Colorado’s Nongame Program

Learn about the history of Colorado's Nongame Program

As part of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s 125-year anniversary they are devoting much of their 2022 magazine – Colorado Outdoors – to their history. Included in the upcoming March/April Issue is an article by Walt Graul on the origins and evolution of The Nongame Program. Dr. Graul is a retired career CPW biologist and member of Denver Audubon’s Lois Webster Fund Committee. Here are some highlights from the article.

In the early 1970’s CPW established a Nongame Program and a Nongame Advisory Council to provide input on the new program. The Council included two Denver Audubon members- Lois Webster and Vim Wright. Lois was the Chair of Denver Audubon’s Conservation Committee and Vim was a very active participant. Vim proposed to support the nongame program with a Nongame Checkoff on the Colorado Income Tax Form. With strong support by many Denver Audubon members the proposal became law in 1977. This was the first checkoff program in the country. There are now 41 states with 220 checkoff programs!

Lois used her own money to start a program so that Denver Audubon could have a grants program for nongame wildlife research and education projects. In 1995 in her honor, on her 75th birthday, The Lois Webster Fund formally was created in Denver Audubon. The Fund relies upon donations and has granted over $120,000 for nongame research and education projects. Several original members of the Fund committee were still members in 2021, including Karen Hollweg, Urling Kingery, Polly Reetz, Allen Stokes, John A C Wright (Vim’s son), Margot Wynkoop, and Walt. They have been joined by new members and the Fund continues to flourish and grow.

With funding initially available through the checkoff the Nongame Program has prospered and has had many positive impacts upon wildlife over the last 50 years. The program has evolved to what is now the Species Conservation Program. For more details you can go to CPW’s website and order a year’s subscription to Colorado Outdoors for $10.50 or a single issue for $2.95 through their E-store.