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News: Features & Opinions Archive (2010)

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Date: August 2010

Tookie Scherder, 2010's Newest OSAC Member

Tookie Scherder 2010 Newest OSAC Member Every morning, as she drives down from Pine to her job with an engineering firm in Morrison, Tookie Scherder is reminded anew of why she moved to Colorado, and ultimately into the Foothills. "When I first moved to Colorado," says Scherder, "I lived near the Tech Center. I would drive across town to the open spaces of Jefferson County, just because they’re so beautiful, and for a runner, the trails are just wonderful." Scherder stayed on the southeast side of town until she became an empty-nester, at which point she re-located to Jefferson County. She laughingly tells of the frustrations experienced by her real estate agent during the search for her new home: "My agent would call me with a great deal ona property, but I would turn it down simply because it wasn’t in Jefferson County."

Scherder’s passion for open space led her to join TUTF, the Trail Users Task Force, and various hiking groups, but even these activities weren’t enough to satisfy her need to connect with open space. So when a slot on the Jefferson County Open Space Advisory Committee opened up last winter, she quickly filled out the appropriate forms, started networking, and ultimately got the appointment. She’s an alternate, but even alternates get to attend every meeting - which she’s been doing faithfully.

As a newcomer, she says that one of the biggest challenges she faces are the terms used in committee meetings. She claims that she told some of the other OSAC members "I reserve the right to ask lots of questions, and maybe even some stupid questions, for the entire first year." According to Scherder, every OSAC member has greeted and treated her with respect and patience - and that makes for a tremendously good working relationship.

Born into a military family, Tookie moved around a lot as a child, and she’s seen a lot of the U.S. Visits to the family "back home" involve travel to the state of Georgia. While on this interview, she relayed the following story (and here I paraphrase):

Before heading back to Georgia, I got online and contacted some of the runners’ groups to get information on where the good running is and to find out where it’s safe to run. When I got there, I connected with some of the Georgia runners, and we went out for a run. We were running on pavement - roads, sidewalks, and the like. Then it struck me - the idea that JeffCo has had the foresight to set aside open space lands for hikers and runners and bikers and equestrians and just for breathing makes me proud to be a resident of Colorado and Jefferson County.

When asked about her perception of the future of open space, Scherder cited the challenges to the concept of open space. In her purview, she recognizes the need for open space advocates, of which she is one. "I hope to bring the user perspective to the Board, while respecting and protecting our preserved areas. I hope to be around for a long time", says Scherder. "I hope to stay the course, and to be able to advocate for open space, despite the upcoming challenges" - referring to various issues which will be on this November’s election ballot. "Unlike Plan Jeffco, which I think of as a crusader organization, OSAC members are advocates. Together, we can save and enhance the Open Space program."

So, if you see Scherder, running the trails of Pine Valley, Flying J, Lair O’ the Bear, or any other Open Space park, wave "hi" to our newest OSAC member, one whose passion for open space shines as brightly as her smile.

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