Friday, June 24, 2003  content presented by Telluride Today .com About The Watch

This Week's Stories

Farmers Market Returns Friday


In deference to the peopled-chaos of Bluegrass, the Telluride Farmers Market skipped a Friday last week in order to allow the seeming millions of festivarians room to enter and exit Town Park. Vendors of locally grown, organic produce and meats return to Telluride this Friday from 1-6 p.m. on the lot north of the Post Office. The market, immediately popular after its debut ten days ago, will be held every Friday, 1-6 p.m., through September.


Stonefly Fever on the Gunny

Fly-Fishing's Premier Event

By Brett Schreckengost

Fly-fishing aficionados from Telluride and all over the country made the annual pilgrimage to the Gunnison River over the last two weeks to join in one of the most celebrated events of the angling season, the stonefly hatch.

At no other time do the large Gunnison trout feed as voraciously on aquatic bugs as during the stonefly hatch. The fish simply cannot ignore the presence of the largest aquatic insect in the stream during this spectacle.

If anglers time their trip to the river just right, they can expect some of the most outstanding fly-fishing found anywhere. Throwing large clothespin-sized dry flies to hungry trophy trout is considered by most as the pinnacle of the Western Colorado fly-fishing season. And this year's hatch lived up to its legendary reputation for all that visited the Gunnison over the last two weeks.

The stoneflies reside in the river all year long, hanging out underneath rocks until the time comes for them to carry on the species. Intent on duplicating the mating ritual their parents completed several seasons earlier, the Pteronarcys californica – commonly known as the stonefly or salmonfly – emerge shortly after trout have come out of a long, hard winter.

Along the bank just below the Warner Trail access point this past week, a procession of dark chocolate colored stoneflies marched toward the shore leaving small tracks across muddied rocks exposed by the sudden drop in water level.

They advanced toward the cliff banks, willows, and the sheltered undersides of everything within short flying distance of the river, breaking out of their shucks, unfolding their wings and scurrying over each other continuously until the romance is over.

Stoneflies require unpolluted, fast flowing waters like the Gunnison, whose bottom is paved with large rocks for them to cling to. Unlike other aquatic insects, which hatch on a yearly cycle, stoneflies remain nymphs for an average of three years before journeying to shore to hatch. Consequently, stonefly nymphs of varying size are always present for trout. For example, after a period of particularly heavy precipitation, water levels rise quickly, dislodging many of the hiding nymphs and washing them downstream where trout quickly take advantage of their sudden presence.

During their exodus from the river prior to hatching, stoneflies migrate laterally toward shore across the river bottom, exposing themselves to trout looking for an easy meal. Emergence generally begins at night and lasts into the morning hours. Once out of the river, stoneflies seek shelter in the branches of willows, rocks or trees. There the stoneflies's skins air-dry; they become brittle and split open, introducing the winged adults to life above water. After hatching, adult stoneflies mate immediately. Soon after mating, the female stonefly sails over the river, depositing her fertilized eggs. Skipping across the water, dipping her abdomen into the surface, she allows her eggs to fall to the bottom, thus completing another cycle of a stonefly life. Female stones typically make several journeys over the river surface.

Clumsy fliers under the best conditions, stoneflies frequently miscalculate their sweeps to the surface, crash into the surface and become hopelessly mired in water. Their wings become too wet to allow them to fly free and their bodies become too heavy to lift. When that happens, trout exhibit slashing strikes as they snap at the hapless adults. When water is clear enough to allow trout to see to the surface, casting a dry stonefly pattern provides what many consider to be the epitome of freshwater trout fishing experiences.

To find the insects, trout hold in places the fish would normally not find nymphs. Many larger trout will brave exposure to predatory fish-eating birds and mammals just to take advantage of stoneflies. Effectively hidden by relatively opaque water of spring run-off, trout become quite bold, occasionally holding in water just deep enough to hide them.

Other factors also come into play in this dance of the hunter and the hunted. Trout don't like having to filter dirty water through their gills; slower water near shore is cleaner, as it does not hold silt particles in suspension. The fact that trout willingly seek out the large bugs makes fishing for them all the more exciting. It is wonderful to discover the places big trout will hold to get their fill of stoneflies. Of the many stonefly species, larger ones attract the attention of big fish.
Big trout will often take up temporary residence in shallow water to slurp up any love-struck stonefly that, blown by a sudden gust of wind, falls off a branch.

The fly fisher's skill in imparting action to the fly is an important ingredient to imitating struggling insects properly. Presentations need not always be delicate. When stoneflies hit the water they do so noisily. Fish know that and often close in quickly, possibly anticipating what fell in. This makes it easier for the beginner fly fisher who has not yet mastered a light touch with their rod. The angler can also get away with using very heavy tippet line to attach the fly, which results in a lot less lost flies and broken off fish.

As other hatches do, a stonefly hatch progresses upstream, starting first in the lower reaches of the river and playing itself out far upstream. As with all aquatic insects hatchings, stonefly hatches are triggered when the water reach an optimum temperature, depending on the river. Day by day, stoneflies will hatch progressively farther upstream until the hatch is over for the year. Sudden changes in weather can alter the predictability of the hatch however, slowing it at times or even stopping it altogether until conditions improve.

The key to properly fishing this hatch is to remember that the salmonfly doesn't hatch from the water like a mayfly or caddis fly. Rather, it crawls from the water as a nymph and ditches its exoskeleton on rocks near the river. Then it will crawl into nearby trees for mating prior to clumsily testing its wings or getting blown into the river.

Armed with this basic knowledge of the salmonfly's life cycle, Gunnison anglers should key their search for feeding trout closer to the bank rather than farther away from it. The black cliff faces and grassy banks always attract the larger fish.


Current Conditions on the Gunnison River
Courtesy of the Colorado Division of Wildlife

In the Gunnison Gorge the river is flowing at 390 cfs and the big pteronarcys hatch is winding down. Best shot is closer to Warner. Dry dropper technique works best with #6 Rogue Stone, Fluttering Stone, Sofa Pillow, Chernobyl Stone, Stimulator for adults and any Gold Bead nymph. Also #6 Bitch Creek, Girdle Bug, Woolly Bugger, Kaufmann Stone, Yellow Sally, Golden stone, PMD and caddis patterns.

Though the canyon the water is flowing at about 350 cfs and is clear. The pteronarcys (Western Salmonfly) hatch has already moved up to Chukar Trail. Three days ago they started on top and are getting better every day. Fishing is great. They are hitting on everything right now, especially big black stones. Caddis, Mayflies and Pheasant Tails are also hot.


Attention All Runners: It's Time to Register for Imogene

Imogene Pass Now Open, but Icy


It's not too soon to start training for the world-famous Imogene Pass Run, marking its 30th anniversary this year.

The roster has a total of 1400 slots, reports race director John Jett. "Every year we up the numbers" of slots for racers, he adds. "We added another 100 spots this year, and sold out five days faster." Internet registrations alone ran 500 the first day.

Local runners get a break, however; registration is still open for runners with San Miguel and Ouray County addresses.

The Imogene Pass Run started in 1974, when Camp Bird Mine worker and Ouray resident Rick Trujillo gathered up some friends to race from Ouray to Telluride, over the Imogene Pass jeep road, climbing to a height of 13,114 feet as it crests the summit of Imogene Pass.

The race has become an annual pilgrimage for some; the race boasts a runner return

rate over 50 percent; and with many participants who have run the Imogene more than ten times.

Over the years, runners have braved everything from strong winds to rain, lightning and snow, making hats, jackets and gloves required for all participants, with modern wicking/waterproof materials recommended.

The race timing has gone high tech, as well, with Timing Chips – small transponder chips the size of a quarter – worn on runners' ankles, attached by Velcro straps. When the runner crosses the finish line – a special computer mat records their time.

"With this system," says Jett, "we will be recording spit times at Upper Camp Bird and the Summit." The Timing Chips are part of "the same system used at the Boston Marathon" and other major races, he adds.

The Imogene Pass Run takes place Saturday, Sept. 6, with runners departing Ouray at 7:30 a.m. The finish line is at the intersection of North Oak and Columbia streets, in Telluride, and will be open until 2:30 p.m. An awards presentation is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Elks Park. For info, check out, or call Jet at 728-0521 for info – or too volunteer!


Local Passes for 30th Telluride Film Festival Go On Sale Friday


The Telluride Film Festival will be selling locals’ passes for six days only from their new office in the Mountain Village.

A $500 locals’ festival pass ($625 value) provides admission to all theatres as well as two randomly selected Sheridan Opera House programs and one tribute program.  An Acme Pass, exclusively for screenings at the Chuck Jones Theatre in Mountain Village, costs $300.  A patron pass may be purchased for $3,500.  Visa or MasterCard, checks or money orders made payable to the Telluride Film Festival will be accepted.

These passes will go on sale from l0:30 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, June 27 and June 28, and on Monday-Thursday, June 30 to July 3.

In order to qualify for a locals’ discount, proof of residency in San Miguel County is required. A valid driver’s license, library card, or tax statement will suffice. Photographs must accompany orders or can be emailed digitally to the festival’s home office (cyber details available when passes are bought.)   All local passes must be purchased IN PERSON (no exceptions!) at the Telluride Film Festival Office in the Mountain Village next to Poacher’s Pub on the Town Square (in the Blue Mesa Building, 113 Lost Creek Lane, Suite C2.)

The festival will take place, as always, over Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 29 – Sept.1, 2003.  For even more information, visit the festival’s web site at <>


Two More Lynx Kittens Found in Southwest Colorado


Total Climbs to 16


Colorado Division of Wildlife researchers found another female lynx with two healthy kittens Thursday. Their discover brings to 16 the number of lynx kittens born in the southwest portion of the state this spring.
The kittens, a male and female, were found in a den at 11,000 feet near a steep, rocky slope and cliff with downed timber scattered about. The mother is a lynx that was trapped in the Yukon Territory and released in southwestern Colorado in 2000 as part of the Division’s ongoing lynx reintroduction program.
“This was the most secluded den site yet in a massive blow-down area,” said Tanya Shenk, the Division’s lead lynx researcher. All six dens discovered this spring have been found in remote, rugged high-country terrain near populations of snowshoe hares, the lynx favorite prey.
Like other kittens found this spring, each kitten was briefly examined, hair samples taken for genetic analysis and a tiny tag inserted under the skin to allow future identification. While biologists examine the kittens, the mothers move a short distance away and quickly return to the den as soon as the biologists leave.
Shenk’s crew found the lynx through the radio signal emitted from the collar she was fitted with before she was released. A stationary radio signal indicates the female has likely settled into a den site to have young, prompting the researchers to investigate the site.
The researchers have not noted any signals from male lynx near this most recently discovered female as they had with four other lynx that have given birth this spring. But during the winter tracking season they did see the tracks of a large lynx near the female. The tracks are probably those of a male lynx whose collar had stopped functioning, Shenk said.
Since the first release in 1999, 129 lynx have been released At least 20 have either slipped their collars or the collars have stopped functioning.
Over the next four years, up to 130 more lynx will be released in the core area of southwestern Colorado where previously releases have occurred.



Remains Identified as Those of Missing Montrose Woman


The Montrose County Sheriff's Office launched a homicide investigation after identifying remains found Monday as those of a missing Montrose woman, Irene Trujillo. Trujillo's remains were found at on the premises of Montrose Stone, Inc., the business she owned jointly with her estranged husband Rick Trujillo, according to the Montrose Daily Press.

Irene Trujillo, 47, was last seen when a friend dropped her off at her James Street home around 6:30 p.m. April 9, according to the Press. She was discovered missing two days later when her estranged husband, Rick Trujillo, brought his and Irene's three daughters to her home for their regular weekend visit.

There were no signs of a struggle inside the home and because Trujillo's purse, prescription medicine and cell phone were missing, Montrose police have said it appears she left voluntarily, the Press reported.

According to the Press, Harry Tucker, Jr., a Grand Junction-based attorney and Irene Trujillo's legal counsel in the divorce action, was one of the last people to see her. The afternoon she disappeared Tucker accompanied her to an appointment with her mental health counselor.

"She wasn't depressed. She was glad it was going to be over," Tucker told the Press.

Tucker also told the Press that following her counseling session, Trujillo called a Montrose Stone employee Lionel Lopez to ask for a ride home. At the time the Montrose Police Department did not confirm whether Lopez had driven Trujillo home.

Subsequently Lopez was arrested by Montrose police for allegedly stealing a television and other items from Trujillo's home, reported the Press. No evidence connects the break-in to Irene Trujillo's disappearance, Montrose Police Department Commander Tom Chinn told the Press last week. Montrose County Court Judge John Mitchel, however, has sealed the arrest warrant affidavit for Lopez.

Montrose police are also investigating burglaries of the Montrose Stone offices and of a mobile home on the property, following the disappearance of Trujillo.

Irene Trujillo's remains were found this week when local workers digging to install a freeze-less water hydrant on the Montrose Stone property found items indicating they had uncovered possible human remains, according to a press release issued by Montrose County Coroner Bob Young. The workers placed a 911 call at the time. County sheriff officers arrived a few minutes later to secure the scene. Sheriff's Office command personnel, Montrose County Coroner, the District Attorney's Office and officers with Colorado Bureau of Investigation also responded to the scene. 

On Tuesday Young determined the remains to be human and transported them to Montrose Memorial Hospital for an autopsy. Using unidentified techniques described as in the press release as "modern," the coroner and Dr. Thomas Canfield, a forensic pathologist at the hospital identified the remains as those of Trujillo on Thursday and determined the manner of death as a homicide. Ongoing investigation to determine the cause of death will take several weeks. The autopsy report will not be released until it is complete. 

Tucker told the Press this week that he believes Trujillo was killed and buried on the Montrose Stone property.

"She was murdered," Tucker was quoted in the Press. "I certainly hope they can get enough physical evidence to find out who did that. She didn't deserve that. Her kids don't deserve that."

According to Tucker the Trujillo divorce was "bitter and involved a dispute over the 360-acre Montrose Stone property and the custody of the three Trujillo daughters.


Meditate with Friends

A gathering of friends for spiritual sharing, meditation, philosophical discusson and potluck, Thursday, June 26, 6:30 p.m. at Redcliff, the corner of Galena and Redcliff, behind the Tomboy Inn. Call Michael at 728-6540 or Bob at 718-5517 for info.


Town of Mountain Village


Mountain Village Resident Arrested on Illegal Discharge of Firearm


Mountain Village police officers recently arrested resident Aaron Edward Apanel, age 23, on charges of illegal discharge of a firearm, a class 5 felony, possession of a weapon by a previous offender, a class 6 felony, and reckless endangerment, a class 3 misdemeanor.

The charges stemmed from a May 28 burglary report filed by the occupant of the Village Court apartment located directly above Apanel. The upstairs party reported that upon returning home late in the evening, he found his telephone lying on the floor and damaged. The police determined that a bullet, fired from a weapon located in the apartment downstairs, blew the telephone from its original location on an end table. The bullet, fired from a 7 mm rifle, passed through the ceiling of the lower apartment and into the upstairs apartment, into the end table and through the telephone. The bullet lodged in an interior wall of the victim's apartment.

No one was injured in the incident.

"Fortunately for everyone involved the upstairs apartment was empty at the time," said Mountain Village Police Chief Dale Wood.

Colorado state law defines illegal discharge of a weapon as knowingly or recklessly discharging a firearm into any dwelling, other building, or occupied structure, or into any motor vehicle occupied by any person.

A 7 mm rifle, such as that confiscated from Apanel, is typically used to hunt elk, according to Wood.

"It is a very fast, very accurate bullet," Wood said.

Apanel told police the gun belonged to his mother and he was trying to sell the gun for her. When the gun discharged Apanel was showing the gun to a prospective buyer. He was booked into the San Miguel County jail on a $2,500 bond.


In the Sawpit Style: Each Sandwich Its Own Custom Mayonnaise at Merle’s


Sawpit Mercantile Hosts a New Café


By Martinique Davis


“It’s just about making good food,” says Shawn Merie Metke, chef at the newly-opened Merle’s Café in the Sawpit Mercantile, down valley’s newest location for great, reasonably priced lunch and breakfast eats.

Metke couldn’t be more right-on about the good food part, either. From her sinfully scrumptious French toast and gooey caramel cinnamon rolls, to her roasted pepper and portabello mushroom-infused breakfast burrito, to the classic tasty breakfast sandwich, Metke cooks up a mean meal – and that’s just for breakfast.  Merle’s Café began serving lunch as well just this week, a move that will surely please the palates of every down valley traveler to stumble upon Sawpit Mercantile’s culinary treasures.

One look at the menu and most customers are eager to try out Metke’s classic breakfast and lunch favorites – in the Sawpit style, of course.  And after one taste, they’re sure to be hooked.  Metke’s ability to combine traditional café recipes with her own signature splash of flavor builds a breakfast or lunch sandwich that makes the trip down valley worth every minute of the drive.

On the breakfast menu, Metke serves up a number of morning favorites, including her to-die-for Brioche French toast with fresh fruit salad and real maple syrup. On the savory side she has a delightfully filling vegetarian option, the Roasted Veggie Medley, which combines spinach, roasted peppers, fresh basil, oven-roasted potatoes and garlic, with Cabot white cheddar.  Meat-eaters’ mouths water at the mention of some of her gourmet meaty breakfast sides, like apple-smoked bacon, rosemary ham and country sage sausage.

Taking no shortcuts in flavor in preparing lunch options, Metke roasts her own beef in the Sawpit Mercantile kitchen for her House Roasted Roast Beef Sandwich.  Also on the lunch menu: a grilled portabella mushroom sandwich with goat cheese, grilled peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, and mixed greens; an oven-roasted turkey sandwich with Cabot white cheddar and a roasted garlic spread; and a grilled chicken breast sandwich served with smoked gouda.

Metke pays attention to every last detail in her custom sandwiches, to the point that each individual sandwich has its own signature mayonnaise.  Sundried tomato is the flavor for the grilled chicken and gouda; herbed mayo for the turkey sandwich; horseradish mayo made with fresh horseradish and black pepper to complement the roast beef; and a signature wasabi mayo for the grilled portabella sandwich.

Even the wasabi used in the mayonnaise has been carefully chosen by Metke, who admits to being a “sucker” for exotic ingredients.  She explains that the wasabi she uses comes from a tiny farm in Oregon, the only wasabi farm in North America, which produces the freshest wasabi to be found anywhere.

Though the flavor is fit for high-rollers, prices at Merle’s Café aren’t.  A scrumptious breakfast sandwich goes for only $4, while the priciest item on the menu will only run you $6. The same goes for lunch. The most you’ll pay for a gourmet sandwich is $6.50, and that includes a side of Metke’s signature purple potato salad or another yummy side.

“I try to pick the best ingredients, while still being able to offer a breakfast sandwich for under $4,” Metke says.

Not only does Metke serve up a satisfying lunch and breakfast, she and Sawpit Mercantile owners Morgan Metzger and Chris Matson dish up a healthy helping of good ole’ small-town hospitality.  The café bar inside the Mercantile is often the scene of many late-morning down valley “coffee talks,” while the quaint outdoor patio on the San Miguel River is the perfect zone for a relaxing summer lunch with buddies after a fishing trip.

“This is a good place to come to get out of Telluride and just sit outside and relax,” says Metke of the new Sawpit Café.

Metzer and Matson, who opened the Sawpit Mercantile about a year ago and have been looking for the right person to manage the kitchen and café inside ever since, agree that their marriage with Metke brings a whole new dimension to Sawpit and the Sawpit Mercantile.

“It’s really fortunate everything came together the way it did,” says Metzger.  “We are offering something different and something reasonable for the community, and that’s what we’re here for. It’s a nice change to be able to spend a little bit of money and feel like you really get more.”

Metke’s partnership with Metzger and Matson emerged nearly by accident.  Metke, who also bakes wedding cakes, was looking for a commercial kitchen to do business out of.  The Sawpit Mercantile had one that wasn’t being used, and its owners were looking for a tenant.  That’s when Metke decided to take the intimidating leap into restaurant ownership.

“I think that Morgan and I see the same about the café – having it be a diner-esque kind of restaurant,” says Metke, who started her restaurant career working at a restaurant in Washington while she was in college. 

Metke has also worked the restaurant circuit in Telluride, working the chef’s line at 221 S. Oak for four years, a year and a half of which she served as the restaurant’s pastry chef.  Now, as Merle’s Café’s sole chef, Metke says that her cooking hands are busy.

“Though I’ve worked in restaurants before, managing your own is a whole different experience,” Metke admits, explaining that the hardest part has been figuring out how much to charge, and what ingredients to use.

Metke’s customers seem to be quite content with the choices they’ve found so far at Merle’s Café.  But many do have the same question – why is it called Merle’s?

Metke explains.  “When I moved to Colorado nine years ago and went to get my driver’s license, they had me make sure that all of my information was correct before making a permanent copy.  So I checked my eye color, my address… everything but my name.  I soon discovered that instead of Shawn Merie Metke, it was Shawn Merle Metke that was printed on my license – hence Merle’s Café.”

Merle’s Café is located in the Sawpit Mercantile in Sawpit, and is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.


Ridgway and the Uncompahgre Valley

Access Fee Suspended as Volunteers Take Over Yankee Boy Land Stewardship

Forest Service Tries a New Approach to Managing Popular High Country Area

By Suzy Loeffler

For the past two years, when you traveled the Camp Bird Mine Rd. up Canyon Creek, you were greeted by a pay station, and a $5 mandatory fee to access the area. This summer you are greeted by friendly volunteers, giving their time to help maintain and manage the popular area south of Ouray.

Canyon Creek is the first site in the country to reverse the Forest Service Recreation Fee Demonstration program. The focus of its replacement, the newly established Canyon Creek Stewardship program, is to use volunteers rather than fees to preserve the integrity of a popular public area.

Canyon Creek is the access point to Yankee Boy Basin, the Sneffels Peak trailhead, and Imogene Pass. Visitation in the area has increased dramatically in the past few years. The Forest Service chose Canyon Creek as a site for its Recreation Fee Demonstration Program in the summer of 2001. Their aim was to use the fees to maintain and manage the area. 

This past February, citizens from all over the Western Slope gathered at a public meeting to discuss the fee program, and to voice their fears that fees undermine their ownership of public lands.

At the meeting, Bob Olivier, his wife, Helen, and others formed the Yankee Boy Regional Conservation Association. That group of volunteers is now working in collaboration with the Forest Service, and the Ouray County Board of County Commissioners, to implement the land stewardship program as an alternative to fees for the maintenance of the Canyon Creek drainage. They see it as a way for the public to take back ownership of public lands.

Yankee Boy Regional Conservation Association President Bob Olivier and his wife, Helen, have lived tucked away in the Canyon Creek drainage for 30 years. The Oliviers have been formulating the volunteer program idea since fee demos were suggested for the area several years ago.

“I’m not sure the volunteer program would have worked if it was implemented  three years ago,” said Bob Olivier. “It’s almost as if we needed the Fee Demo Program to rile the interest of people.”

Helen Olivier has helped organize 43 volunteers to manage and maintain the area. The volunteers provide information, maintenance and a helping hand. There are alpine hosts who monitor the trail systems, and there are campground hosts, who stay at the campsites to greet people and ensure that the sites are respected. The Forest Service is still charging a $7 fee for camping, and the campground hosts see that the camping fees are paid.

Brian and Margie Hoag are volunteer hosts at one of the campgrounds.

“We had been coming to this area for years to drive the pass, and  were upset about the user fees,” Margie recalls

Brian chimes in: “It is hard to imagine having to pay for something that already belongs to us. When we heard that the fee had been reversed, and they needed volunteers we were more than happy to give our time for something we believe in.”

The volunteer program is, by all accounts, working well. People are greeted by hosts who have chosen to give their time and energy. They are stewards of their public lands and take pride in that.  People have come from all over the country to take part as volunteers. Local groups have also been instrumental in the program.  A couple of weeks ago, for example, a Jeep club from Montrose did a large-scale cleanup. Local hiking clubs, and other organizations are doing their part as well.

“It is a real cooperative effort,” Bob Olivier explains.

 The Forest Service, the Ouray County Commissioners, the Yankee Boy Regional Conservation Association, and other regional interest groups including the Ouray Trail Group, the Ridgeway-Ouray Community Council, the Western Slope No Fee Coalition, and the San Juan Mountain Association are collaborating for the cause.

“It is not an upstream battle, like many other environmental issues,” Bob Olivier explains. “We are going with the flow, and simply maintaining the existing pattern of use. People in western Colorado don’t like fees.”

Bob laughs. “A lot of different interests groups are working together for a common goal. The motorized and non-motorized recreationalists are collaborating. It reinforces the widespread value of Public Lands.”

The Forest Service is quick to point out that this year’s reversal of fees in Canyon Creek is just a suspension of fees for an assessment period to see if the land stewardship program is feasible. Fees could be reinstated if volunteerism fails

Telluride Academy Passes Science Baton to Pinhead

First Summer Research Talk Tonight

By Nana Naisbitt

Executive Director, Pinhead Institute


Quietly in the recesses of Telluride’s public school classrooms, eminent scientists have been conducting research for the past 18 summers as the Telluride Science Research Center, under the care of the Telluride Academy.

This year, Pinhead Institute will bring these scientists out of the classroom/laboratory and into the light of the Telluride community each week on Tuesday evening between June 24 and Aug. 5, from 6-7:15 p.m., in the program room at the Wilkinson Public Library Program Room, as part of the Pinhead Town Talk Series.

First to speak will be Sandra Greer, professor of chemical engineering and biochemistry at the University of Maryland, who will address The Circuitous Road to Truth: Ethical Issues Inherent in the Scientific Process.

Greer is in Telluride to attend the TSRC Chemistry and Dynamics in Complex Environments Workshop to engage in the cross fertilization of ideas that TSRC workshops inspire – as well as because Telluride “is a wondrously beautiful place," she says, "which soothes the soul.

"And if the soul is soothed, sometimes the intellect responds.” 

The Science Research Center is a loosely networked affiliation of scientists, principally chemists and physicists, who travel from all over the world to this small town. They find they can have substantive scientific discussions that would not take place at other more formal conferences. Almost two decades ago, founder Stephen Berry, distinguished chemistry professor at the University of Chicago, decided that Aspen was no longer providing the sort of informal setting he envisioned as a refuge from academic and urban pressures for himself and his colleagues.

He chose Telluride and found Wendy Brooks and the Telluride Academy as welcoming local hosts. Brooks remembers vividly Berry wanting to create a whole new workshop format where the opinions of senior faculty and young graduate students were equally honored.

Thus the Telluride Academy has been facilitating TSRC workshops for the past 18 years by arranging housing, workshop facilities, barbecues, and more. But their primary business of organizing summer activities for children grew significantly during that time. Last summer, bursting at their own seams and recognizing Pinhead’s focus on science the Academy asked Pinhead Institute to take over the coordination of the TSRC beginning in 2003.

“We enabled the TSRC to grow to a point where it needed its own committed facilitator with a compatible mission," Brooks says. "As long as there were seven scientists, it wasn’t a problem.”

This summer, 280 scientists will attend TSRC workshops this summer, with stays averaging about a week.

It was with enthusiasm that Pinhead Institute said yes to the Academy’s proposal to pass the baton, noting that TSRC’s core mission of science education is not so different from Pinhead's core goal, which is to establish Telluride as the place where scientific groups convene to foster scientific appreciation, activism and leadership. Another major Pinhead goal is to produce intellectually satisfying, academically challenging, and entertaining educational programs for the Telluride community and beyond. The match of TSRC and Pinhead was a natural.

Thus, Pinhead is giving the TSRC lectures a new flavor this year, emphasizing an accessible and friendly lay-audience orientation.

“In my talk I’ll focus not on really egregious behavior of scientists but on the decisions we scientists make everyday in our work that try our integrity even when we want to do the right thing, even when we try to do our best,” says Greer who will be giving the first Town Talk tonight.

“I would like to raise people’s awareness of the sort of daily ethical issues that we scientists encounter in our work so that science isn’t perceived as flawless or perfect,” she continued. “Because science so dominates modern civilization, I think it is important for the public to better understand how scientists work and think.”

The summer line up of Pinhead Town Talks, in cooperation with TSRC, include:

July 1, Christof Koch, “Human and Animal Consciousness: A Scientific Exploration”;

July 8, Lewis Branscomb, “Crossing the Darwinian Sea of Scientific Innovation: Inventors, Investors, and Angels”; July 15 Dean Astumian, “Making Molecules into Motors: How to Swim in Molasses and Walk in a Hurricane”; July 22, double header with Bill Klemperer on “Interstellar Chemistry” and Jack Douglas on “Plastic Cups, Snowflakes, and Airplane Engines: On the Growth and Form of Patterns"

On July 29, Dr. R. Stephen Berry, a McArthur Fellow, and one of five officers of the National Academy of Sciences, will give the first annual Stephen Berry Lecture in honor of his establishing the TSRC.

For more information visit <> or email <> or phone 970-369-0585.








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