Youth Water Leadership Program Background
The Youth Water Leadership Program is a student-driven education experience intended to increase watershed literacy and specifically Colorado watershed management knowledge. The program inspires meaningful dialogue and community engagement among students and water resource professionals and policy makers. Secondary students and teachers engage in project based learning to create unique, student-driven water stewardship calls to action. The development of a call to action process promotes critical thinking and leadership skills applicable and tools necessary for the 21st century workforce. The program also connects students with the best available watershed science and management information, exposes them to experts in the field, and introduces them to future career possibilities in natural resource and STEM fields.
The culminating event in the Roaring Fork Watershed, the Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit is a student-driven educational conference creating an opportunity for learning, dialogue, and action on Colorado River Basin issues. Wild Rose Education founded and directs the Youth Water Leadership Program.
During 2017 the Pitkin County Healthy Rivers and Streams Board (HRSB) became interested in the idea of connecting area schools, especially schools that owned agricultural water rights in nearby ditches, to the workings of Colorado Water Law right in their own backyards. Just as informing students of the reasons for recycling programs may affect behavior at home in meaningful ways, the hope was that understanding the intricacies of diversion practices and the laws guiding them might encourage student-driven BMP’s in water stewardship. Wild Rose Education was asked and contracted to create and facilitate the first Youth Water Summit during fall 2017. After a great initial success, the HRSB has initiated the second year of the Youth Water Leadership Program and Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit.