by Samantha Anderson, Roaring Fork High School, Carbondale, Colorado
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.
by Anna Moon, Roaring Fork High School student
During this past fall semester I was a part of the 2019 Youth Water Leadership Team. This was a very cool experience for me. My favorite part was the Ecoflight we went on were we got to go on a flight over our whole watershed. It was cool to see where our water comes from and where it goes, from a different point of view.
By Jenny Ellis, Aspen High School
As a sophomore chemistry student at Aspen High School, I am always getting opportunities to learn more about the world around me with my peers and how it relates to anything from brushing our teeth to major water systems in Colorado. This year I had the privilege of being able to work in a small group of my peers alongside Sarah Johnson of Wild Rose Education and director of the Youth Water Leadership Program, focused on specific aspects of how to improve the quality of the Colorado River.
by Edy Reckmeyer, University of Denver student
In the Roaring Fork Watershed many impactful variables are shifting.
As a final project to a class that focused on Colorado’s rivers each student was to choose a specific watershed in Colorado and research important issues within said watershed. Focusing in on the Roaring Fork Watershed I quickly noticed that many of the issues occurring with the riparian habitat of the Roaring Fork Watershed are a result of the decreasing water levels. A variety of variables contribute to this decreasing water source and it is my hope that more people become aware of this important issue.
by Hazard Bahr, University of Denver student
By Travis Wilson, Colorado Mountain College BA Sustainability 2019 Graduate
A problem I have seen in the field of sustainability is that though sustainability is indeed making strides in our society and is becoming more prevalent in the minds of people, I feel that it is not being addressed in enough education and teaching in a creative ways. For sustainable practices to be implemented within our society, our people must have a stronger understanding of its importance; and our youth could be the answer to the long-term preservation of our world. What is difficult about implementation is not just finding a way to relate this information to young people so that they understand how important this work is, but also relaying it in a format that is more relatable. Performing arts could be the solution!
By Jessy Stevenson, Wild Rose Education Intern, Spring 2019
Published in River Management Society 2019 Summer Journal
When I was 18 months old, my parents snowshoed 32 miles into the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness where we spent the months of January through April living next to the South Fork of the Flathead River. I made the journey in a backpack on my mom’s back and spent that winter in a tipi with my parents and our two canine companions. Before I knew that rivers had names, I learned what it was like to fall asleep to the sound of rushing water. Before I understood how rivers shape our landscapes, they shaped experiences that would instill in me a deep love for wild places and eventually form my land ethic.
By Katia Meyer, 2018 Youth Water Leadership Program Intern
I spent last summer working at a summer camp in Connecticut, where I experienced weekly thunderstorms that filled the nearby river so high that it often overflowed as it made its way towards the lake. This could not have been more different from what many people experienced this past summer with the Lake Christine Fire and drought induced water restrictions. When I returned to Colorado and heard these stories from my friends and neighbors, I was reminded of what a precious resource water is. I became curious as to whether or not water restrictions were an effective tool for mitigating the impact of drought on residents and the surrounding ecosystems, and this became the focus of my research project for the 2018 Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit. My main focus was identifying the differences in how each local town or city handles water restrictions. I was also curious about how residents view water restrictions and whether they adhere to them, and well as their general level of understanding of our watershed, the Colorado River Compact, and the effects of drought. To do this, I interviewed at least one water manager or similar person from Aspen, Snowmass Village, Basalt, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs. I learned a lot about water restrictions, and I hope this information can help both water leaders and residents gain some new insight.
By Erin Flaherty, Coal Ridge High School student
Published in Glenwood Springs Post Independent 12/15/2018
Growing up in Colorado was a dream for me as a little kid. Bountiful forests and streams to play in, mud cakes to make, stick weapons used to wage war against my older siblings. The outdoors were (and still are) a second home to me. My relationship with nature has matured from messing around with bugs to seeking a career protecting the outdoors. I joined a water quality testing group, Colorado River Watch, and participate in community activities outside. While it may be more complicated now, gathering data in the field still means I can splash in streams!
By: Aidan Boyd, Coal Ridge High School Student
Published 12/14/18 as Letter to Editor in Aspen Daily News
Since I was a little kid, I’ve known I wanted to study the sciences. I always pictured myself in a lab coat, silently working away until I found a cure for cancer. I never understood the often gritty, behind-the-scenes jobs required for science to be useful. My freshman year I started on a simple citizen science project with my friends, collecting basic water quality data from Elk Creek for Colorado River Watch. I never thought about how this data could be used to educate or change the world. That is, until I was put into touch with Wild Rose Education’s Sarah Johnson and learned about the Youth Water Leadership Program.
Thank to Rios to Rivers for cover photo by Weston Boyles