This spring Denver Green School CAP classes had an awesome and exciting semester! We explored the world around us; Learned new skills and wilderness survival; Educated ourselves about environmental issues that affect our communities; And designed and implemented community action projects to affect real change in our worlds! We began the semester by exploring our connection to nature, and how we define it and live with it. We learned that nature can be found anywhere, even in cities and our neighborhoods! Then we moved on to learning about environmental issues in our communities in a range of topics: water, transportation, energy, ecology, food, and waste.
We read about what causes these issues and brainstormed solutions to these problems. We researched other young people around the world who have made a difference in their communities, and taken actions to inspire others. Amidst all of this, we went on a winter field day and an overnight camping trip. On these trips, we honed our wilderness and outdoor skills, hiked, saw beautiful vistas, and had a great time meeting other students and playing games with our friends. We finished out the semester by picking two environmental topics that interested us the most. We used these topics in creating community action projects to learn more about them and address these issues.
The Monday/Wednesday CAP class finished the year out strong with a project related to pollution in streams. We were interested in exploring our local waterway, Cherry Creek, to discover which, if any, contaminants were present. The first half of our project involved buying a water testing kit and taking a field trip to Cherry Creek to test the water. Our logistics team organized everything from transportation to materials to timing and getting permission from the right people. Down at the creek, we tested water samples for 10 different things: bacteria, pesticides, nitrates, lead, iron, nitrites, hardness, pH level, chlorine and copper.
We found that the samples tested negative for everything except bacteria. Using this information, the PR/media relations team contacted local media outlets to inform them and invite them to write a story on the project. Then, everyone helped make signs and posters with our findings and more information about water pollution and the harm it can cause. We arranged with the local King Soopers grocery store to take a trip to their store and present these findings to customers as they came in and out. Several people stopped to talk to us and learn more information! Meanwhile, our documentary team was taking pictures and videos of the entire process; documenting all the steps we took to organize this project and see it through to completion. We had fun, learned a lot, and educated our neighbors and community about water pollution!
The Tuesday/Thursday CAP class decided to focus on food waste in our community for their final project. Something we were particularly interested in was the amount of food that gets wasted from grocery stores. They have huge amounts of produce that either go bad, or can’t get sold because of cosmetic quality. The logistics team contacted the local King Soopers and organized a meeting with a manager to discuss what the store did with leftover or bad produce. They also researched organizations in Denver that collect, recycle or reuse food waste.
The logistics team researched and organized transport, setting up the meeting, and coming up with interview questions. The PR/media relations team contacted local media organizations to tell them about our project and invite them to come do a story on us. This was great practice talking on the phone and coordinating with official media outlets! The documentary team wrote interview questions, took pictures and video, and conducted interviews with faculty and students to learn more about the project. We took a trip to King Soopers and met with a manager. We learned that King Soopers composts the majority of their biodegradable food; that location is planning on starting to sell the compost they produce by next year! We had a fantastic time learning about reducing food waste, and seeing all the different and exotic fruits and vegetables in a grocery store!
Our 2nd semester DGS CAP classes had a great time this year. We explored our connection with nature, learned about environmental issues that affect our community and how we can act to make changes. It was a great time hanging out and learning with friends, and meeting and working with other students. We hope that many of us will continue to explore the outdoors and be inspired to use what we’ve learned to make a difference in our communities.
Thank you to King Soopers for working with our students!
See more photos from the project here
Written by CAP class instructor Colleen Daszkiewicz