During a rainy weekend in May, the Cottonwood Institute teamed up with students from West Denver Preparatory Charter School and their teacher, Leigh Garrison, for a spring overnight course at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. This course concluded the extensive Three Trees and a River Project, in which students participated in a water testing field trip for World Water Monitoring Day, went on an overnight camping trip in the fall, and completed a one-day service project planting cottonwood trees at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield.
Despite arriving in a downpour of rain that persisted throughout the weekend, students set up their camp outdoors and immediately set to work learning about some of Colorado’s native avian wildlife. During their time at Chatfield students were given the opportunity to watch banding, a process in which various birds are caught and banded around the ankle so their migration patterns can be tracked in the future. Students observed the bird banding, and then helped release them once the banding process was complete. When the students weren’t working with birds they learned some new survival skills and visited the cottonwood saplings they planted a mere three months earlier.
Although the weather prevented students from going on a rafting trip, it did not prevent them from doing anything else. “They didn’t want to leave by the end of the program, despite the weather,” said Ryan Johns, one of the course instructors who has been working with the students throughout the Three Trees and a River Project. The students were engaged in the course, and everyone came prepared with the right attitude to handle the tasks at hand and still have fun. In the end, the students were able to participate in some amazing and exciting activities with birds and shared a unique experience that will stay with them for years to come.
Written by Lindsey Quakenbush and edited by April Pishna.