Celestial Seasonings first got in trouble way back in 1999 when it poisoned some prairie dogs that lived in the property surrounding the factory. As a way to prevent this from happening again, the surrounding area has been protected and serves as a buffer for Celestial Seasonings that does not impact the wildlife.

Now, this safe space is being slated for a residential development, which is raising concern with the community.

A community member pointed out that this may not even be legal, saying, “The animal activists … supposedly made a contract with (Celestial Seasonings) that these prairie dogs would be saved in perpetuity, and that no buildings would be allowed there whatsoever,” she said.

The resident is referring to a letter that Celestial Seasonings sent out in 1999, proposing:

  • Immediately limit prairie dog colony management activity to relocation, within property boundaries only
  • Continue meeting with leading environmental and wildlife organizations to hear their concerns firsthand and ask their help to develop a long-term strategy for co-existence with the prairie dog colony
  • Explore the potential for some relocation of prairie dogs to the property
  • In anticipation of a facility expansion plan, create a buffer zone around the facility with minimal impact on the existing habitat
  • Ensure that the colony is protected during all activities utilizing the facility and, most importantly, that the fields are not used for parking
  • Establish the Celestial Seasonings’ Environmental Grant Program, which would request proposals from Boulder County environmental and wildlife organizations with the intent to receive the proposals by July 1, 1999. Employees then voted on which two or three organizations they would like us to support. Celestial Seasonings’s financial support would be up to $50,000 per year in total. These groups would also be organizations our employees would be prepared to volunteer their time to
  • Educate others regarding the value and the plight of prairie dog ecosystems during company tour and consumer relations efforts

The proposed housing development includes: 12 three-story buildings housing apartments, with 68 of the units labeled as affordable.