Author Archives: Chloe Sprecker

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Water: It’s Worth a Dam!

2023, FORT COLLINS, COLORADO, USA

Natalie Vieira from Rocky Mountain High School addressed poor water quality from the ash and floods from the Cameron Peak Fire. To address this issue, Natalie created a man-made beaver dam in the Cache la Poudre watershed. For the last three years, black and murky water has traveled down the Poudre River negatively impacting 330,000 citizens who rely on the watershed for drinking water and other uses. Additionally, there are not enough beavers in the Poudre to build dams that reduce flooding and settle the ash. Therefore, Natalie implemented a man-made beaver dam analog (BDA) in the Lile Beaver Creek burned watershed. She wove together natural materials like willows, evergreens, and wood to make the dam. As a result, the stream widened by 1.5 feet and the water slowed. The stream got deeper by 0.5 feet above the dam and started settling the sediment. This solution addressed Targets 6.1 and 6.6 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

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Our Environment is in Danger but we have an un-bee-lievable solution

2023, FORT COLLINS, COLORADO, USA

Zoe Iverson and Haylie Ritter from Rocky Mountain High School addressed plastic waste during lunch by educating young students on the effects of plastic in their watershed and teaching them ways to be more environmentally friendly like using reusable beeswax lunch bags. Many people pack their lunch in a plastic bag that takes 1,000 years to decompose. Plastic can affect our drinking water, animal habitats, and our food for longer than you can imagine. The kids in Ms. Johnson’s 4th-grade class were excited to participate in the activity and presentation Haylie and Zoe brought. Beeswax wraps were handed out to encourage the kids to use them and tell their friends and family about them. Their hope is for these kids to be inspired to make a change against pollution in their environment. This solution addressed Targets 14.1 and 11.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

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Thrifty Tote Bags

2023, GREELEY, COLORADO, USA

Lida De Los Santos, a student at Greeley West High School, tackled the pressing issue of plastic pollution by designing and producing reusable shopping bags. After discovering the alarming statistic that 92 million tons of clothing find their way into landfills worldwide each year, she was inspired to make a difference. Lida took a creative approach by repurposing used shirts into tote bags, which she distributed to her peers and members of the local community. Each bag included an informative tutorial, enabling recipients to understand the gravity of the issue and learn how to create their own upcycled bags. By empowering others to participate in this sustainable solution, Lida aims to contribute to the improvement of their local watershed. Her initiative not only helps reduce plastic waste but also promotes awareness and encourages others to take similar actions in their daily lives. This solution contributed to Targets 14.1 and 15.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

 

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eDNA and The Northern Redbelly Dace

2023, LONGMONT, COLORADO, USA

Anya Wieder and Taryn McDermid from Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley Schools addressed aquatic wildlife conservation by using environmental DNA (eDNA). Our local Colorado Watersheds have been struggling with biodiversity for many years. This has caused a very important species of dace, The Northern Redbelly Dace, to become an endangered species in Colorado. Anya and Taryn have been working with their team in order to reintroduce this species of fish into the Colorado waterways. Their project was to look at how successful their previous releases have been by using eDNA. This solution addressed Targets 14.a and 13.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

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The Hole Picture

2023, FORT COLLINS, COLORADO, USA

Callen Solley from Rocky Mountain High School addressed water use and polluted runoff by providing a soil moisture sensor to a golf course. Over 2 billion gallons of water are dumped onto golf courses in the United States each year. In addition to that, most of them are overwatered which creates excess runoff that carries fertilizers into the watershed creating algae blooms. A great way to stop the issue of overwatering is utilizing a soil moisture sensor. The sensor measures how much water is in the soil. These readings can help a golf course adjust the amount of water they are putting on the grass. This solution addressed targets 6.3 and 14.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Shed Ed

2023, LOVELAND, COLORADO, USA

Mackenzie Flikkema and Ryan Lee from Resurrection Christian School created a fun, educational board game to educate peers and community members about their watershed. They surveyed students in 3rd – 5th grade. The surveys included the question “What is a watershed?” and “What are things that help/harm the watershed?” These students did not have a good basic understanding of the watershed and therefore could not answer the questions. Ryan and Mackenzie decided to create a board game with the concept of having fun but also showing the students what they can do to improve their watershed. The game was able to keep the kids entertained while also teaching them valuable lessons. This solution addressed Targets 4.1 and 15.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

 

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Reducing Litter and Trash in School Parking Lots

2023, JOHNSTOWN, COLORADO, USA

Alexa Tovar and Jonathan Carlson, students from Roosevelt, took decisive action to address the issue of excessive trash in the school parking lots by implementing effective solutions such as trash cans and nets on school grounds. Recognizing the lack of accessible trash cans in their school parking lots, which resulted in litter scattered across the school grounds, Alexa and Jonathan decided to conduct a comprehensive survey of the junior parking lot. Their survey revealed an alarming count of over 350 pieces of trash dispersed throughout that particular lot. To tackle this ongoing problem, they took proactive measures by strategically placing trash cans at light posts and installing nets in areas prone to wind-blown litter. These initiatives are expected to significantly reduce the amount of trash making its way into the local watershed, thereby safeguarding animals and vegetation from harm caused by environmental pollution. This solution addressed Targets 14.1 and 15.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

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Powering the World, One Step at a Time

2022, JOHNSTOWN, COLORADO, USA

Lilian Pham, a student at Roosevelt High School, took a proactive approach to combatting air pollution by inventing an innovative method of electricity generation. Due to the escalating levels of greenhouse gases, Colorado has been facing an enduring drought. To address this challenge, Lilian designed and developed a groundbreaking prototype known as the Rug-Watt—a rug capable of producing electricity. By harnessing kinetic energy, the Rug-Watt utilizes rotating gears to generate electrical power. Even though a single step and one rotation of a gear produce approximately 0.2 volts, the cumulative effect is significant. When every student in the school takes a step on the Rug-Watt, a single panel can generate an impressive 209 volts. This solution addressed Targets 7.1 and 9.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals.


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How Dog Waste Stations will Improve our Watershed

2022, JOHNSTOWN, COLORADO, USA

Peyton Hagan from Roosevelt High School addressed excess nitrogen and phosphorus in our watershed by installing animal waste stations throughout her neighborhood. Dog waste contains nitrogen and phosphorus that influences the growth of algae. That algae depletes the oxygen that aquatic life needs to survive and it carries significant sources of pathogens and disease-causing bacteria. These pathogens eventually end up running into the water that we drink, causing severe health problems for animals and humans. So, Peyton decided to install 2 dog waste stations throughout her neighborhood to help decrease the number of toxins entering the watershed. To also help her neighbors better understand the harmful effects of waste, she also provided them with an informational pamphlet. Peyton reported that before the stations, there were about 9 piles of dog waste within 900 ft. After the installation, there were only around 1-2 piles from before. The waste stations managed to fill up in only 2 weeks. This solution addressed Targets 6.3 and 12.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Helping Our Watershed One Bioreactor at a Time

2023, LOVELAND, COLORADO, USA

Ella Corrigan and Reagan McWhinney from Resurrection Christian School addressed the use of toxic chemical fertilizers by creating 7 compost systems, specifically John-Su Bioreactors. Improper use of chemical fertilizers adds high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus into the environment causing eutrophication. Food waste also generates methane gas, contributing to climate change. With the help of the Johnson-Su bioreactors, microorganisms and nutrients can be added to the soil without the use of harmful chemicals. Furthermore, local food waste will be limited by this new composting opportunity. Throughout this semester, Ella and Reagan built and filled the bioreactors which are now on the RCS farm. In merely 9-12 months, the nutrients will be ready for farming and gardening use. This solution addressed Targets 12.5 and 15.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals.