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Park City Community Foundation Announces Climate Fund Recipients

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The Park City Climate Fund was created following the Mountain Towns 2030 climate summit in October 2019, where dozens of representatives from government, businesses and nonprofits met to discuss solutions to the impacts of climate change. Ollie Wilder, community impact director at the Park City Community Foundation, says the foundation wanted to support organizations searching for answers.

“It's a global issue, but it's also a local one," Wilder said. "Our whole economy, or a lot of our economy, is based around snow sports, and a lot of that is at risk because of climate change.”

Of 36 applicants, the Park City Community Foundation awarded $175,000 in grants to three organizations: Recycle Utah, TreeUtah and Utah Clean Energy. Recycle Utah and TreeUtah each received $50,000; Utah Clean Energy $75,000. Wilder says those amounts are much greater than what the foundation usually awards.

“We felt like climate is such a significant, big issue that we wanted to make sure these grants were high-impact grants,” Wilder said.

Recycle Utah will embark on a zero-waste campaign with its funding, helping the community define what zero-waste means for Park City. Recycle Utah Director Carolyn Wawra says there’s a lot of room for improvement around education about what can and can’t be recycled.

“A lot of other communities that do zero waste, it's very in your face," Wawra said. "You'll be walking through somewhere like Main Street, and there's a bin that says 'recycling—here's what goes in this bin; trash—here's what goes in this bin; compost—here's what goes in this bin.”

TreeUtah is going to plant thousands of trees in the Park City area, and Utah Clean Energy—which supported the passage of 2019’s Community Renewable Energy Act—will organize community players to make the human-made environment more energy-efficient.

Another group, the Park City High School Earth Club, received $6,000 from a smaller fund. Wilder explained what the students plan to do with the money.

“They’re going to be doing things like trying to get Styrofoam out of the kitchens at the school, out of the lunchroom," Wilder said. "School composting, and also try to get students and others to take on better practices, such as don't drive to school as much, use reusable water bottles and otherwise.”

Wilder says the Park City Community Foundation intends to continue the climate fund and encourages applicants who didn’t make the cut this year to apply again. The next round of applications will likely open this fall.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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