The science of giving

There is something about spending time in nature that ignites an appreciation for science. Char Carbone and Pete Rowland each carved an independent path from nature lover to science supporter. As a married couple, however, their journeys have both converged and become wider.

Pete had a place on the mountain near Crested Butte and knew about RMBL only in passing. He bought the home for the purpose of diving into fly fishing. Spending many days on the East River put him close enough to RMBL to pique his curiosity.

Char had been coming to Crested Butte for 20 years to explore the mountainous terrain in off-road adventures that frequently took her past Gothic. When the couple met and married, they found a home in Crested Butte, and their mutual curiosity about Gothic grew into a passion for funding environmental science.

An avid fly fisherman, Pete was already immersed in a charity that enables fishing enthusiasts to angle for a humanitarian cause. Known as the Fly Fishing Collaborative, its mission is to mobilize the fly fishing community to create sustainable solutions to poverty and human trafficking. One of the group’s strategies is to organize fly fishing trips that raise funds to build aquaponic farms in impoverished communities around the world.

Pete was looking for a place to host a fly fishing trip, and he contacted Elizabeth Hughes, long-time RMBL board member, who agreed to hold the fundraiser on the family ranch. Soon after the trip, Pete and Char were invited to a barbeque at the ranch for friends and supporters of RMBL.

At the event, Char had the serendipitous fortune of sitting next to David Inouye, who gave her a brief history of the lab and its multi-generational impact on science. She was enthralled and remembers telling Elizabeth, “I want to join right now!”

Meanwhile, Pete started his own research about RMBL’s near 100-year history and the work it does to help the world adapt to a changing climate. He says that he was blown away by what he learned.

The couple decided to become ongoing RMBL supporters and to help recruit others. They spend roughly half the year at their home in Denver and the other half at Crested Butte — or did until Char was in a car accident a year and a half ago and underwent spine surgery. She’s recovering slowly but was still able to visit in September.

Since first committing to become sustaining donors, Pete and Char’s admiration for RMBL has only deepened. Char is inspired that the lab’s investment in undergraduates and young scientists will continue building interest in and support for the science that takes place in Gothic.

From Pete’s perspective, as more people accept the reality of climate change, RMBL’s work will become more important to our world’s environmental crisis.

The couple also finds it meaningful that their support is a gift to the community they love. Donating to a globally influential institution that lives in your home town engenders a special kind of pride. But both Pete and Char insist that whether you’re a citizen of Crested Butte or not, the act of supporting RMBL will enrich your life.

What’s more, it allows you to become part of something that will outlive you, says Pete. “Your support is going to be important long after you’re gone,” he says.

Talk about leaving the world a better place.


Char Carbone Rowland is a Colorado native. For many years, she ran her interior design business in Denver four days a week and then headed to the mountains to explore the mountain passes in the Gunnison Valley and around her home in Buena Vista. Today she is retired and eager to get back to the mountains and RMBL after she recovers from back surgery.


Pete Rowland is a native South Texan. He came to Crested Butte for a visit shortly after retiring from the University of Kansas and started house hunting the next day. He and Char were married by Tim Clark in the historic UCC church. Today, he spends as much time as he can fly fishing and exploring the feeder streams in the Gunnison Valley.