Whether it is the kaleidoscope-like canyon walls, with layers of red, orange, and brown, or the sliver of starry sky that emerges when the sun goes down, there is something magical about Colorado’s rivers. Senior Mollie Podmore is no stranger to these waters; they hold a special place in her heart. As a Colorado native, Podmore grew up in Glenwood Springs, where she spent her youth rafting and kayaking with her family. Early exposure to rivers and boating fostered a deep dedication for preserving waterways in Colorado. “Having had powerful experiences on rivers makes me more passionate about water conservation,” Podmore explained.
Colorado College attempts to foster environmental stewardship in a similar way through various outdoor education programs. The Ahlberg Gear House, where Podmore works, offers students the opportunity to rent inexpensive gear and minimize the equipment purchased in the great consumer vortex. Gear House employees like Podmore gain an understanding of how the equipment works and are thus able to fix broken gear to keep it in circulation.
In the past three years of working at the Gear House, Podmore has developed a passion for teaching others. According to Podmore, working with all the expensive gear “has the potential to become materialistic.” Therefore, she loves showing people how to “wax skis, fix stoves, and set up a tent,” because she is able to teach students to take care of and value their gear. She reflects fondly upon her time at the Gear House, but also wishes that more of the student body knew it existed; everyone on campus should know about the resources available in regards to outdoor recreation. By making gear more accessible to the CC population, more students will have the capability to go on backcountry trips. This is important to Podmore because not only is she a backcountry leader for the Outdoor Education Center, but she also believes that positive relationships both with nature and other people are forged in outdoor settings.
“For a long time, I felt like it was essential to create relationships in those types of settings,” Podmore admitted, but she has realized that camping and hiking are not the only ways to bond with others. She personally has benefitted from her involvement with the outdoor education community at CC by providing that space for others and teaching them through her work at the gear house, not just in the backcountry.
Ironically, when I asked Podmore what sustainability-related activities she has done in her time at CC, she humbly responded, “not as much as I would’ve liked to.” However, through working at the Ahlberg Gear House, leading NSO trips, and living in the Synergy house, it is clear that Podmore has dedicated a lot of her time and energy at CC to to sustainability and outdoor education.
Seniors Mollie Podmore and Kat Jacaruso paddling on “Ruby Horsethief,” a section of the Colorado River. Photo Courtesy of Will Sardinsky