By Tristan Maker, Roaring Fork High School, Carbondale, Colorado
Hello everyone, my name is Tristan Maker. For those of you who don’t know me, I am currently a senior at Roaring Fork High School located in Carbondale, Colorado, currently living out my senior year of high school through this exceedingly unique and unprecedented time in our lives.
As a result of the pandemic going on, my primary plans for my year academically, athletically, and socially have dramatically changed to where I can’t accurately predict and plan out obligations a week out. However, this has provided, not only myself but all of us a true chance to appreciate life and the fruits of life in the present tense rather than troubling over the harvests and hurricanes to come in later years. Gaining the intellect and the concepts of harsh realities, such as appreciating the time stamp we currently sit in has taught me lessons about how to live my life and how actions should be made. As Marty Rubin says, “water flows because it’s willing.” You have to be willing to make things happen, willing to create change for a better future!
by Haver Muss-Nichols, Corrie Buchanan, Thomas Gavin; Aspen High School
We know forest fires have been heavily impacting all over the United States and some are caused by accidental forest fires. We care about these forest fires because they kill animals, kill people, destroy land, and pollute the air. We hope that seeing this infographic will help people be more educated about fires and they will know what they shouldn’t do to make sure they won’t start an accidental fire.
Haver Muss-Nichols, Corrie Buchanan, and Thomas Gavin are interested in informing people about forest fires and are sophomores at Aspen High School and are presenters in the 2020 Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit.
by Madeline Dean, Ross Montessori School student
Homestake Creek probably has a home in its name for a reason. Home... a place everyone is familiar with, and comes in all shapes and sizes. Although I might not live in Homestake, the places I like to go there do feel like home.
This place has been in my life for what seems like forever. The first time I went up to Homestake I was around the age of seven, and I have been going up there with my family ever since. I’m always very excited for the next great adventure that is only an hour away from where I live.
There is a plan to flood an area of land along Homestake Creek in rural Eagle County. The companies wanting to do this are Colorado Springs Utilities and Aurora Water. They want to create a new reservoir that is not currently needed. There is enough water for both cities using the water delivery systems they already have.
For this reservoir they want to remove 497 actors from the Wilderness boundary, and flood an area of rare wetlands called fens. This reservoir would hold 20,000 acre feet of water but there is already a reservoir not far above called Homestake Reservoir. The values of Homestake Reservoir are very important to wildlife, anglers, campers, and my family.
By Aidan Boyd, Coal Ridge High School student
Working with the Youth Water Leadership Team the past two years has helped to inform and qualify many of the beliefs that I have about the water issues that unify our community. It is terrifying to think how little I actually understood about the inner-workings of how water use works before this program. Even though I am growing up in a community steeped in mining and agriculture, I have not fully comprehended the nuances this brings to discussions of water. I thought that the way I used water was somehow more right than how other people used it
By Laney Martens, Aspen High School student
This year I participated in the Youth Water Leadership Program on the Youth Water Leaders Team, helping lead our youth voices to speak in front of our community members and state representatives at the 2019 Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit. The Summit allows students to communicate their research and concerns during an amazing opportunity to speak and talk to experts and other adults about current water issues.
Surprisingly, Two years ago I, myself was one of these students and attended my first Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit where I presented in front of my peers and other community representatives. This was my first step in becoming more interested in advocating for our watershed. Now, after being a member of the Youth Water Leaders Team, and helping organize and host the Summit I have a deeper respect and love for the opportunity that I have been given through this program.
by Stella Halferty, Aspen High School student
My name is Stella Halferty and I am a sophomore at Aspen High School. This year in Chemistry, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to research and talk to experts from all around the Roaring Fork Valley about different topics and concerns about the Colorado River Basin and more specifically our local watershed.
After doing some background research and learning more about the Colorado River Basin and our watershed in general, we then split into small groups based on our interests and personal concerns. From there, we got to meet with experts and do all sorts of research specific to our topic with the help of the Youth Water Leadership Program director Sarah Johnson and our teacher, Scott Zevin.
By Hadley Hiebert, Colorado Mountain College student
This year I served as the student intern for the Youth Water Leadership Program where I had the opportunity to help organize the 2019 Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit. During this internship, I had the opportunity to have experiences that will benefit me for future jobs that I have not had during my schooling. Organizing and contacting people was one of the primary tasks of the semester internship. Through this process of coordinating people, I acquired skills that I can take into any field I go into, and I think will benefit me in the future. Learning how to organize people and events through spreadsheets is a tool I never thought I would need to use. I was sorely mistaken when I found out that was the most efficient way of organizing large quantities of information.
by Isla Bright Brumby Nelson, Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork student
If you look up the definition of water, this is what will come up: Water - A colorless, transparent, odorless liquid that forms the seas, lakes, rivers and rain, it is the basis of the fluids of living organisms.
That is a terribly complicated definition for something that is so common in our society. Our water however, is not something to take for granted just because it so easily comes out of our faucets. We need to protect our watershed because it’s not infinite. I used to be worried a lot about our water supply and our world’s future, but participating in the 2019 Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit, I realized that our future is in good hands – our hands. This does not mean that you dear reader can sit back and watch others solve the world’s problem. You, me and the random person down the street, we all need to work to do our share.
by Madeline Dean, Ross Montessori School student
Ever since I was born, I was outside and playing in the mud. My family made sure I didn't grow up surrounded by electronics so I knew what nature and the outdoors was really like. So when I found out about the Youth Water Leader Team I jumped in head first and applied.
When I was accepted into the Team I was actually a little nervous but I realized I had nothing to be nervous about throughout the semester. I experienced things I would have never thought I could possibly do such as the Ecoflight I went on, to look at our watersheds from above. I even found things in myself that I had not realized was even there. For example, when I went on stage at the Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit in front of 130+ people and introduced the schools. I learned so much from the Youth Water Leadership Team and I will always be thankful for it.
Madeline Dean is a 7th grader at Ross Montessori School in Carbondale, Colorado.
by Samantha Anderson, Roaring Fork High School student
I enjoyed my experience with the Youth Water Leaders Team during the fall of 2019 with the Youth Water Leadership Program. I got to work on my speaking skills, learn more about the place I live, and be part of hosting and organizing the Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit.
This program gave me many opportunities to do cool things, like go on an Ecoflight and get interviewed by a writer for a newspaper. I was able to share my opinions with important people, and learn even more about our watershed. Being part of this team also helped me grow as a learner, a community member, and as a person. As a learner, my knowledge was greatly expanded through this program. As a community member, I learned more about what is going on around me and how I can affect it. As a person, I realized that I have more power than I would have ever thought because of this program. My favorite part of being on this team was going on an Ecoflight. I loved seeing our valley from above.
Thank to Rios to Rivers for cover photo by Weston Boyles