Headwaters Outreach Initiative

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By Corie Schott
CRA Education and Outreach Chairman

Editor’s Note: Corie is spearheading the initiation and development of the Headwaters Outreach Initiative. It is a watershed and wetlands awareness program sponsored by CRA which is being integrated into the Grand County Public School System. She may be contacted at             (970) 531-2453       or by email at cshott@rkymtnhi.com.

In an effort to inspire children to learn about and care for watersheds and ecosystems in the Upper Colorado River drainage, the CRA Headwaters Outreach Initiative is moving full force ahead. We are excited to report that East Grand Middle School (EGMS) in Grand County is in session, and we recently met with Principal, Nancy Karas and Science Teachers, Mark Loberg, Sue Kleeman, and Molly Sargent, all of whom love the curricula we supplied earlier this summer. With the support of CRA,. EGMS administrators and faculty are introducing “Discover a Watershed: The Colorado” this month and plan continue this program as an integral part of their teaching from here on out.

Activities through September will include daily watershed lessons from the curricula, weekly presentations by local professionals, and a one-day field trip for each grade level to visit watershed restoration projects in the high country. We are also hosting a poster contest, where all classes will compete for best design of their own watershed project posters and brochures. Outstanding work from each grade level will receive prizes, money, and statewide recognition at the joint CRA, CeRSER, CWA, CWN watershed conference this October.

Sarah Clements from Grand County Water Information Network (GCWIN) and Scott Linn from Trout Unlimited, Headwaters Chapter, each have scheduled presentations at EGMS this month on various watershed issues facing the headwaters of the Colorado River. In addition, I will be giving a presentation on the importance of wetland and riparian ecosystems.

Towards the end of September, Sarah, Scott, and I, along with several other volunteers, will guide students from each grade level on field trips to two watershed restoration project sites to learn about biology, physical processes, and human impacts and mitigation projects. Sites include the Fraser River Enhancement Project near Winter Park and the Second Creek Wetland Protection Project near Berthoud Pass. If anyone is interested and will be available to assist with field trips on the 21st, 25th, or 28th of September, please contact us.

To date, we have received a total of $500.00 in contributions; but we are soliciting, and have an urgent need for, prizes in addition to cash. Individuals who have offered to donate prizes, and others who wish to support this effort with prizes or cash, please contact me directly or bring them to the CRA conference on October 4.

What started off to be a small watershed stewardship project is making waves through the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade science classes at EGMS, and we are all very enthusiastic about and looking forward to this September’s activities. We applaud the support and enthusiastic participation the Headwaters Outreach Initiative has received from Nancy, Mark, Sue, and Molly of EGMS administration and faculty.

This outreach initiative is sponsored by CRA along with the East Grand School District, the Governor’s Office of Energy & Management, the Grand County Water Information Network, Trout Unlimited Headwaters Chapter, the Central Rockies Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration, and the Middle Park Land Trust. Numerous other individuals and non-profit groups have donated much time and energy to make this important effort a success. We look forward to its ongoing success with everyone’s continued participation and support.

I hope to see you all at the conference.