Isabella Caterisano and Nera Wilson, students from Rocky Mountain High School, took a stand against plastic waste by providing reusable bottles to individuals in need. Motivated by the sight of plastic waste scattered across their local watershed, they decided to take action. Isabella and Nera collaborated to distribute 160 water bottles to Fort Collins Cafe, aiming to reach community members who require assistance. They specifically chose this location due to its accessible water bottle filling station, which serves both the general public and the homeless population. To raise awareness about the problem they were addressing, these dedicated individuals designed and affixed an educational sticker on each water bottle. This solution addressed Targets 6.6 and 6.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Intense Functional Learning class from Greeley Central High School addressed the decreasing population of endangered bats by building bat boxes. There are several species of endangered bats that are native to Colorado. With fewer trees in the cities and along trails, it is increasingly dangerous for them to live. The class built bat boxes to give bats a safe place to live. This will help bats survive and repopulate the area. Placing bat boxes along the Poudre River Trail gives bats a place to stay safe and warm near water so they can survive through any condition. The boxes will be monitored for use and if any endangered species take up residence within them. This solution addressed Targets 15.1 and 15.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Olivia Martinez from Berthoud High School addressed the effects of the improper use of chemical cleaning products on her watershed by creating green cleaning kits containing ingredients that are not harmful to the watershed. Olivia’s project helped find better products for families, industrial buildings, and schools that will essentially benefit the watershed rather than hurt it. Changing the way we clean would ultimately help the environment by reducing air pollution, protecting endangered species, and can assist in preserving Earth’s natural resources. This solution addressed Targets 14.1 and 6.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Hana Yang is a student in Grant High School’s GEO Academy, and a 2022 Caring for Our Watersheds finalist. With funding from Nutrien and the help of her fellow classmates at Grant, Hana organized and facilitated an Open House event on campus to demonstrate various techniques to conserve water in the landscape and home. Stations included information on drought tolerant plants, mulching, composting, drip irrigation, and water conservation devices such as soil moisture meters, faucet aerators, and low-flow showerheads. Free samples of water-wise plants and devices were available to community members.
We are the Herndon Elementary School Bee’s Green Team! In 2022 we won 1st place in the Chesapeake Bay Caring for Our watershed contest with our project, “Purple Martin Project” and we installed 2 purple martin towers on our school property with funding from this competition. Why? This bird species has been declining and plays a vital role in improving the biodiversity of ecosystems in our community and around the world.
Now, we are expanding our idea to help others build Purple Martin Towers in their communities in order to help the Purple Martins thrive there. As the international idea for the 2022-23 school year, Purple Martin towers will be installed in each CFW region internationally! We are excited to continue to work as a school, and throughout other schools along the Purple Martin’s migratory path, to manage and monitor the tower and species with a bird watching area.
Check out our demonstration of setting up and cleaning out your purple martin towers here:
Rocky Mountain High School, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
The monarch butterfly population is decreasing fast which is why Jake Anselmo from Rocky Mountain High School decided to take action. Monarch butterflies migrate across the continent providing an invaluable service as pollinators. Their role as pollinators is essential for many ecosystems to thrive. In an effort to address his concern, Jake planted native milkweed in his watershed. Monarch butterflies depend on milkweed for laying their eggs and for nourishment. Milkweed, unfortunately, has also decreased in Jake’s watershed due to the loss of habitat from land development and the improper spraying of weed killer. To make his impact count, Jake distributed milkweeds to his peers at school for planting. Jake also planted milkweed in a personal garden and in a garden near his school. Jake’s solution helps contribute to Target 15.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mariah Glasper and Lana Coron from Union Colony Prep wanted to decrease the amount of trash found in their watershed. They learned that wildlife can confuse trash for food and that trash can also be detrimental to the quality of water as some of the chemicals from plastic waste can leach into our water. To address this issue, they decided to focus on littering that originates from drivers. Mariah and Lana purchased 100 reusable trash bins that drivers can keep in their vehicles. They strategically selected these bins because of their convenience— they were collapsible and easy to store. These bins were distributed to peers and neighbors. With this project, they were able to contribute to Targets 6.3 and 12.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Rocky Mountain High School, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
The bee population is decreasing across the United States due to habitat loss. Their population decline could result in major effects on native plants and crops as bees play a vital role in our watersheds. Sadie Gudmestad and Evelyn Railsback from Rocky Mountain High School decided to take action by educating elementary students about these essential pollinators and how they benefit their watershed. Sadie and Evelyn presented to 150 elementary students in two different schools. Each student also received a kit containing flower seeds, a flowerpot, and a soil disc. With these kits, students were given the opportunity to grow a bee habitat around their homes to help address the decline in bee population. Sadie and Evelyns’ project contributed to Target of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Olivia Chamberlain, Maerron Lovern, and Cassidy Poley from Roosevelt High School noticed a common theme in their lives; that menstrual products produce a lot of waste. These single-use products are some of the most common pollutants in watersheds, with tampon applicators being the second most common plastic found on beaches. These products take a long time to break down and have unfortunate implications on ecosystems. To address this problem, Olivia, Maerron, and Cassidy distributed multi-use period products, specifically menstrual cups, to community members and peers. Menstrual cups can last up to ten years, save thousands of dollars for consumers, and are better for the health of watersheds and communities. Ten cups were distributed to their community’s menstruators and an educational flyer on how they can reduce their period waste. Olivia, Maerron, and Cassidy helped contribute to Targets 6.3 and 14.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dayspring Christian Academy, Greeley, Colorado, USA
Jacob Riemer, Elijah Dougherty, Malachi Fast, and Jack Lawrence from Dayspring Christian Academy noticed that water was running off the streets and their school parking lot, carrying pollutants into water sources. Their school did not yet have a water collection system in place to help filter runoff water. That’s why this team decided to install a rain garden at the end of their school’s courtyard. This location was ideal for their rain garden as the water from their school’s parking lot often ended up in this area. Plants native to Colorado were planted in the garden. These plants require little water to thrive making them sustainable for the area and will play a vital role for pollinators. Within the first summer of completing this project, water has already filled this rain garden! This team hopes to incorporate some educational activities in the near future for the elementary students to utilize and learn at the rain garden. With their project, Jacob, Elijah, Malachi, and Jack contributed to Targets 6.3 and 15.9 of the Sustainable Development Goals.