GCA National Affairs and Legislation: Three Amazing Days

Sunday p.m. – What a great beginning! We heard from the group C-Change Conversations, whose members promote informed discussion about climate change – totally removing partisan rhetoric from scientific data about change over time and what we can do about it now.
After an afternoon of information, we hopped on a bus with a box dinner and toured the Washington monuments at night. It was a perfect end to the day, and seeing the memorials at night was enchanting.
Monday – was jam-packed with speakers from The Nature Conservancy, Earthjustice, American Farmland Trust, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Wildlife Federation, and US Department of Agriculture, all informing us about the environment and health based on their research.
Did you know?

  • People in cities with more green areas have fewer mental health problems.
  • Spending a few hours “forest bathing “decreases blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Over the last three years, 26 legislative rollbacks to air emission controls have occurred.
  • Ocean corals can be 4,000 years old. Researchers are mapping coastal ocean canyons with deep water vehicles to aid in conserving these reefs that protect thousands of animal communities.
  • Biodiversity is intimately related to conservation of native plants.

Tuesday – we headed to the Capitol and spent the day in the Ways and Means Committee Room where we heard from Senators and Representatives regarding conservation issues. The docket included Sen. Maria Cantwell(D-WA), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse(D-RI), Windsome McIntosh (The McIntosh Foundation), Rep. David Cicilline(D-RI), Rep. Garrett Greaves(R-LA), Rep. Matt Cartright(D-PA) and more. This was another day packed to the brim with information. 
At the end of the day, our foursome from Denver (Barb Hamman, Cindy Scott, Suellen White and Caroline Rassenfoss) walked over to the United States Botanic Garden where we got out of the rain and were greeted by an incredible orchid collection and stunning orchid wall.
We walked back to our hotel via Constitution Ave. just in time to change for the final evening NAL dinner at the Mayflower Hotel. The evening’s speaker was Theodore Roosevelt V. A soft spoken but passionate environmentalist, Mr. Roosevelt reminded us once again of the importance of our work as stewards of our Earth. The dinner was lovely, complete with white tulips to grace the center of each table.
Wednesday – we went to The Hill to lobby for four main bills related to the position papers of the GCA:

  1. Land and Water Conservation Fund, – S.1081 (for FULL funding from the funds acquired from drilling rights, etc.)
  2. Restore our Parks, Parks, Public Lands and Native Plants – S. 500, H.1225
  3. Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, – S. 1982
  4. ATIA – Transportation, Infrastructure and Pollinator Highways – S.2302

What a treat it was meeting with the staff of our Representatives DeGette, Neguse and Senators Bennet and Gardner! Thanks for the chance to represent all of you, the Garden Club of Denver.
Since then: (February 28, 2020) Representatives Cartwright and Stefanik introduced a Bill to Protect Native Plants in National Parks via a Pilot Project. This project aims to prevent the spread of invasive non-native species, which can outcompete the natives that “play an important role in natural water filtration, erosion control and capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide.”
Also, The Denver Post reported that Senator Gardner persuaded the President to “back a plan that invests $900 million a year to fund the LWCF and an additional $1 billion a year to pay for a backlog of maintenance projects in national parks.