My Echo Story: High Country Conservation |

My Echo Story: High Country Conservation

Jennifer Santry
HC3 community programs director
Special to the Daily

Thanks to the HC3 Living Classroom Community Garden and Greenhouse, local children are eating cucumbers like pickles and tomatoes like candy. In fact, over 70 youth toured – and enjoyed the produce of – the Frisco-based Living Classroom last year. With support from Vail Resorts Echo, HC3 recently expanded the Living Classroom with the new Vail Resorts Echo Youth Garden, allowing children to get their hands dirty, discover where food comes from and think about healthy eating. HC3 hopes to provide a beneficial learning environment at the youth garden for more than 200 school students this year.

Constructing the youth garden has truly been a community effort. Colorado Master Gardeners designed the plot; local Eagle Scouts built the beds; and volunteers are working to plant and maintain the garden this summer. True to HC3’s mission of reusing and recycling, we incorporated an old bathtub and sink in the design, and sunflowers and snap peas are attracting butterflies and bees. The garden also features educational signage and opportunities to feature hands-on family workshops about gardening, farming and composting. HC3 compost and food programs, supported by VR Echo for the last four years, will now return full-circle at the youth garden, where visiting children can grow food from composted food waste.

So, what’s the true impact of HC3’s new youth garden? It can be measured from the stories of garden visitors, including the 27 Frisco Elementary second-graders who enjoyed the area last fall. Learning about local food production and healthy eating, the students harvested 16 pounds of zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes and salad greens for their school cafeteria. Many of the kids hardly made it out without taking a bite of the produce in their hands. It goes to show that a little dirt, sweat, and TLC can make you appreciate fresh veggies from the garden.

Vail Resorts Echo aims to connect our communities to our efforts – from on-the-ground conservation programs to grants for local schools. Vail Resorts Echo encompasses three core efforts: environmental stewardship, charitable giving and community engagement. Learn more about VR Echo at

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