Marabou Takes Sustainability to "Moo" Level

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Grass-fed beef part of Colorado Community's holistic approach to green building.

No longer is the success of a business judged solely on bottom line economics

Marabou, a sustainable ranch preservation community in Steamboat Springs, Colo., takes an unusual approach to incentivizing Colorado real estate brokers to bring clients to tour the property. Marabou recently awarded Stephan Zittel, a broker associate with High Mountain Sotheby's International Realty, with a grass-fed, all-natural steer to thank him for helping one of his clients close on a Marabou homestead.

The young steer was paraded along the main street running through downtown Steamboat prior to the ceremonious presentation at a recent Steamboat broker meeting, with nearly 100 brokers present. It wore a sign reading, "Hello, my name is 'Maramoo.' I am grass-fed and 100 percent hormone- and antibiotic-free. Eat more elk..." Marabou will continue to look after the cow until it is old enough to be processed and delivered to Zittel as a side of all-natural, grass-fed beef.

Marabou's grass-fed beef program is just one aspect of a green building master plan for the preservation community. Approximately three quarters of Marabou's 1,717 acres will remain open active ranchland to support a small herd of Red Angus cattle. The cattle are reared and cared for by Marabou Ranch Manager Chad Bedell, who feeds them grass and hay cut on Marabou land. The all-natural beef is processed seasonally and offered to Marabou residents first, prior to being sold on a regional level. All proceeds from beef sales are later funneled back into the community to support the preservation of the land and its wildlife.

"We hope to leave behind a legacy of stewardship at Marabou that future generations will be proud of," said Jeff Temple, managing partner of development team Elk River Partners, and a fourth generation Steamboat native. "Not only is preservation a responsible choice for developers, this approach will only enhance the living environment for Marabou owners and residents."

In October 2007, Marabou received the first annual Sustainable Business of the Year Award at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's Centennial Celebration, in recognition of its vast achievements in sustainable business practices. The community was selected from a pool of more than 30 members of the Sustainable Steamboat Business Program that was created in March of this year. A committee narrowed those members down to a group of six nominees, and ultimately chose Marabou for the award.

"No longer is the success of a business judged solely on bottom line economics," said Lyn Halliday, chief consultant for the Chamber's sustainability program and president of Environmental Solutions, Unltd. "Careful thought and execution must be given to bring about a broader perspective, one that includes societal and community values, as well as improves the short and long term impact the business has on the environment. Marabou has demonstrated this change in culture through its actions to support sustainability."

According to Halliday, Marabou stood out among the competition by leading the way for sustainable building projects in the area; reducing waste, energy and water usage by achieving Built Green certification for all of its amenity buildings; land stewardship; sharing the sustainable message with the community; and for its commitment to go above and beyond what was necessary to preserve the land.

Marabou has also attracted national attention for its exemplary environmental leadership. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded Marabou membership in the Green Power Leadership Club. Only businesses that replace significant portions of the electricity they use with green power are invited to be partners in this organization.

"Sustainable business practices comprise the very core of Marabou's development plan," said Temple. "Since the project's inception, our goal has been to preserve and protect Marabou's precious acres of ranchland, the Elk River that runs through it and the wildlife that inhabit the land and waters."

Marabou has developed its own set of green design and construction options for homestead owners. Marabou offers a $10,000 incentive to homestead owners who meet stringent guidelines that integrate their homes with the natural environment.

The 11 Marabou amenity buildings are Built Green Certified, including an equestrian center made of salvage wood. The contractors who worked on these buildings were also required to be Built Green Certified. Requirements for the certification include the incorporation of recycled building materials; energy efficiency; use of electricity from clean, renewable wind power; use of materials that promote improved indoor environmental quality; and environmentally-conscious landscaping practices.

Additional land stewardship components at Marabou include a wildlife management plan. The plan, designed with input and support from the Colorado Division of Wildlife, ensures that important animal habitats are preserved. Certain habitats were enhanced through the protection of sensitive areas and the creation of bio-islands, ponds, and other biodiversity-enhancing inclusions. Because Marabou is contiguous to 2.5 miles of the Elk River, special consideration has been given to protecting riparian areas, improving fish habitat, and preserving the sustainability of cottonwood growth along the river banks. Improvements to the river habitat alone have cost more than $1 million.

About Marabou
Marabou is a unique ranch preservation community recently created in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Planned for only 62 custom homesteads on 1,717 acres of active ranchland, Marabou remains a working cattle ranch. Residents and their guests can participate, at their discretion, in all aspects of ranching from herding cattle, mending fences and baling hay on the property to caring for the horses that live there. Marabou Master Guides lead this experience in the same way they teach residents to fly fish, mountain bike, downhill and cross country ski, and hike the rolling terrain. With 1,325 acres of the ranch preserved as open space, homesteads exceed six acres and are priced from $2.9 million. Contact Marabou Realty at (970) 879-7919 or visit for more information.


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Lindsay Watrous, APR

Michelle Olson, APR
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