When anybody in Boulder litters, sooner or later it ends up in the creek and river system. Not only does this destroy diverse creek ecosystems, but it also contaminates the water. Contamination is the last thing the river system needs because much of the water in Colorado runs off into the rest of the country, which animals and people, use for their drinking water. It’s a life source that a simple careless act can spoil.
New Vista High School’s Earth Task Force (ETF), sponsored by the Cottonwood Institute, took note of this issue, and decided to help out. On October 1st, 2011, group members, teachers, and students from the larger New Vista High School community went to the local Skunk Creek for a bit of tidying up. ETF partnered with the Keep It Clean Partnership to pick up a surprising amount of trash! They covered just a two-block stretch of the creek in two hours, picking up any trash they could find. The number of cigarette butts alone was daunting. Nine bags of trash and one bag of recyclable materials were collected and the ETF covered only a fraction of the area they had planned to cover. Students were shocked by how much trash they found.
As a result of this action project the Earth Task Force plans to adopt this stretch of Skunk Creek by returning to it throughout the year to keep it clean!
Article written by Leah Muller, Earth Task Force Member and edited by Paige Doughty, Earth Task Force Mentor.
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.