| Sarah Rudeen

We Walked the Walk: New Vista Spring CAP Students Tackle Water Pollution


The students of New Vista High School and Cottonwood Institute’s Community Adventure Program (CAP) discovered buckets of information about water pollution and stream restoration this quarter and realized there was a lot they could do to help. With visible enthusiasm, they decided to pick this as their Action Project. The Action Project is a student-led project designed to collaborate with other local organizations and to positively address their issue of choice.  

CAP43_classtime_5.23.2016_63My students went into the project full-force and with lots of ambition; they decided there was more than one thing they wanted to tackle! They took on a three-part action project and split into three groups that worked cohesively on one piece of the project. First, they chose to inform the public by creating their own fliers on water pollution and talking to passersby on Pearl Street in Boulder. Students talked to people about unhealthy levels of bacteria in Boulder Creek and actions they can take to help address this problem. Next, they educated the surrounding neighborhoods about flood danger by teaming up with the City of Boulder to hand out door fliers. Students passed out door hangers to neighborhoods that have a high likelihood of flooding and what to do in the event of a flood. Lastly, they teamed up with Wildland Restoration Volunteers and Boulder County to do a stream restoration volunteer day along Rock Creek in Boulder County. They spent the afternoon planting willow trees, cottonwood trees, and sedges along the banks of Rock Creek to help stabilize it.  


Their project helped to spread awareness among residents of Boulder County and their volunteer hours doing stream restoration made a difference on Rock Creek. One CAP student, Max Lineberger, gives his reflection on the Action Project,

“I was impressed with how much we got done with our action project, and thought it was a success.  I liked educating people on Pearl Street just because it pushed me out of my comfort zone talking to strangers. I also like the door hangers just because they were very informative and reached out to a lot of people. The creek restoration was cool because I like doing physical labor. It makes me feel very accomplished.”  

Their project was a big success and they were able to share their successes with other New Vista High School students through a slideshow they created toward the end of the quarter. Another student, Mia Cascio, sums it up well: they really didn’t just talk the talk, they walked the walk…

“I loved our action project so much, it was something relevant to today’s ecological problems. It was something I knew would make a big impact, I knew it was something I could look back on ten years from now and see the willow trees, I could see the difference that I made to the world, especially the water. I am a big water person in general. I love the water, the way it ripples over the rocks, the way to flows so clearly through the grass and the muddy banks, so, to hear that it was a victim of factories pollution along with other types of pollution even more so than I thought, I was happy that we were going to do something about it. It was nice to know that we did something, not just that we talked about it but that we went into the community and educated people about the problem as well as doing something to fix the problem. We walked the walk instead of just talking the talk, I think that that is really important when you are doing something called an Action Project.”

Written by: CAP Instructor and Program Coordinator, Taryn Longberry

Want to see more photos of class time at New Vista? Check out our Shutterfly share site: Click Here.


Categories: Community Adventure Program, Cottonwood Institute News, Program News

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