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!
Did you know that the United States alone disposes of over 22 billion petroleum based water bottles every year, and that each of these bottles will take an estimated one million years to decompose? The second quarter Community Adventure Program (CAP) class at New Vista High School heard this and decided to take action! In addition to learning important outdoor survival skills and awareness, each CAP class must take on a current environmental issue in their own self-designed action Project. This past quarter, students at New Vista chose to address local water issues.
Students broke up their action project focus into two separate issues: bottled water and water conservation. The production and transportation of bottled water is contributing to global climate change and chemicals in the plastic are potentially harmful to human health. Water is essential for all living beings, but as humans we tend to take it for granted. Living in the semi-arid region of Boulder, Colorado, water conservation is critical.
To begin their project, students logged on to the net to research bottled water use and abuse. They learned about their local water shed through a presentation by Jennelle Freeston of the Keep it Clean Partnership, and interviewed John Winchester of High Country Hydrology to learn about water issues concerning Colorado and the laws surrounding rainwater harvesting. After all this, the students had a meeting to form a plan of action. They decided on three separate modalities: a proposal to the Boulder Valley School District Coordinator to replace toilets and urinals in schools with water conserving low-flow models, a continuation of their research on rainwater harvesting, and a video to educate peers, family and the community about bottled water and water conservation.
According to Levi McIntire, “the amount of work that was put into this project was amazing. The video that we made will be a huge success for everyone in the CAP class. I am very glad that this project went well and no one had a sour attitude towards it. Because of this we were able to make something so great. I thank everyone in my class. It was so nice to do something for the environment. I learned many things in this class that I would not learn in any other class including group skills and problem solving skills.”
By the end of the class, CAP students completed yet another successful action project. They submitted a Low-Flow Appliance Proposal to Ghita Carrol, the Boulder Valley School District Sustainability Coordinator, and held three different viewings of the movie they created at the New Vista High School Exhibition Day. Even now after the end of the class students are still working to get their movie aired on a local community television station CCTV 54. Already the class has reached over 80 people with their movie. Unfortunately rainwater harvesting proved to be a subject too complicated to include in the video in the short amount of time the students had. To finish it all off the class spent two hours cleaning up Boulder Creek and collected 6 bags of trash and one bag a recycling. Students learned that they can make a difference through action in their own lives and will continue their efforts into the upcoming semester.