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.
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.
Thank to Rios to Rivers for cover photo by Weston Boyles