It’s hard to think about winter survival skills when its been in the 60’s recently here in Denver. But only a few weeks ago, we had enough snow to build some serious quinzhees. Amidst the gently falling flakes at Brainard Lake Recreation Area, a quintessential group of outdoor educators gathered together for Cottonwood Institute’s annual winter instructor training.
While learning about shelters, fire skills, thermodynamics, and environmental issues, more importantly, we built relationships: connecting not only with each other, but with the land and its resources. Working together we create curriculum for our students that go above and beyond your typical outdoor education courses. We create change-makers!
A special thanks and huge shout-out to all of our rock-star instructors! Without you programs like the Community Adventure Program, Earth Task Force, Cesar Chavez Organic Gardening, and Endangered Wolves and Animal Tracking, to name only a few, would not be possible. Thank you for making Cottonwood Institute courses what they are: creative, fun, inspirational, empowering, action-packed, and of course, educational!
“Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, usually do.” (Unknown) Until our next training in June, stay crazy!
How many instructors can you fit in a quinzhee? Check out the amazing video below for the answer:
Click here to view a slideshow of our hard work throughout the day.
Can you recycle frozen food boxes? What about the crates that strawberries and tomatoes are packaged in? Did you know that aluminum is mined from under the rainforest and that it can be recycled an infinite number of times?
Recycling is one of the simplest environmental actions we can take, but it’s got some complicated rules, and they change often. That’s why in early November the Earth Task Force (ETF) hosted a relay race to educate their peers about recycling.
After learning that improper recycling can cause whole loads of recyclable materials to be sent to the landfill the ETF came up with a fun and educational way to teach their school—New Vista High School (NVHS) how to practice the three R’s with style, and the Recycling Relay Race was born.
Every Advisory, which includes every student at NVHS, participated in the competition and had a chance to battle it out and either continue on the next round or be kicked to the curb!!
Over the course of two days, the ETF brought every advisory to NVHS’s Community Room to sort out recyclable or non-recyclable items and place them in the correct receptacles. Students were given tricky choices, such as greasy cardboard pizza boxes, glossy magazines, and plastic cups.
ETF had a recycling expert on hand, from local non-profit Eco-Cycle, which handles the recycling services for the school. Eco-Cycle was able to explain tricky items and judge the results. Students had a great time and gained knowledge about how to help keep as many materials as possible out of the landfill.
With a $50 prize on the line, for the winning Advisory, the competition was fierce. In a statement after the winner was announcement, the triumphant Advisory Leader declared,
“We learned what goes where and how to effectively minimize our waste. I feel like this was a great opportunity for us to practice these skills in a really fun way… Ultimately I think that the race was a positive thing, because it made us really focus on what we throw out and how. And it’s always fun to win!”
As for what they’ll do with their grand prize? The students plan to buy snacks and materials for their advisory projects and celebrations throughout the year. In an effort to continue to educate incoming students and remind returning students about what goes where, ETF has decided to make the Recycling Relay Race an annual event.
This is Gracie Currier-Tait, ETF member, signing off!
Edited by Paige Doughty
The Earth Task Force (ETF) is a Cottonwood Institute-supported program at New Vista High School in Boulder, CO designed to give students an opportunity to take the lead to implement sustainability initiatives at their school.