During the highly anticipated month of Spring Equinox and budding plants & flowers, we are ecstatic to be celebrating dedicated Metro Denver team volunteer Katie Quinn as the Climate Hero of the Month for March!

Katie got started with 350 Colorado back in November 2021 by reaching out to us and sending an email explaining her interests and concerns. What can feel like an insignificant action sometimes can lead to incredible outcomes – an important reminder in activism!

From there Katie met with Chelsea Alexander, the Movement Building & Volunteer Director with 350CO on Zoom while the Metro Denver Team was in transition between team coordinators. An hour zipped by while learning about Katie and her background; a former traveling nurse, mom to two amazing kids, and a partner to someone who also works in healthcare. Chelsea was confident that there was space that she could work in, keeping in mind her caregiving responsibilities.

“During the early days of covid I was home alone a lot with my 2 young children (ages 3 and 5 at the time),” said Katie. “Outside on our bikes felt like a safe place. We had amazing times exploring and discovering places near Sand Creek. As Spring moved into Summer both the kids and I noticed the air quality and the brown smog that rolled in. As a mom, I had the strong desire to do something but did not feel like I had a skill set to make a meaningful difference. 350 Denver was instrumental in changing that storyline.”

While Katie was new to this kind of grassroots organizing it was clear that she had a lot of passion and will to dedicate herself to something new; the wheels were officially in motion! When Victoria Sunkel was brought on as the Metro Denver Team Coordinator in January 2022 Chelsea made the introduction between her and Katie.

One of the key needs of the Metro Denver Team at the time was to expand its budget. Having a healthy amount of funds allows the team to have food at events and workshops, to purchase art supplies for protests, to support activists and leaders in the community, and more. Applying to local grants tends to be an effective way to secure funding, but unless that is your full-time job it can be difficult for one person to do it on their own. So Vic began to organize a group of volunteers that could bring this idea across the finish line, and in steps Katie.

For months Katie, Vic, and other dedicated volunteers (shout-out Joyce!) worked to apply to a local Denver grant. Gathering materials, meeting to discuss action items, and working together to submit the application, in October 2022 the team succeeded and was awarded their first grant! 

But Katie hasn’t stopped there. “I have learned how Suncor and fracking are affecting Denver communities. With help, I am learning the language to advocate for my children and my neighbors,” said Katie. “Most recently I worked with Victoria and other 350 volunteers to get a climate questionnaire filled out by candidates for the Denver mayor and city council positions.” Katie’s and others hard work has helped ensure that Denver voters are aware of candidate’s positions on climate, a key issue during this pivotal decade. Speaking of, are you registered to vote?!

Katie is the perfect climate hero to be highlighting during Women’s History and Futures month – she is the epitome of a strong female leader,” said Metro Denver Team Coordinator Victoria Sunkel. “Not only is she a healthcare professional and a mother, but she spends the spare time she does have advocating for climate and social justice. She is always willing to learn, listen, and jump into new ways to get involved.”

“I am so grateful for 350 Denver giving me a space to take action. I have learned so much from the staff and volunteers. Victoria Sunkel especially has been an amazing mentor and source of support and encouragement,” said Katie.

“Katie’s work and leadership have been instrumental on both our Denver grant writing team and our climate candidate survey working group. The Denver team is so grateful to have Katie as one of our own!” – Victoria Sunkel, 350 Metro Denver Team Coordinator

In her spare time Katie loves riding her e-bike around town and exploring the outdoors with her partner and kids. They enjoy hiking and stand up paddle boarding whenever they get the chance. “I have a keen interest in home weatherization and electrification. We recently replaced our aging furnace and air conditioning unit with an air sourced heat pump,” said Katie. “And yes I am super fun to have at parties.”

Thank you Katie for embracing the journey of organizing for the climate and for doing it with us! We are honored to work alongside you to clean up our air, protect our communities, and build the fossil free world we want to see.

Want to be our next Climate Hero of the month? Join us as a volunteer by emailing volunteer@350colorado.org.