This past May, while West Denver Prep students persevered through a rainy weekend camping trip, the South Platte River was lacking the water needed for a true rafting experience. Unfortunately, this resulted in the cancellation of a well-earned rafting trip for the students from this year’s Three Trees and a River Project with West Denver Prep.
However, the Cottonwood Institute, West Denver Prep, and City Wild, would not give up. By working together, the kids finally had an experience to remember for the rest of their lives. Teaming up with City Wild, another non-profit working to connect youth to the outdoors, West Denver Prep students, their teacher, and CI instructors alike, excitedly pushed the rafts into the river to finally begin their day on the water. While students learned about their watershed and the importance of rivers, they also learned how to comfortably explore the water and became experts at jumping into the river to engage in “water wars.” The trip was a positive experience for everyone who took part, and despite being somewhat belated, it turned out to be the perfect end to an exciting year’s worth of service learning.
To check out more photos from the trip, Click Here.
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.