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.