November 2023 Newsletter

the power of PLACE

Char and Pete Rowland

The Power of Mitzvah: from Thanksgiving to Hope

Communities and futures are built upon lifetimes of small actions.

We gathered on an earthly knoll within the Crested Butte cemetery, in the embrace of the surrounding mountains. We gave thanks and celebrated the life of Steve Polan. A New Yorker, Steve and his wife, Betsy Roistacher, found their way to Crested Butte, where they fully immersed themselves. I came to know them as they became involved in, and supported, RMBL. In his role leading the Crested Butte Public Policy Forum, which promotes civic engagement by bringing distinguished speakers to Crested Butte, he actively looked for ways for RMBL and the Policy Forum to collaborate. A friendship built on small exchanges, I had the privilege of joining friends and family in placing dirt on his grave, interring him in his Garden of Eden.

With bluebird skies and time to connect with friends, I fell into conversation with another active community member of Crested Butte and supporter of RMBL who explained “mitzvah”. Within the Jewish religion, the primary meaning of mitzvah is “commandment”. But more commonly it is used to describe good deeds, especially those that emphasize kindness and empathy, and which build community. It was a fitting conversation.

Ian Billick - Director RMBL

Ian Billick | PhD
Executive Director, RMBL


Char and Pete Rowland

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.