We are all members of the Colorado River Basin community. Whether you live within the watershed geographic boundary or if you rely on the resources from within the Basin, we are all connected members and consumers of the Colorado River.
Living in the headwaters of the Colorado River Basin we have tremendous responsibility to protect this water source:
Rising Demand, dwindling supply creates a wicked problem across the West. Dramatic population growth in the region, the fastest in the U.S, is increasing water demand at the same time drought and warming temperatures are diminishing supply. By 2050, the region’s population is projected to grow to 50 million, further increasing demand.
Native fish and birds are already in decline, and cities and farms often struggle with reduced water supply. The ultimate testament of the demands on the Colorado, the river no longer reaches the sea.
At the same time, our youth are quickly growing up into our complex overwhelming world of problems as well as opportunities. Their creativity, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit give us real hope for tackling the challenges of today and the future. We must create opportunities for them to understand the complexities of today’s wicked problems, create their own voice, gain confidence to stand for what they believe, and articulate their evidence based ideas for change. Most of all, the adult community of professionals (water resources leaders, decision and policy makers, community leaders, and elected officials) must be open to authentic listening and learning from our youth.
The Youth Water Leadership Program is a multifaceted participant driven program for middle and high school students. The education experience is intended to increase water literacy and specifically Colorado River water management knowledge of students. The program inspires meaningful dialogue and community engagement between students, their teachers, and water resource professionals. Students and teachers engage in project based learning to create unique, student designed water stewardship research projects and evidence based action plans pertaining to a specific area of water and river management in the West. The student action plans promote confidence, critical thinking, and leadership skills applicable and tools necessary for the 21st century workforce.
Local Colorado River Watch student groups participate by posing a complex question relevant to their stream sampling. They are investigating the question and then using creative techniques to share the unique features, data, and stories of their stream site. The student suggested action plans include existing and future concerns for their sites such as upstream uses, diversions, and pollutants.
The Youth Water Leadership Program connects students with the best available water resource and stream management information and exposes them to experts in the field as well as introduces future career possibilities. These experiences can include: bicycle ditch tours to understand the flow of water from the headgate on the river to the agricultural ditch on the school’s property with the local water commissioner and hydrologist; finding the spring that feeds the water features on the school property, roll playing water manager careers and making tough water supply decisions, simulating the prior appropriation water rights system in the West, and exploring how the plumbing of the Colorado River system works as well as its limitations.
During the culminating annual Youth Water Summit, students present their action plans and suggestions to water resource professionals (local water resources leaders, decision and policy makers, community leaders, and elected officials) as well as their peers from other schools.
This mini-conference for students and by students allows students the opportunity to come together from up and down the valley and share their science, exploration, research, and suggestions with each other and the community. The students need to be heard by adults who care about their work.
Come see on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 in Carbondale, Colorado. Learn more.
During these free KDNK member-only deliberative forums participants will weigh options, listen to understand, expand democratic attitudes around climate, water, and energy, build relationships, and increase their civic capacity. Sarah Johnson, trained deliberative forum moderator will be moderating the forums. You don’t need any special knowledge or preparation to participate. All KDNK members age 16 and up are invited to participate. Registration is required by emailing Gavin@kdnk.org.
KDNK Community Radio, 76 S. Second Street, Carbondale, CO 81623
What is a Deliberative Forum?
A moderated thoughtful public process where citizens will learn from one another, weighing various approaches, and find courses of action consistent with what the community and individuals hold valuable. During a deliberative forum, people:
The first annual Gunnison River Teacher Institute was a success! Western State Colorado University's Extended Studies Program and the Colorado Water Workshop collaborated to create the teacher institute. Teachers participated from the Gunnison, South Platte, and Arkansas Basins. Through many hands-on interactive activities they learned how to incorporate watershed thinking into their curriculum to create relevant context and connections for their students.
The fast paced week long rigorous 3 graduate credit course included tools for teaching western water management, river ecology, fisheries, and geography of the Colorado River Basin. Field experiences included a hike to Morrow Point Reservoir and up East Elk Creek with Curecanti National Recreation Area, Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery tour, Spring Creek river ecology field day with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Colorado Trout Unlimited, tour of Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, whitewater rafting on the Taylor River, and a visit to Coldharbour Ranch.
The second half of the week teachers participated in the 42nd annual Colorado Water Workshop conference engaging with water resource professionals from across Colorado learning about current water issues and innovative management strategies. Participating in the Gunnison River Festival was also included throughout the week including water trivia night, live music, and a celebration at the Gunnison Whitewater Park.
Learning all about watersheds and how they work
Institute Feedback from Participants
Reflection on the River Institute from Sarah Johnson, Instructor
The 2018 River Teacher Institute planning is underway and details will be announced in January 2018. Sign up here to get information about upcoming workshop details.
A couple final videos from the week
Wild Rose Education's, Sarah Johnson has coordinated the Colorado Foundation for Water Education's Water Educator Network (WEN) February 2016 through June 2017. This latest report celebrates the collective impacts of the WEN during the past 5 months.
Celebrating the great water education happening around the state and finding ways to support educators to increase effectiveness across the state has been the goal of the WEN. Read the entire report here.
The first annual water education workshop at Shadowcliff in Grand Lake, Colorado laid the groundwork for many more teacher watershed education workshops in the coming years. Educators participating included early childhood to high school teachers as well as non-formal educators. The successful partnership between Rotary Club of Grand Lake, Shadowcliff, Outstanding Grand Lake, Grand Environmental Services, and the Grand Lake Chamber made this Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) workshop for Grand County educators and others from Winter Park and Golden Colorado.
Teachers responded from the workshop on how they plan to change their instructional practices based on what they learned at the workshop:
Overall feedback from the Project WET workshop:
We are already working on creating the 2018 Grand Lake Headwaters Watershed Education Workshop. Sign up here to get information about upcoming workshop details.
Moderating Community Deliberative Forums: Finding Common Ground for Wicked Issues
Deliberate to find common ground for wicked issues including climate change, water availability in Colorado, and energy choices. We can moderate a deliberation for your group of 8-14 adults or students as a method to facilitate learning, improve democratic attitudes, build relationships, and increase civic capacity within any group. View the Deliberating Colorado Water Issues Introduction slide show.
Wild Rose Consulting's, Sarah Johnson has been the lead coordinator of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education's Water Educator Network (WEN) in 2016. This hot off the press evaluation report celebrates how the WEN has been engaging Colorado water education leaders during the past year.
Celebrating the great water education happening around the state and finding ways to support educators collectively to be more effective has been the 2016 goal of the WEN. The WEN has increased the collective impact of water education in Colorado by providing water education leaders tools, trainings, and opportunities for collaboration that are relevant to their work and easily accessible and simple to implement. Read the entire report here.
Sarah was invited during the fall of 2016 to collaborate with the Colorado Geographic Alliance to create lessons and curriculum using the new Colorado Giant Map. The lessons designed by Sarah focused on Colorado's rivers, watersheds, and the continental divide. This map will travel around the state to elementary and middle schools in coming years. Read more.
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