Common Wealth Assets

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By Alea Wittler

At first glance, it’s hard to think of commonwealth assets in my community, but there are actually a bunch! First, what is a Commonwealth Asset? There are twelve key Assets of Commonwealth that include; Education, Health, Leisure & Recreation, Spirituality, History, Sense of Place, Arts & Culture, Water Cycle, Wildlife & The Natural World, Soil & Mineral Cycle, Foodshed, and Renewable Energy. These assets are always present in any community and they are how Ogallala Commons focuses its energy, time, and resources on helping to revitalize small communities among the Ogallala Aquifer. Some assets in my own community (Baca County) include; five schools in the county along with healthcare in Springfield (a central location for everyone in the community), plenty of basketball courts, community centers, and lakes for recreation and leisure. My community also has a very strong spirituality asset as there are a bunch of churches sprinkled about my community. My area is FILLED with history, there are stories everywhere about how the towns were made and started, how some towns survived and others didn’t, and there is still a little of what seems like a grudge held between towns because some of the towns feel like the county seat was stolen from them! The sense of place is very strong in my community. A lot of people are very proud of their heritage and culture. Something that often represents this sense of pride is the beautiful sunsets we have here, and the many windmills the represent the area as well! Speaking of windmills, that and solar energy panels are how renewable energy is harnessed in my area. The water cycle is achieved with the rain and the water in the canyons we have here, the canyons also contribute to the wildlife asset as well as they are filled with animals! Since Baca County is a big farming area, the soil and mineral cycle is often used when farming and in the massive wind storms, we have when it blows around to a new place! In conclusion, there are many more assets in my community than might meet the eye and they are each vital to keeping the community healthy!    

Here is an example of a watershed asset near me. This picture was taken at Carrizo Canyon
My area has a strong food shed asset and part of that is our large agricultural culture!