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Mark Hesse, RMFI founder

       Mark Hesse, who founded the Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) and initiated RMFI's volunteer stewardship program in the Garden of the Gods 12 years ago, died Jan. 27.
       He was born in 1950.
       “It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of RMFI founder, Mark Hesse. Mark died [Jan. 27] after being found unresponsive at the Boulder Rock Club,” a RMFI press release states. “The cause of his death is still being investigated. Mark was a mentor and inspiration for the staff and board of Rocky Mountain Field Institute.
       A memorial gathering will be held Saturday, Feb. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Folsom Field at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
       Mark was involved with the American Mountain Foundation (AMF) in the early 1980s, a nonprofit whose original mission was assisting climbers with international climbing expeditions. After becoming president in 1987, he began the transformation that would turn AMF into the Rocky Mountain Field Institute. He ran RMFI (pronounced "rim-fee" by Mark) as executive director until 2008 and remained on the board of directors until 2012.
       “After completing an extensive study of the ecological state of Garden of the Gods Park, Mark initiated a community volunteer stewardship program in 2002 aimed at addressing the park's restoration needs,” the press release states. “At the time, there were no other site-specific volunteer efforts on the scale proposed by Mark. Today, RMFI's Garden of the Gods Restoration Program is a model being replicated at parks and open spaces region-wide. Mark's vision in Garden of the Gods has resulted in extensive restoration and miles of reconstructed trails. Since 2002, RMFI has mobilized over 12,000 volunteers who have contributed to the park's stewardship.”

From a press release
(Posted 1/31/14)