating jobs for individuals who have been shut out of the workforce and in the process, help non-profit organizations reduce their dependence on annual donations.

From 2:00-2:30pm, Fraser in turn will ask Moab nonprofits how the Community Foundation of Utah can better serve the Moab area. She will also present information about a new online tool called “Days of Giving” that brings new donors to agencies and a new awareness of the value of the nonprofit sector to our communities.

Fraser Nelson has held positions of leadership in nonprofit organizations large and small in places as diverse as Appalachia, Minneapolis, Seattle and New York City and has a deep understanding of the role they play in improving civic welfare. In 2008 she and venture capitalist Greg Warnock founded the Community Foundation of Utah. The foundation helps people gather assets and ideas to serve Utah. Fraser also teaches nonprofit management classes for the David Eccles School of Business, the Nonprofit Academy, and the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Utah.

The WabiSabi Nonprofit Network exists to help local organizations and individuals more effectively meet the needs of our community. It is funded in part by the United Way of Southeastern Utah. The network strengthens the presence of nonprofits in our area, educates the public on the value of these organizations, enhances member groups’ effectiveness, and encourages networking. WSNN meets regularly and encourages more organizations to join the conversation.

Please contact Jeff Cohen at (435) 259-2553 for more information or to register for this workshop.

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