The 26th CAP class at New Vista High School has come to a close with a great project on water quality in Boulder Creek and some fantastic reflection papers. We faced some challenges and learned a lot this quarter. Our biggest success as a group was the cohesiveness and friendship we found together.
Melanie Wilkerson said it well, “We played games, hung out, had meals and did things that made it really feel like we were in a group. A CAP community.” Of course food always brings people together and this quarter it was the burrito-fests that really did it!
“My second favorite part of the second overnight was making tons of burritos for everyone. It helped us learn that we are all similar people and we can have a good time together if we cooperate,” said Dylan Brennan.
Overnights were a favorite as usual but it was the teamwork, leadership and journaling that drew out the learning most and revealed what CAP is really all about. Alex Knuckey said, “CAP class is what the students in it make it, which was awesome because I have never helped to design a class before.” We started every day with a quote so I think I will leave it to the quotes of the 2010 first quarter class. Here’s what they had to say:
“This leadership position was the biggest learning experience of the whole class for me. My respect for teachers more than doubled when I realized how difficult it is to get a bunch of kids to focus.” Leo Louis
“In this quarter I learned a lot about the class and the person I am…” Adam Bowers
“I care a lot more about the environment than I did before I went through the class, it also changed the way I thought about helping my community and made me realize how much people need to take action.” Alex Elnagdy
“Throughout the action project process I learned that it is possible for a group of teenagers to make a difference in the community.” Jo Skulski
And at the heart of CAP is always the natural world….”I enjoyed going outside almost every class, even if it is just for a few minutes sometimes. It made me feel free, relaxed and happy.” Nevena Dakovic
After much discussion and many good ideas, Community Adventure Program (CAP) students decided to dive in deep to tackle the water quality of Boulder Creek. As a central part of downtown Boulder, the class thought it was unfortunate that there was visible trash around the creek constantly, so they decided to do something about it!
Why Boulder Creek? Here are some of their values and the reasons they chose this project:
Water is the most important resource.
We want Boulder to live up to its’ name of being environmentally friendly.
We want to preserve the wildlife around Boulder creek and every living thing affected by Boulder Creek.
We want to be able to help a place we all go and enjoy in our lives.
We don’t want the people downstream to be affected because of what other people do further up stream.
Water is all a huge cycle and if it gets polluted some place, it can affect billions more gallons of water farther on.
The environment is important.
Fish are cool.
We want to make some sort of difference in our community.
It is one of our favorite places to chill.
We want better habitat for wildlife and we want to help make better experiences for anyone who visits Boulder Creek.
To get started students researched facts about Boulder Creek and water pollution. They found plenty of information and shaped it into a power point presentation to help educate other students at New Vista High School. Some findings were pretty grim; such as the fact that fish gender is being changed by some chemicals in the creek. Other information gave them hope for the health of Boulder Creek, including the number of bird species found around the creek. In addition, they discovered that a lot of work has been done to maintain healthy stream flow, such as the rows of boulders set across the creek to create pools and riffles.
Students found that a major factor with creek pollution are the storm drains that bring water into the creek from sites all over town. In order to help mitigate the pollution in the runoff, CAP participated in the Keep It Clean Partnership Campaign by adding stickers to storm drains. They added stickers to over 20 storm drains in the neighborhoods west of New Vista High School.
In order to increase awareness, students also created their own posters about keeping the creek clean and free of garbage. In their final effort to maintain the health of Boulder Creek CAP students donned rubber gloves spent the afternoon filling 7 trash bags with garbage removed from the creek!
The class was proud of their efforts and excited to be part of making a difference in the Boulder Community. They learned a lot and had fun working together!