Saws and Slaws is much more than a catchy name for mitigation activities, it’s more like an old fashioned barn raising, or current day block party where friends and neighbors pool their efforts to help a fellow community member and then close their time together with good food (and sometimes home-made beer). The premise is simple: you work hard for four hours and at the end of that time the group’s efforts are rewarded with lunch and camaraderie; a truly simple way to create synergy and reap social capital benefits. Saws and Slaws can be easily duplicated anywhere in the nation – but remember you heard about it first in Boulder!
Communities in Boulder County, CO are learning first-hand about the benefits of working with their neighbors to reduce the wildfire risk across multiple properties. Last summer the Town of Nederland located west of Boulder, Colorado borrowed the Saws and Slaws recipe from their neighbors in Coal Creek Canyon (who also provided many pairs of hands to help them get started) and found it was something they’ll do again.
The recipe is easy: Find a neighborhood champion (in this case it was Mr. Cesar Gellido) to lead and organize; and then carefully add some neighborhood sweat equity while utilizing the talents of volunteers of all ages and voila - you’ve created a delightful mixture that others will want to taste.
A special thank you to Jim Webster and Ryan Ludlow with Boulder County for their efforts to educate, support and encourage wildfire mitigation in the communities they serve. With the snow quickly disappearing, I’m anxiously looking forward to hearing them share many more S & S stories in the near future!