Earth Task Force and Cottonwood Institute Present at National Green Schools Conference
The Earth Task Force (ETF), the environmental club at New Vista High School in Boulder, sponsored by the Cottonwood Institute (CI), took part in a whirlwind of events, workshops and speeches at the National Green Schools Conference in Denver February 27th-29th. A tremendous amount of environmental sustainability topics were covered throughout the conference including the Earth Task Force story and vision presented by our very own ETF members in a breakout workshop. They also listened to nationally-renowned keynote speakers, participated in a student summit, and heard stories of other like-minded organizations and schools; not to mention the talking robot named Mrfy, made out of recycled and reused materials!
On the first day, members of the ETF participated in a student summit; connecting students from around the country who are committed to addressing environmental issues within their schools and communities. Each ETF member went to a breakout session that covered different environmental sustainability topics. After having fantastic brainstorming meetings, all the groups at the student summit heard Alec Loorz, one of the leading young voices in the US on the issue of climate change, speak about the global issues that are happening due to climate change. He spoke eloquently about his own personal story of becoming a climate change activist at the age of 12.
On Tuesday, ETF members returned to Denver to partake in the many different breakout sessions and events. They listened to inspiring tales of positive social and environmental change from a great keynote speaker and had a delicious and eye-opening experience during lunch. The lunch, put on by the Boulder Valley School District’s Director of Food Services, Ann Cooper, showcased how unhealthy the average school lunch is; did you know pizza is considered a vegetable! After participating in more afternoon breakout sessions, ETF members went home to prepare for their big presentation.
On the final day of the conference ETF members, mentors, and the Cottonwood Institute Adventure Coordinator presented on CI’s successes at New Vista High School. All were nervous standing in their silly superhero costumes amidst the fancy digs of the Hyatt lobby, but the team gathered their supplies and took a collective deep breath. The presentation involved interactive activities to simulate the incredible experiences students and adults have during CI’s programs, as well as telling the story of success through the individual perspectives and experiences of those working with ETF and the Community Adventure Program (CAP), another CI sponsored class held at New Vista where students connect to the outdoors.
As the session wrapped up, the Green Schools Conference Team felt they had accomplished their goal of spreading CI’s vision and the ETF’s mission to others involved in environmental sustainability. The conference left attendees inspired and reinvigorated to continue to do what we do best: saving the planet in fun, creative ways!
Written by ETF intern, Aaron Fox
Edited by Paige Doughty, ETF mentor
Click here for a slideshow of the whirlwind of activities!
On Thursday, September 17, 2009 students from Gilpin K-8 School headed over to the South Platte River in downtown Denver to team up with Earth Force and Cottonwood Institute for World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD).
In partnership with Keep it Clean from Drain to Stream (KIC), a water education campaign led by Denver Public Works, Denver City Councilwoman Judy Montero kicked off the event with her inspiring opening remarks and encouraged students to do their part to help keep Denver’s water clean. Approximately 25 students and 10 volunteers performed a variety of tests along the South Platte River to check the water quality for the wildlife that call it home and for the people that use it for recreation. Students performed several water tests including, pH, turbidity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen, waded in the water in search of macroinvertebrates, and participated in an interactive game called “The Incredible Journey” to understand the water cycle.
Students recorded their findings, which will be submitted to the Water Environment Federation. Community results are published each year in the “Year in Review” report and made available on the WWMD website, so stay tuned for more information. At the end of the day, students had gained knowledge on not just water, but how to keep it safe, how to know it’s safe, and how to enjoy it responsibly.
WWMD was one of three events Cottonwood Institute, Earth Force and Gilpin have planned for the 2009 – 2010 school year thanks to a generous grant from REI. Other courses include a fall camping trip and a spring rafting adventure, so check back with us to keep track of all that we accomplish throughout the year.