Middle School Watershed Week  

This program is a collaboration between 18 organizations and individuals to create 3 full-day field trips for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students from East Grand Middle School, West Grand School, Charter Schools, and home Schooled Students Thanks to the expert facilitation of over 30 volunteers, around 400 students are able to study topics of watershed science at locations throughout Grand County each September. This program has existed each fall since 2010.

Split into three groups, the activities for the 6th grade classes include a tour of human interactions led by Rocky Mountain National Park rangers through Kawuneeche Valley to Holzworth Historic Site, stream morphology discussions and pine beetle studies with the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service, a water usage game led by GCWIN, and historical perspectives and stories told by characters from the Grand Lake Area Historical Society. West Grand 6th graders have toured the Climax Mill, Wolford Reservoir, and met with Forest Service.

 watershed week east grand middle school 7th gradeIn the Fraser River valley, the 7th grade students spent half the day sampling for benthic macroinvertebrates with GCWIN and Trout Unlimited members as well as conducting riparian vegetation surveys. The other half of the day they take an interpretive hike near Berthoud Pass learning about watershed ecology from the USFS and Trout Unlimited. Both hikes for the 6th and 7th grade field trips are part of the Department of the Interior’s Let’s Move Outside initiative, designed to use local interests to keep kids healthy. West Grand 7th graders do Benthic Macroinvertebrates sampling on Reeder Creek, tour Kremmling water supplies in and around River Ranch, and play one water supply game.

 Thursday, groups of East Grand 8th graders meet on the Fraser and Colorado Rivers to conduct water chemistry tests with GCWIN to determine water quality, tour Granby Sanitation Plant, and conduct stream assessments with RiverWatch to gauge the health of the watershed.

In addition to the funding we have received for these programs from Xcel Energy Foundation, Grand County, Trout Unlimited, and the Society for Ecological Restoration, the support of all the science teachers involved is critical.

West Grand 7th graders tour one Kremmling water plant, do water analyses on the Blue and Colorado Rivers, and work with BLM Hydrologists at the Blue River Ranch to learn about stream morphology, hydrology, flow calculations, and river restoration.

We are looking forward to continued community support of local outdoor science education to ensure that next fall’s science education programs are an even greater success. If you are interested in helping out for any of GCWIN’s future education events, please call 970-627-8162.


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