Though all the Western Rivers Teacher Workshops and Public Lands of the United States educator graduate courses had to take on a virtual reality during the summer of 2020, participants still are actively exploring outside and collecting important citizen science data. While out exploring public lands and riparian corridors (riverfront property) the participants are using the iNaturalist and GLOBE Observer smartphone apps to collect, record, and share their observations. These courses are part of the 2020 Western Colorado University's Teacher Institute typically hosted in and around Gunnison, Colorado.
iNaturalist Riparian Explorations
As of June 18, teacher participants have collected nearly 100 observations of plant and animal species across Colorado and in Florida (one participant lives near Orlando). Sharing these observations in iNaturalist not only contributes to the scientific community, but also builds a sense of shared community among the participants during this time of virtual learning. View the class findings. And if you know more about the species observed join our learning community and feel free to make comments or suggest an identification after logging into iNaturalist.
In addition to conducting riparian surveys during the on-your-own field trips, the particiaptns are taking Land Cover and Cloud observations using NASA's GLOBE Observer app. Taking note of disturbed areas, areas with recent change or those with upcoming planned development are the types of areas participants are recording in GLOBE Observer. So far the group has collected 38 observations. View the data points and the observation photos. You too can get outside and collect observation data and contribute it to GLOBE; here's how.
In light of the current pandemic, we're shifting to the hybrid virtual course format. Wild Rose Education offering four educator summer workshops in partnership with Western Colorado University, The Wilderness Society, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Colorado School of Mines Teacher Enhancement Program, and the Youth Water Leadership Program.
Courses and workshops include:
*** These courses are not exactly 'at your own pace on your own'. There will be specific assignment deadlines, synchronous online meetings/classes, and lots of asynchronous on your activities/readings. We're going to wait to decide on the virtual meeting times to get input from registered participants so we can find a time that works best for most. We'll be starting with a virtual meeting on the first day of the course listed above at a specific time that has not yet been set. Thanks for your patience as we switch these courses from regular in-person field trip courses to hybrid virtual versions in light of Covid-19. Let me know what other questions you may have.
The Youth Water Leadership Program hosted the Community Action & Problem-Solving Process Teacher Workshop facilitated by Earth Force and offered graduate credit from the Colorado School of Mines for over 15 educators at the Third Street Center in Carbondale, Colorado on August 5, 2019. Educators attended from Grand Junction, Cedaredge, Leadville, Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale, Parachute, and Glenwood Springs.
This workshop helped me see the opportunity for supporting student voice opportunities."
One thing I want to remember from today is not to be afraid to reach out to community members. "
Participants were introduced to Earth Force’s award-winning Community Action and Problem Solving Process. The Earth Force Process is a six-step approach that combines the best of action civics, environmental education, and STEM to provide a framework of action for teachers seeking to engage students in hands-on community environmental action projects. This professional development gave educators the opportunity to understand how incorporating youth voice, student-driven inquiry, democratic decision-making and place-based authentic problem-solving into their classrooms prepares students for life-long environmental stewardship, civic engagement, and collaborative action. Participants gained a better understanding of how to engage students in learning that makes a difference, for students and communities. All were encouraged to participate in the upcoming Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit and to publish their students' work on the Youth River Voices blog.
All this made possible by these generous 2019 Youth Water Leadership Program sponsors.
Fifteen educators from across Colorado convened for a River Ecology and Water in the West courses during the 3nd annual Western Rivers Teacher Workshops during the 2019 Western Colorado University's Summer Teacher Institute. In addition to five days of instruction in the field and classroom, participants learned to use ESRI story maps and Google My Maps to share special watershed topics and create walking field trip maps from their school. let us know, and we'll keep you up to date on upcoming registration deadlines.
River as Text: Ecology course
Water in the West course
Feedback from participants:
Monday, August 5, 2019 8:00 am-4:30 pm
Third Street Center, Carbondale, Colorado
Join Wild Rose Education's Youth Water Leadership Program and Earth Force for a one-day educator professional development event! Participants will be introduced to Earth Force’s award-winning Community Action and Problem Solving Process. The Earth Force Process is a six-step approach that combines the best of action civics, environmental education, and STEM to provide a framework of action for teachers seeking to engage students in hands-on community environmental action projects. This professional development gives West Slope educators the opportunity to understand how incorporating youth voice, student-driven inquiry, democratic decision-making and place-based authentic problem-solving into their classrooms prepares students for life-long environmental stewardship, civic engagement, and collaborative action. Participants will gain a better understanding of how to engage students in learning that makes a difference, for students and communities.
Participating educators will receive an Earth Force Educator Guide to the Community Action and Problem-Solving Process, a TIPS Cards reference set, web-based classroom resources, and a digital archive. Earth Force in partnership with Wild Rose Education, provides trained educators ongoing teacher support from class visits to stakeholder outreach, at no cost.
This workshop is made possible by these generous 2019 Youth Water Leadership Program sponsors.
Monday - Friday, June 10-14, 2019
Western State Colorado University, Gunnison, Colorado
Utilize western rivers to meet interdisciplinary academic standards creating relevant place based context for your students.
Register through the Extended Studies program.
See last year's participant reflections, photos, and more here.
River as Text: Ecology (3 days)
Monday-Wednesday June 10-12, 2019, 2 credit course
Learn how to utilize rivers and riparian habitat as the context to meet your curriculum through observations, explorations, discussions, and journaling to create student-centered learning experiences. During this field-based course, participants will explore the three major components of a river ecosystem: aquatic life, water quality, and riparian habitat. Inter-disciplinary field experiences include field trips to local riverside parks, Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery, and Curecanti National Recreation Area. Participants will also create an online Google My Maps river field trip asset map for their school. Physical ability to walk across uneven terrain, stand for long durations, and carry equipment is highly suggested.
Water in the West (2 days)
Thursday-Friday June 13-14, 2019, 1 credit course
Learn how to incorporate the complexities of water management in the West into your curriculum through cross-curricular field and classroom activities and routines. Using questioning, observing, and reflecting routines participants will explore western water management, water law, and watershed geography. Participants will also create an ESRI Story Map using online GIS tools to explore and explain water management concepts and corresponding geography more closely. Field experiences include a Blue Mesa Dam visit, a visit to Taylor Reservoir, and time at Gunnison Mountain Park. Physical ability to walk across uneven terrain and stand for long durations is highly suggested.
1. If you sign up with a group by May 17 everyone gets a discounted rate, up to four people from your school district.
2. Western State makes the dormitories available during the workshops at a very affordable rate for lodging.
3. Childcare is available at the Tenderfoot Child and Family Development Center during the courses.
We are proud to be presenting at the 2019 Colorado Trout Unlimited Annual Rendezvous April 26-28 at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. We will be sharing proven best practices for developing nonformal river education programs and how to do community engagement well in local river education programming.
Community Engagement: How Do We Do it Well?
poster session, Saturday evening, April 27
Learn about the new Community Engagement Guidelines for Excellence, a free robust accessible publication of best practices, practical tools, and case studies for working in partnership with your community to strengthen the underpinnings of environmental quality and community well-being. The Guidelines offer proven strategies for developing stronger social equity, shared prosperity, and the capacity to pursue these goals together within the local community.
How to Get Started Creating New River Education Programs
mini-workshop, Saturday April 27, 9:45am-10:45am
Do you want to develop new (or improved) river and water education programs for your organization with the best planning, executing, and evaluating best practices from the environmental education field? This fast paced mini workshop will introduce participants to the program development cycle including needs assessment, program design and delivery, and evaluation. Participants will leave with access to the free publication: Nonformal Environmental Education Programs: Guidelines for Excellence.
The Mobile Earth + Space Observatory (MESO) is coming to Carbondale Middle School in March to present an environmental education program on The Importance of Water, thanks to a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. MESO, a science center on wheels, will be parked at Carbondale Middle School for the week of March 11-15, providing an assembly program for all of the school’s 300+ students, and inquiry-based classroom activities for the eighth grade classes. Students will interact with scientist educators from the National Space Science & Technology Institute (NSSTI) as they explore topics and engage in learning that augments the school’s curriculum on the water cycle, watersheds, water purification, and water conservation.
After school, MESO staff will be available for students to further explore Earth & space science using telescopes and other scientific instrumentation. In the evening on March 14, MESO will be open to the public, allowing students’ families and friends to visit and participate in celestial observing. The week will culminate in a “Puddle Palooza” Science Festival on March 14th at 6:30pm for community members to experience highlights of the program presented to students during the week and visit with community partners who deal with water issues and concerns.
This visit has been a year in the making, as school staff and NSSTI planned hands-on scientific inquiry to allow students to experience first-hand what it is to be a scientist. Wild Rose Education's Youth Water Leadership Program and Carbondale Middle School Science faculty and administrators have coordinated with the NSSTI staff to integrate MESO in the school’s schedule this week, and invite community participation in the Thursday night event highlighting the week-long focus on water.
“The program is designed to reach students who might not otherwise have access to the scientists and scientific instrumentation provided by the MESO,” said Robert Sallee, Chairman of the NSSTI Board of Directors. “We want to engage and excite students, and motivate them to pursue additional education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects leading to careers in the technology workforce.” “This project will engage middle school students in learning and research in vital environmental issues relating to our Colorado water supplies with an emphasis on community-based concerns,” Sallee said. “The educational programs have been created to be consistent with Colorado science education standards and build upon curricula and activities currently in place.”
Carbondale Middle School is one of five middle schools across Colorado selected to participate in this program, which is being piloted to verify the efficacy of the mobile STEM lab as a vehicle for motivating students to learn and do research in the Earth and space sciences. Recognizing that many schools do not have the financial resources to acquire sophisticated scientific equipment, NSSTI is awarding each school a $4,550 sub-grant to fund purchase of the scientific instrumentation needed to support on-going student research and costs of participating in this project.
In addition to the MESO water week, the science teachers at Carbondale Middle School have participated in GLOBE training so that their students can collect real science data which is entered in an international database and used for numerous research projects. “The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program is an international science and education program that provides students and the public worldwide with the opportunity to participate in data collection and the scientific process, and contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the Earth system and global environment.” (from www.globe.gov)
Also, NSSTI is providing Carbondale teachers with the opportunity to involve their classes in a distance learning program that connects them via computer to scientists who can discuss the relevance of what they are studying to the lives and wellbeing of people in their community and in other communities.
Dimitri Klebe, PhD, NSSTI President and Principal Investigator for this project, said the goals of the project are to increase student and community understanding and appreciation of the importance of hydrological systems in their communities; how these systems are affected by human influences and climate change; and how these hydrological systems fit into the global picture. This will promote environmental stewardship and increase everyone’s capacity for informed decision-making about water issues on both local and global scales.
“We are bringing together scientist-educators and community organizations to resource teachers and students to do actual research around local community water concerns,” Klebe said. “As a result, students will see the applicability of science to their communities and how community concerns relate to larger regional, national, and international concerns,” Klebe said.
This was partially made possible by these generous 2019 Youth Water Leadership Program sponsors.
2018 Year in Review
Wild Rose Education’s Youth Water Leadership Program™ mission is to create authentic student-centered learning experiences that increase watershed literacy through civic action. During 2018, the program reached 646 student contacts ages sixth grade-college in three program areas during 94 hours of experiential learning.
Growth and Expansion of Youth Water Leadership Program™
Exciting growth occurred during 2018, the second year of this signature YWLP program. Hosting the CIRES Lens on Climate Change film making program, creating branding, convening the Summit Leader Team, mentoring senior capstone students, hosting a day long youth water summit, and employing a program intern significantly increased the program’s capacity and impact. In addition to the founding sponsor, Pitkin County Healthy Rivers, 10 additional generous financial sponsors made this expanded programming possible. Finally, utilizing the collaborative support of 20 partner organizations made this year’s YWLP more effective, meaningful, and fun.
Read the new Youth River Voices blog where water, river, and climate change youth leaders give voice to the most important issues of today
Watch the student presentations below
The Third Street Center 501(c)3 is the fiscal agent for the Youth Water Leadership Program.
Interviews with Christa
John Wesley Powell recognized inherent problems in our vision of settlement of the West more than a century ago, and his prescient ideas may help guide us into the future. Join author and river guide Christa Sadler as she discusses John Wesley Powell the man, the scientist, the explorer, and the visionary policy maker from her new book The Colorado, about the human relationship with the Colorado River Basin.
Although most people are familiar with John Wesley Powell as the intrepid one-armed Civil War veteran who became the first European to explore the canyons of the Colorado and Green Rivers in 1869 and again in 1871-72, it is the work that Powell did following his epic journeys for which he truly should be famous. Powell understood the challenges of life in a land of little water like few others of his time, and his ideas for settlement of this region were visionary. As water becomes scarcer and more precious in the West, Powell’s ideas may provide valuable guidance for water managers at all levels in the coming decades.
The Colorado River Basin is one of the driest river basins in the world, yet it has nonetheless birthed extraordinary landscapes and entire civilizations. The waters of this desert basin now support more than 40 million people—more than 10% of the country’s population depends in part or entirely on the waters of the Colorado River and its tributaries. The Colorado examines nine episodes in the history of our interaction with the Colorado River, from early prehistoric cultures to the Spanish explorations of the lower reaches of the river, the dam building frenzy of the early and middle 20th century, industrial agriculture and the current use of water throughout the region. This book provides important history and context to one of the country’s most important—and most endangered—watersheds.
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