Category Archives: People/Interviews

Meet our new Project Coordinator

Please give a warm welcome to our newly hired Project Coodinator, Christine. As project coordinator, she will be streamlining event planning materials and establishing detailed work plans to be implemented by the organization’s operational departments during the event in June 2017.

Go to her bio for more information 🙂


Consent is Sexy, Consent is Serious

ConsentDearest Community,

Let’s take a minute to talk about consent.

Consent as the 11th Principle?

We thank you for your enthusiasm and participation. As a reminder, we are an event that follows the Ten Principles of Burning Man. This is very important to us as a community and to our status as an official Regional event. There has been a lot of talk in the communities around the globe about adding an 11th principle: consent.

Some people may say that consent is a basic tenet of respecting other people, and that respecting our fellow citizens is a vital component of the principle of civic responsibility. Other people will find that relationship a bit esoteric and insist that we adopt consent as our 11th principle. There is a reason for this.

We take Consent Seriously!

Consent is a very important aspect of our community. Consent means, simply put: asking for permission before taking actions that impact other people.

Quite often, when we refer to consent, it is in relation to sexual relations. However, consent also means disclosing before sharing food that may have something special in it; consent means asking before writing on someone else’s art; consent means asking before taking something that doesn’t belong to you; consent means asking before touching; and consent means asking before taking photos.

Also remember that a person’s age, sobriety, and cognition impact their ability to consent. We take consent very seriously. We also do take allegations of people who break our community rules very seriously.

People’s ability to feel safe and free to express themselves without fear of their boundaries being broken is an important part of what makes Apogaea special, a “temporary autonomous zone.” More on that later, but first:

What To Do If You Feel Your Consent is Violated at Apogaea?

As a reminder: if, at any time during the event, you feel as if someone has acted in a way that goes against our community standards or crosses your boundaries against your will, and you are unable to resolve the situation yourself, please contact the Rangers.

Rangers serve in many capacities, one of which is to act as peer mediators to help you remedy the situation. If the infraction is great enough, they will report the incident to the board so that it may be dealt with on a greater level. And, if at any time you feel that the Rangers are not properly responding to your situation, you may personally choose to escalate it to the Board. This escalation does not necessarily mean that you will get the outcome you desire; however, it does mean that we will take your situation seriously, listen, and do our best to help you find resolution.

Consent is Vital to Creating A Temporary Autonomous Zone

We understand that creating a temporary autonomous zone without some basic structure is nearly impossible. It is with the creation of this temporary autonomous zone in mind that the Ten Principles were created. Keeping these things in mind, we would like to express to you that we hold consent to be very important; we take allegations of consent violations seriously; and we do not tolerate predators at our event. If you have questions or concerns, please email

Thank you. We love you. Take care of yourselves, and each other.

Your 2016 Board of Directors

Message from our Apo Prez – Great Things


Photo by Sharon Duran

Photo by Sharon Duran

Hello all!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated and I’ve missed you, but lots has been going on to keep this moist ball rolling! We have land, yes. We have the interest and the support of the local Las Animas county officials as well and that is a great thing!

Today I traveled down to meet with Sheriff Casias, Fire Chief Lloyd Holloman and our new landlord, Glenn. With me were Milkman and Robyn, both well versed in speaking on behalf of our community. What we didn’t expect was that Sheriff Casias had invited every department that we would need to speak with to this meeting, so we were pleasantly surprised to walk in to a packed room that was ready to hear about us and what we do. After our two hour meeting we all left with the comfort of knowing that we have this town and its officials on our side, ready to help us help them enliven their economy through our art and our commerce as we are getting everything ready for our event. Trinidad is actively working on making itself a destination, not just a town you ‘drive through on the way to Taos’. The tourism department representative is looking forward to us coming down almost more than anyone else!

Even though it was a good, light hearted meeting, I did bring up the safety of the wells that are on Glenn’s property. These are electric pump natural gas wells that are regularly maintained and spaced far enough apart so that we can mitigate any potential danger that may arise. No one in that room felt that our effigy or poofers would be at risk of exploding because of air contaminants, even the representative from the environmental health department. Before I left, I was given the name and number of the Las Animas County oil & gas inspector so that I can get documentation of the air and water quality of the land. There are also multiple retaining ponds that are used by the wildlife in the area. The content of that water has not visibly impacted the land itself or the wildlife, but I’m not going to just tell you that and not provide documentation. As soon as I have said documentation, I will provide it to everyone for review. In the meantime, you can email me at with any questions or concerns.

Did I mention the permit? We get to use a different permit than the SUP permit that they make others use. The one we will use is only $150 and the documentation needed is being gathered now. There is a one day turn around on this permit, meaning that as soon as we send the necessary documents, we get our permit. Boom.

Your dedicated president,

Sharon “Trail Blazer” Duran

Welcome to John and Announcing a Board Vacancy

Photo by Luki

Photo by Luki

Photo by Luki

Hello Lovelies,

Following Eddiey Hayes’s resignation for personal reasons, the Board located and appointed by unanimous vote John Wilcox to fill his spot. This is a 3 year spot, ending in 2018. Congratulations and welcome to John!

We are also seeking another Board member, for a 1.5 year term, to replace Michael Moss, who has also resigned for personal reasons. Thank you Michael for your service to our community!

If you or someone you know is ready to step up in a major way and fill this role, please click here for more info.

Watch Seven 2015 Global Leadership Conference Talks in Colorado


Watch presentations from seven Colorado representatives who attended the Global Leadership Conference (GLC) in San Francisco, April, 2015. They presented key lessons at the Fusion Factory in Denver on Nov. 11, 2015. Each presentation is about five minutes long.

Life is Art- Steve Maruska

The GLC [Global Leadership Conferences] is a wonderful opportunity to meet artists of all kinds.

“You should consider yourself an artist; and if you don’t, you should reconsider,” said Steve Maruska, Colorado Decompression Coordinator and Assistant Lead for IT for Apogaea. (By the way, he’s looking to start up another regional event here.)

“If you build it they will come, but if they build it they will come back and stay,” he said.

Burning Man Gives Money to Artists

So Rachel Cain, professional art administrator and robot enthusiast, wants the artist in you to hear a simple message: Time is running out for anyone looking to submit an initial application for grants. Get to it!

Honorarium grants are for installations at Burning Man a.k.a. Black Rock City. The deadline for a letter of intent (inquiry or interest) these is Nov. 30, 2015.

Global Grant letters of intent are due Dec. 1, 2015 and are intended for projects of many kinds throughout the world – they allow artists to bring the spirit of Burning Man home. (See “How a Temple Changed a Community below.)

Read more about Global Grants here and Honorariam grants here.

So, Rachel said that in both cases, when you submit a letter of intent to Burning Man, show how participation completes the art. (That’s your in, people!) No one in Colorado has received a Global Grant in the last three years, and she gave encouragement to anyone who sought one – just be sure that your proposal engages the community.

Burners Without Borders

Hurricane Katrina sparked the very first Burners Without Borders disaster response and from then on the group shows up when it’s needed most. A contingent came to Colorado in September, 2013 to help survivors of massive floods. But the non-profit group isn’t just about helping victims of catastrophe, said Mariah Rossel, Burners Without Borders (and Apogaea board of directors) member.

“It goes much further – there’s a lot more that we can do with Burners Without Borders,” she said. “How do we take the art, skills and abilities of the Burning Man community to help our local community thrive?”

She answers that question in the video, and if you’re interested in joining, here’s a meeting invite.

How a Temple Changed a Neighborhood

Nolan Puryear told a story about how Global Grant recipient David Best used his grant money to not only engage the community of Londonderry, but to bring partnership and peace to a city ravaged by religious separation. Read about the David Best-Artichoke Project Temple here.

Consent Issues in the Burnerverse

Consent and the dialogue around it is getting more and more attention – she talked about ways she and people involved in other Regional Burns are making strides to support people’s understanding of consent as a philosophy. The initiative is coming from a variety of places, and she said it’s not an official program of Black Rock City Rangers.

“We want to give everyone a chance to show them how to engage with people in a respectful way,” she said.

Event Production Through the Eyes of the GLC

“We’re not just sexy people in fabulous costumes,” said Michael Moss, Apogaea board member. “Now we are the change makers we are the next wave of consciousness in our community and it doesn’t work when you are underground.”

Placement & City Planning

Luke T talks sound policy, real estate and giving back to the community.

Learn more about the Global Leadership Conference here.

Apogaea Closing in on Land Deal for 2016

Apo BOD on Walden Land

Photo by Sharon Duran

Art cars, a larger sound area and spacious valley could await Colorado Burners in 2016

Apogaea is getting close to finalizing a lease with a landowner in Walden, Co. for the 2016 Apogaea event!

A deal between Apogaea and the landowner is expected within a couple of weeks, dependent upon upcoming bids to make road improvements on the property.

Click image for Google Map link

Click image for satellite image of location. Land is south of the pinned location

Earlier in October, the Apogaea Board of Directors visited a 750-acre parcel in the North Park area and decided to make moves to procure a five-year lease on a beautiful, sagebrush-filled valley.

This is a big step toward ensuring that Apogaea will secure land for its event next year, after a disappointing cancellation in 2015.

The Apogaea Land Use Committee is actively seeking contingency plans to secure a backup location, as well. If anyone knows of land that might be used for Apogaea, please check out our requirements and fill out the form here: Land for Apogaea Submission.

Talks with the landowner in Walden have been characterized as positive with “solid working
components already in play,” according to Apogaea’s Board of Directors. They expect a contract to be signed by the end of the year, with infrastructure improvements beginning before snowfall.

The parcel is much larger than land used in recent years and would cost less. Board members met with Jackson County officials, who said they are excited to host the Apogaea community and welcome participants’ investment into the local economy. The population of Jackson County is about 1,300.

With the additional space there could be an opportunity for art cars, a larger sound area, a separate quiet zone, a perimeter road for emergency access and fire control, plus much more room to grow.

Apo BOD on Walden Land

Photo by Sharon Duran

They have proposed using 75 acres of the land for Apogaea’s “city.” The population would be capped at 2,000 participants in an effort to set the tone for sustainable event growth. With a change of land, and a year off, Board President Sharon Duran said they want to verify we have enough volunteers to manage the event responsibly.

There is no special event permit process in rural Jackson County, so Apogaea officials are meeting with key community leaders to garner buy-in and support.

Duran said the land is “gorgeous,” with rolling hills, sagebrush and a mosquito range along the eastern side of the valley. She said there aren’t many trees. There are no plans to mitigate the mosquito population at this time, but there are considerations to plan an event date after the mosquitos die off after spring rains.

Dates for the event haven’t been finalized and will depend on weather, mosquitos, and moisture on the land after spring rains. The dates will be announced as soon as possible.

The board decided to reduce the length of the event by one day from Thursday to Sunday. The reduction in length is meant to reduce pressure on the Department of Public Works (DPW).

It’s proposed that there would be a series of work weekends prior to the event, as well. The Wednesday immediately prior to the event would be available for early entry for theme camps, art installation, leads and event organizers. There is also a potential to keep the event open on the following Monday as an additional exodus date.

Infrastructure improvements include plans to widen the entry road to the Walden land and build an additional perimeter road around the proposed city.

Next Steps

There is still a need for Incident Command System, fire and medical leads. That said, the board is drawing on the experience of past leads to ensure safety and medical and airlift services. If you would like to volunteer in these or other departments, go here: Join Ignition.

Department leads are encourages to start putting their budgets together, and if you have questions about this process, please contact your board liaison. The 2016 Apogaea theme contest, art car permitting and dates of event will be announced as soon as possible! Sign up for the Apogaea newsletter to stay in the loop!

Welcome to Taylor and announcing a board vacancy!

Hello Lovelies,

Following John Perez’s resignation for personal reasons, the Board located and appointed by unanimous vote Taylor Denn to fill his spot. This is a 2 year spot, ending in 2017. Congratulations and welcome to Taylor!

We are also seeking another Board member, for a 3 year term, to replace Eddiey Hayes, who has also resigned for personal reasons. Thank you Eddiey for your service to our community!

If you or someone you know is ready to step up in a major way and fill this role, please click here for more info.

Please Welcome Our 2016 Officers and Board Members

Apo2015BoardPostGreetings Lovelies!

The votes are in, and we are happy to announce your Apogaea Board of Directors and 2016 Executive Committee!


There are a total of 9 board members at any given time. These returning board members are partway through their terms:

Each year, three board members “roll off,” and Apogaea’s voting body “Ignition” elects three new board members for 3-year terms. 69 of 150 Ignition members voted for the three open 3-year positions. In other words, roughly 46% of the members participated in the vote.

Please welcome our newest members of the Apogaea Board of Directors, as voted in by Ignition:


In addition to our 3 full-term positions, the new board also votes in new members as needed to fill vacancies that occur. There were two vacancies going into this cycle. On August 24th, 2015, the board, including the newest elected members, appointed two members to the board.

Please also welcome the remaining new members of the Apogaea Board of Directors, as appointed by the board:


Finally, executive committee officers are elected by the full board. On September 13, 2015, the board voted in their officers, who will each serve a 1-year term.

Please welcome your Apogaea 2016 Officers:


In a nutshell, the retiring board members have “rolled off,” and the new Apogaea Board of Directors is officially up and running!!! It’s time to start building Apogaea 2016!! We would love your help, please go to for volunteer opportunities. Now is a *crucial* time for our community, come be involved as part of the group that saves Apogaea!

John Perez has stepped down for personal reasons, so there is once again a vacant seat on the board. If you or someone you know is ready to step up in a major way and fill this role, please click here for more info.

As always, let’s extend a BIG THANKS to all our outgoing Board Members and Officers! We truly appreciate all your time, effort, and energy! Thanks for tuning in, and flame on!

Nominations for BoD positions extended

photo by Sheri

photo by Sheri

Yesterday the board held a meet and greet with two of the three candidates(picture above may or may not be one of said candidates). The board also voted to extend the nomination period and change the election dates to allow for more candidates to submit their nominations.

The call for candidates was delayed getting to some members of our community and word reached the board that several other candidates were interested. We currently have three candidates: Stefani Nemmers, David (Caution) Pierce, and Tina Siegfried.  Stefani & Caution attended the Meet & Greet today. So we voted to extend the nomination period to allow for more candidates.


The three current candidates have submitted their responses to the questions on the Call for Canidates page:  Their submissions and other Q&A discussions are being held on the discussion group. Anyone can view the discussion and join it at


You can also see the candidate bios as they come in here:


Nominations have been extended to Friday July 24th at midnight.


The vote for the three 3 year positions on the board vote will take place on-line from July 25th until August 8th at midnight.


The next board meeting will be August 9th at 1PM at the Fusion Factory.

So the community will have the opportunity to meet the new board at that board meeting. In addition, the new board may be appointing members into the two vacant positions at that time.