| Ford Church

The Community Adventure Program Celebrates 10 Years at New Vista High School!

2013 marked the 10th year Cottonwood Institute (CI) has been teaching at New Vista High School! That’s 10 years of exploring, adventuring, playing, and taking action in the Boulder community.

Back in the summer of 2003, Ford Church, CI’s founder and executive director, approached New Vista High School about implementing the Community Adventure Program (CAP), which was a culminating project of his Master’s thesis at Prescott College. Rona Wilensky, former Principal of New Vista, gave Ford the opportunity to teach this unique program and was extremely happy with the results. Ford was able to generate a genuine rapport with students and CAP was an instant hit with students, parents, administrators, and community members. Throughout the past decade other rock stars have taught this empowering class at New Vista, including: Paige Doughty, Madeline Bachner, and Katie Craig.

CAP is Cottonwood Institute’s core program offered to students who want to practice outdoor skills, discuss and debate local outdoor and environmental issues, develop deeper friendships with their classmates, and who want to make a positive impact in their communities. Through active participation in CAP, students spend their time developing essential camping and wilderness survival skills, going on hikes, preparing for two overnight camping trips per quarter, identifying local environmental issues, choosing an environmental issue that they are passionate about as a class, collaborating with local community organizations, and designing and implementing a student-directed Action Project as they explore sustainable win-win solutions to address their environmental issue. CAP introduces students to the concept of environmental sustainability and teaches them specific ways to reduce their environmental footprint both in the back country and throughout their daily lives.

Let’s take a look at the top five most memorable action projects from the past 10 years:

  • 2003, Second Quarter: Students in the first pilot CAP class created an Action Project to address the aesthetic and environmental issues of dog feces in Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks. Their goal was to increase public awareness about this issue, so they wrote an article and pitched it to the local media.
  • 2007, Third Quarter: This class created a greenhouse and composting area at New Vista to help the school reduce its environmental footprint. They collaborated with Cultiva and other businesses and organizations to learn how to garden, learn how to compost, and donate building materials. New Vista is still gardening and composting today!
  • 2010, Fourth Quarter: Students researched the idea of eating locally, and the environmental impact of food miles. The class spent their action project week volunteering at farms, planting a square foot garden plot for tomatoes at their home garden, creating educational displays about how to eat in season, and preparing an amazing multimedia presentation for their whole school titled “The Imported Food Blues” complete with singing, dancing, and costumes.
  • 2010, Second Quarter: Students created a two-pronged action project that focused on honey bees and cold frames. To raise awareness and support local hives, they held a bake sale with treats made with local honey. They used money raised from the bake sale to build a cold-frame at their school. The cold-frame attracted more bees to their pollinator garden at New Vista.
  • 2013, First Quarter: Students from this class created an action project on energy efficiency, especially in the cold winter months. After researching and understanding the most cost-effective ways of “winterizing” a home or large building, they educated their school by visiting classes and handing out fliers. They also informed students and teachers of unique ways to conserve energy throughout the year. Through a bake sale, they raised enough money to purchase winterization supplies to insulate all classrooms that requested their services at New Vista.

“The Community Adventure Program was, without a doubt, one of the best classes I have taken at New Vista High School. The Community Adventure Program helped me understand more about my place in the world and how I want to save it. It has helped me understand the incredible potential and opportunity I have as a high school student to make a true difference in the world.” ~Community Adventure Program Alumnus

Thank you so much to all of the students, teachers, administrators, funders and supporters who have helped make this class extraordinary over the past decade. We’re looking forward to our next 10 years at New Vista High School!

Take a look at pictures from CAP at New Vista High School by clicking here: https://capatnvhs.shutterfly.com/



Categories: Action Projects, Community Adventure Program, Cottonwood Institute News, Updates

Back to Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.