Dedicated to the memory of the Windstar Foundation
John Denver had a dream from the time he was a young boy. He spent a lot of time outside, by himself, finding inspiration from nature. A place as simple as a tall cottonwood tree, in which he could nestle himself in the high branches, provided sanctuary and perspective. Perched in the arms of such a tall tree, he thought about finding a place where people could gather from all over the world-to be nourished and inspired, to learn and to connect with his first and best teacher, the Earth itself. Many years later, at a time when he was the No. 1 recording artist in the world, he had the opportunity to bring that dream to life. He bought nearly 1000 acres of land near Old Snowmass, Colorado. He gave that special land to the Windstar Foundation. It became what John was seeking. John had a deep desire for the Windstar Land to be conserved and protected in perpetuity. It was a great source of peace to him to know this dream of his too had come true with the creation of the Windstar Land Conservancy and the signing of the conservation easement that safeguards the Windstar Land from developement. John saw the Windstar Land as a symbol of the importance of the wild places throughout the Earth. He hoped that other landowners would be inspired by the actions taken by the Boards of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Windstar Foundation and the National Wildlife Federation that enabled the creation of the Windstar Land Conservancy-and that many others would provide conservation protection for the open space lands in their care.
25 September 2012
Dear Friends and Supporters of The Windstar Foundation,
It is with mixed emotions that we bring you the following somewhat sad as well as exciting news for the future.
As many of you know The Windstar Foundation was once a thriving vision of the future, so far
ahead of its time, so very long ago. We like to refer to those days as the Camelot days of Windstar, with John Denver and Tom Crum, so full of promise and hope within their hearts and minds, dreams and visions of a world that worked. Their magnetic love and friendship drew thinkers, dreamers and lovers, lovers of this world, lovers of mankind and lovers of the land. They drew scientists like Bucky Fuller and Amory Lovins, they drew politicians and celebrities and they drew you and me.
The heart of The Windstar Foundation was to be about collaboration, about peace, about you and me creating a brotherhood and a sisterhood of stewardship and friendship, creating a global family of connectedness. Realizing the beauty within each other, seen and unseen, just in the knowing that we were family.
This October the 12th marks the fifteenth anniversary of John’s final sunset. The quality and care that John’s love radiated to us whilst he was here, still infuses many of us with purpose today. As we remember John, we remember his driving passions for the environment, human rights, peace, ending world hunger, teaching stewardship and brotherhood.
John had a deep desire for the Windstar Land to be conserved and protected in perpetuity. It was a great source of peace to him to know this dream had come true with the creation of the Windstar Land Conservancy (WLC) and the signing of the conservation easement that safeguards the Windstar Land from development. We discovered within the past few months during conversations with Joe Henry and Tom Crum that John’s intention as far back as 1996 was to close The Windstar Foundation and merge its purpose with the WLC.
With sadness we realized that keeping the Windstar Foundation alive was our perspective of what John would have wanted and not his true intention. As the life force of the Foundation faded away, so did financial support from many of our supporters and friends. We found ourselves standing alone, trying to survive spiritually and financially, wondering what we could do to bring the spirit back.
So we looked around, opened our eyes and opened our hearts and then we realized: WE ARE THE WINDSTAR LAND CONSERVANCY! The WLC is made up of representatives from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the Windstar Foundation. Within the WLC we have a shared goal of a sustainable future, a faith in human ingenuity, common sense and a global perspective. John formed the partnership between The Windstar Foundation and RMI, because he had the presence of mind to see that our styles and strengths were complimentary.
Three years ago The Windstar Foundation formed a partnership with A.S.P.E.N. Tree who began sponsoring the Windstar Earth Camps through their Foundation. A year ago we discovered that the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation has been sponsoring a 100 plus homeless and hungry individuals and is planning to build a homeless shelter with transitional housing in near future.
After careful consideration our Board of Trustees voted on Saturday the 22nd September 2012, to close The Windstar Foundation. We will transfer our assets to the WLC Foundation and from this base we will align our energies with RMI, A.S.P.E.N. Tree and the Aspen Homeless Shelter. Three remaining Board members will oversee this transition. It is our Board of Trustees belief that it is time to set The Windstar Foundation’s Spirit free and to finally fulfill John’s wishes. This is not the end of Windstar, simply a change of direction. The Windstar name will live on through the Windstar Land Conservancy and through the organizations that it partners with.
We would like to thank all of you who have supported The Windstar Foundation through the good times and down times. We will be setting up a Windstar Land Conservancy Website to keep you up to date as things develop. We would also like to invite you all to a special sunset service on the Windstar land on October 12t.h (please arrive by 6pm as sunset is at 6:19pm).
Please know that this was a decision of the heart and the “Living” Windstar lives on in our hearts and in the choices we all continue to make.
Peace, love and every blessing
Karmen Doplsaff President
Allison Smith Vice President
JoLynn Long Treasurer
“Significant contributions carry their own merit. They need not to depend on a name, a place, or an entity. People, as individuals
and as groups, are making a conscious commitment to taking responsible action in creating a more vital and enlightened world. May the spirit of Windstar flow freely through each of us daily, cleansing us of our counterproductive stories, releasing our judgments and carrying us forward to light the way for others.”
A heritage of vision was given to us all
To smell the rose’s fragrance
To hear the songbirds’s call
To watch the distant moonlight fill
The coming of the tides
To understand that life is more
Than always choosing sides.