As I traveled home for Thanksgiving this week, I thought about the commonwealth assets that I knew my community offered. Off the top of my head, these included: wildlife and the natural world, foodshed, health, education, history, soil and mineral cycle, sense of place, water cycle, and spirituality. From my experience with my internship thus far, I was aware that my community offered all 12, but I struggled to identify the remaining: renewable energy, arts & culture, leisure & recreation.
I always enjoy taking walks when I am home, to enjoy the dirt roads and wide open spaces. During my stroll, I found multiple traces of wildlife tracks, including pheasants, deer and coyotes. Fall time in Eastern Colorado often brings wildlife of many forms, often close enough to see from peoples’ back yards. Here are a few pictures of the wildlife tracks I got to see on my afternoon stroll.
Another prominent key asset that I must recognize is foodshed. Farming and food production are among the highest in the state in Cheyenne County, producing corn, wheat, milo and sunflowers. Corn harvest had come to a close mid-November, but farmers were busy spraying and tilling; it seems they never get a true “break.” Below is a picture of I took of wheat harvest this summer around July. Wheat harvest is easily the busiest season in Cheyenne County, typically occurring from June first-August first for some farmers.
Though I had wondered about the presence of art and culture, it came to my attention quite obviously that there is art and culture all around us in Cheyenne County, and especially Eastern Colorado. As we are surrounded by plains, livestock, wildlife, beautifully architectured homes, churches, ect., it is not uncommon to find local artists using their crafts to tell the creative story of our heritage. In the local convenience store, I noticed drawings and paintings done by local artists of all ages. I was unable to take a picture, but most of the art consisted of barns, fields, tractors, flowers, and cows. I was glad to see that our local community is using their skills to advertise our beautiful landscape and livestock.