Legacy Story – Standing for Tomorrow

From student-action project to state legislation! Learn how Caring for Our Watersheds has left a lasting legacy for this group of students from Virginia.

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#WaterShedWash

WatershedWash

2021, Fort Collins High School, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Emma Eddy
The Cache La Poudre Watershed covers 1,000 square miles of land and supports about 330,000 people. At home car washes can degrade the health of our watersheds. That’s why Emma decided to take action! To spread awareness over her concern and to educate the community, she developed an educational video that she was able to share on social media. It gained over 300 views! The City of Fort Collins Utilities shared her project on their social media sites as well. As an added incentive she embedded her own contest for three people to win a car washing gift card for a year that was generously donated by Breeze Thru Car Wash. Viewers entered the contest by using her hashtag #WaterShedWash. The winners were selected and now have a chance to improve their watershed.

Youtube Video Link

WatershedWash

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Education for Younger Generations

2021, Northridge High School, Greeley, Colorado, USA

Juan Reveles Hernandez
Education is key for developing informed, active water citizens. That’s why Juan dedicated his time and energy to educate elementary students on their watershed. Juan developed a lesson to introduce students to watershed concepts. He partnered with a 3rd grade teacher at S. Christa McAuliffe and presented the lesson to the students remotely. Juan supplied students with materials that could be found around the home and constructed watershed models with those materials. The lesson was structured in such a way that students had the opportunity to complete the lesson in class or from home. This made it inclusive for students attending class remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. To evaluate his lesson, he quizzed the students before and after they completed the lesson. He found that the students scored phenomenally high after completing his lesson. We have some future water scientists in our presence!
Education for Younger Generations

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Our Blooming Watershed

Our Blooming Watershed

2021, Greeley Central High School, Greeley, Colorado, USA

Kimberly Gonzalez Jimenez
Pollinators are an important component to the health of our watersheds. They contribute to the diversity of our watershed and the existence of our plants. Pollinator gardens as recommended by the U.S. Forest Services and the United States Department of Agriculture as pollinators are known to help boost pollinator populations. That’s why Kimberly decided to plant a local pollinator garden. The garden was planted within the Pouder River Panch Natural Area (a city park) in Greeley, Colorado. It includes fourteen different species of flowers and plants to attract pollinators. This will in result cater to our declining pollinator population and provide them with a chance at steading their numbers so they can continue serving our watersheds and us!

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The Pandas Choice

The Pandas Choice

2021, Northridge High School, Greeley, Colorado, USA

Pamela Perez
Plastic is everywhere and we use them everyday. One of them being plastic toothbrushes. Pamela found that plastic can travel through many other watersheds and end up in the ocean. This in turn affects our water quality and organisms – including humans. She learned that plastic toothbrushes can take up to 400 years to decompose! That’s why she decided to encourage her peers to make the switch from plastic toothbrushes to bamboo toothbrushes. Pamela constructed a presentation with all the details on why it’s important to make the switch. This presentation was shared with peers remotely or presented by teachers, as there were COVID protocols restricting Pamela from presenting herself. Pamela also distributed bamboo toothbrushes to students that reviewed her presentation. Pamela received a lot of positive feedback from her peers. It sounds like her peers are happy they made the switch!
The Pandas Choice

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Bracelets for Bats

Bracelets for Bats

2021, Greeley Central High School, Greeley, Colorado, USA

Saria Mowrer
Saria found that the population of Little Brown Bats has decreased 90% in the past 20 years alone, and scientists predict that they may be extinct by the year 2030. This is due to habitat loss as well as a fungal disease known as White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) that has been wiping them out by the thousands. WNS wakes bats up during hibernation, and causes them to lose the fat that they had built up to survive the winter. It is caused by pollution in and near bats habitats, so the best way to combat it is to provide clean habitats for local bat colonies. To address this concern, Saria installed thirty bat boxes throughout fifteen different parks and trails in Greeley. Bat boxes provide bats with a clean and safe place to live and raise their pups. She also handed out bracelets with an informational pamphlet on the problem at hand. Saria has spread awareness in her community while also providing clean and safe homes for bats!
Bracelets for Bats

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Cutlery Can Be Decomposable?

Cutlery Can Be Decomposable

2021, Northridge High School, Greeley, Colorado, USA

Yaritza Morfin
Before Yaritza’s project, her school cafeteria was distributing plastic utensils for lunches. Yaritza looked into this and found that plastic utensils can take over 450 years to decompose! She knew she had to take action. Yaritza worked with the cafeteria team to make the switch to biodegradable utensils. The cafeteria didn’t have the proper infrastructure to switch to reusable utensils, so she settled with biodegradable utensils. She specifically moved forward with sporks because they could take the place of both spoons and forks, decreasing her school’s plastic waste. With about 150 students eating lunch at school everyday for four days a week, Yaritza managed to decrease the amount of plastic waste while also reducing about twenty-three pounds of CO2 emissions in one month!
Cutlery Can Be Decomposable

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Mother Native

Mother Native

2021, Greeley West High School, Greeley, Colorado, USA

Brookelynn Hernandez and Helena Rangel
Colorado has been affected by drought and it’s only becoming worse with climate change. This means that there is a greater need to conserve our water sources. Our local watersheds such as the Cache la Poudre and Big Thompson watersheds are significantly affected by drought and climate change. That’s why Brookelynn and Helena decided to encourage community members to xeriscape their gardens. Xeriscaping can reduce water use by 50% to 70% and by conserving water, we are keeping our watersheds healthy and flowing. They decided to set up a booth at our local farmers market and give out free succulents to promote xeriscaping and educate people about the benefits of using native plants. Attendees were excited to take their new succulents home to start taking action!

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Fish Pets Help Prevent Upset Species

Fish Prevent

2019, Northridge High School, Greeley, Colorado, USA

Daniel Rodriguez, Elian Martinez
Daniel and Elian worked with elementary students to inform them of the dangers the result from littering. During these visits they discussed how littering affects fishes surrounding their community. Litter can make its way into storm drains and into our watersheds if it’s not disposed of properly. Both Daniel and Elian believe littering is a result of bad habits that are developed at an early age. They asked the elementary students to take care of the betta fishes Daniel and Elian provided to them so the student would build a close and positive relationship with the fishes. This in turn, would encourage the third graders to protect their watershed. Both Daniel and Elian would like to see this project become a recurring tradition at their high school.
Fish Prevent

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Supporting Wild Canadian Bees

2021, Calgary, AB, Canada

Protecting our native bee population is something that can have lasting positive effects on our way of life, and no one knows this better than Aisling, a grade 9 student at St. James School in Calgary, Alberta. Aisling had a growing concern for the local bees and pollinators in her schoolyard after realizing that bee habitat was lacking. This inspired her project to create biodiverse pollinator gardens at her school, to complement the existing bee hotels and native gardens.

While pollinator garden projects were started at St. James School in the past, Aisling was determined to improve them by planting various native wildflower species to attract local bees and other effective pollinators. In doing so, these bees would have healthy habitat to live in and pollinate, and, with a bit of luck, allowing their population to grow. She and her fellow students hope that the increase in pollinator habitat and populations will have a positive impact on the natural areas in her school and community.  These environmentally conscientious initiatives will subsequently benefit the greater watershed, and improve life on land for all.