This year's Fall Stewardship Day was a success! Last Saturday, The Greenway Leadership Corps (GLC) had a blast helping out our South Platte River. We partnered with Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) and City Wild to connect 40 high school and middle school students from all around Denver to our river.
The day started with a historic trolley ride, conducted by our very own board member, Pete West! After being dropped off just North of the Mile High Stadium, we participated in an in-stream trash pick up. Our findings included 3 electric scooters, 10 wheels, a traffic cone, a fire extinguisher, a fire alarm, and pounds of miscellaneous trash.
We finished the day kayaking with City Wild down the Confluence rapids! Each participant getting multiple chances to master the art of paddling.
Thank you to all of our volunteers and partners who helped make our
GLC South Platte Stewardship Day so successful!
Thank you to everyone who attended the 2019 Blue Moon Bridge Party presented by The Fang Law Firm! It was a magical night filled with boozy drinks, tasty treats, performances by Handsome Little Devils, and silent disco with SoundDown Party!
Photos from this year's event on our Facebook Page and the photobooth images can be found here!
Don't miss out on the party next year! Tickets are already on sale for Bridge Party 2020, on Friday, September 11th.
Thank you to all of our sponsors and partners who made this year's event so wonderful!
The Greenway Foundation (TGF)’s annual Hero of the River Award is presented to an individual or organization who/that has displayed a significant and longstanding impact on the continued improvement/evolution/ sustainability of the South Platte River Watershed.
The 2019 Hero of the River Award was presented to Jolon Clark at this year’s Noble Energy Gala on the Bridge presented by Revesco Properties and MillerCoors.
Jolon’s longstanding dedication to TGF and our River is undeniable, starting with his 17 year career as an employee of TGF. During his tenure as a member of Greenway Foundation Team, Jolon founded the SPREE program which, at the time, consisted of a one trip, one park, one grade excursion led by Jolon (and Jolon only). Obviously, SPREE has evolved into what the expansive program is it today. SPREE currently has 25 weeks of school excursions with up to 60 students per day and 10 weeks of summer camp hosting up to 60 children per day!
As President of City Council and because of his leadership Jolon led the effort to create, engage and successfully pass Amendment 2A in 2018, providing a sustainable and significant revenue stream for Denver’s parks, open spaces, and waterways to the tune of $37 million per year and increasing each year.
Jolon’s contributions to TGF, our River and our city are numerous and significant. Jolon Clark is often saying "If takes a village to raise a child, it takes a city to save a River" and he epitomizes the Hero of the River Award.
With all the recent news of harmful blue green algae blooms, it may be helpful to have a better grasp of what they are, how to spot a bloom and how to prevent them in the future.
Algal blooms, also known as Blue Green Algae, are commonly found in Colorado waters. Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, natural parts of our aquatic ecosystem, support the growth of aquatic plants and algae. These plants provide food and shelter for critters like crawdads, fish, and several macroinvertebrates found in our Colorado watersheds. But with too much of anything comes a problem, in this case it causes nutrient pollution. Overabundance of nutrients causes algae to grow rapidly, choking out the oxygen in the ecosystem, and can cause an increase in toxins and bacterial growth. Not only can this be harmful to the aquatic ecosystem, but can also be harmful to people and animals.
Below are a few tips to ensure the safety of you, your family and pets.
The Greenway Leadership Corps (GLC) tried rock climbing for the first time with the help of Wildlands Restoration Volunteers (WRV) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). After meeting in Denver, we all piled in a van and drove up to Eldorado Canyon State Park. When we arrived, CPW already had ropes set up for us, and we quickly got outfitted with climbing shoes, harnesses, and helmets. Our guides explained how our harnesses worked, and everyone got to practice tying double figure-eight knots. Then it was time to climb on! CPW had put up three different routes for us to try, all with varying difficulty. Everyone was able to hop on all of the climbs they wanted to try - and just in time because soon rain clouds rolled in and we had to wrap up our time on the rock.
Campers took a peek under the River’s surface and discovered the secret lives of the plants and animals that live there. They found the crawdads, clams, and many other creatures that call our urban waterways home!
Monday: Plants and Macroinvertebrates
The mission for our SPREE campers this week was to become underwater investigators of the waterways of Denver. We started the week by looking at some underwater plants and tiny animals. The tiny animals are called aquatic macroinvertebrates. We first helped campers break down the words. Aquatic = water, Macro = big enough to see with the naked eye, Invertebrate = no backbone. The creatures we learned about throughout the week live in the water, don’t have a backbone, and can be seen without a microscope. In our waterways, we frequently see two types of macros- ones that evolve, and ones that do not. Today, we focused on macros that don't evolve. First, we learned about clams! We have some in Denver- they are filter feeders that even help filter and clean the water that they live in! We also learned about leeches and aquatic worms. They also don't evolve, but still play key roles in the river ecosystem! We played a leech game to learn about how they move and communicate in the water. Then, we got to explore in the creek and catch some of these critters and learn about them hands-on!
Next, campers learned about some different types of water plants. We learned about three types: emergent, that grow from the bottom of the water and stick out of the surface; floating, which live on top of the water's surface; and submergent, plants that live exclusively underwater. We acted out the different plant types and made a craft diorama of the different plants living in the water.
Campers joined SPREE as we looked to the River, Creek, and parks for inspiration for paintings, sculptures, performances, and more. We also worked with a local Denver artist to make an awesome project together!
Monday: 2D Art
Campers started off the week with 2-dimensional art. First, we tried our hand at some photography! Campers used disposable cameras (a new skill for many!) to take photos of inspiring nature in the park for use in a project later in the week after the pictures get developed.
Next, we made two kinds of chalk to use at camp and take home! We made bright colors of wet chalk paint out of cornstarch and food coloring to make a mural on the wall behind camp.
To wrap up our day, campers started work on an individual or group art piece. We talked about the process of making art, brainstorming ideas, and getting a start on our ideas and supply lists.
Campers delved into early Colorado’s past as we reenacted the lives of settlers, pioneers, and prospectors.
Monday: Mountain Men and Women
Campers kicked off the week learning about Colorado before it became a state, and, about some of the people who came West to explore it in the early 1800s. These mountain men and women were typically fur trappers and explorers. Many have Colorado landmarks named after them, like Pike's Peak for Zebulon Pike! After learning some facts and history of some of these historic figures, campers then reenacted some of their lives through making journals to record notes and discoveries in, as well as making some explorer vests! Then, we made a DIY compass to help us explore, and went on a scavenger hunt to learn about some of the important things that these explorers used day to day, or were looking for in their travels- like a beaver pelt and feather pens. We wrapped up the day "fishing" in the creek as some of these mountain mountain men and women would have, too!
This week at SPREE camp, campers followed a drop of water through the water systems of Colorado as it flowed through streams, waited in reservoirs, traveled across mountains, got cleaned in treatment plants, used in homes, and went down drains.
Monday: Where does our water come from?
All of our water in Denver comes from snow melt in the mountains! Campers started off their week at camp investigating how a watershed works through activities, building models, and conducting experiments.
Next, campers discovered how the water in our waterways in Colorado connect to others throughout the country- and even to the ocean! We analyzed maps, made our bodies into a map of some major US rivers, and then got into the river to discover what one of Denver's waterways looks like first hand!
We wrapped up our day by starting off our all-camp collaborative 3-D model of a waterway's journey through many different landscapes it goes through in Colorado. We started with big features like the river flowing down mountains and between buildings today!
SPREE called all budding inventors, architects, and engineers! Campers spent a week designing, building, and inventing while we looked to nature for inspiration.
Monday: Plant Inspiration
We started out our week of camp investigating engineers in nature with plants! Plants are amazing nature engineers from how they grow, how their seeds move, and how they survive. First, we focused on different ways that some native seeds move. There is a wide variety of techniques even in plants we can find around camp! Hitchhiker seeds travel by sticking on to a person or animal, and eventually fall off in a new place. We put socks over our hands and brushed them on the grasses around camp and discovered many seeds sticking to our "fur!" Some seeds we discovered of this variety: burs, goat heads, rabbit brush, wild licorish, and cheat grass. And did you know the invention of velcro was inspired by these types of seeds? Next, we talked about fruit seeds. They get eaten by animals and come out with scat- ready to grow with fertilizer already there! We made "scat" seed balls with dirt, clay, and seeds. Then, we investigated some seeds that travel by wind, like cottonwood and helicopter seeds from box elder trees. We made our own paper helicopters to demonstrate how these seeds move! Another cool way that some seeds move is by water! Wheat grass seeds are shaped like tiny canoes to help them float to new places to grow. We made paper boats as well as craft boats to recreate how these seeds travel!
Finally, we wrapped up our day by planting some seeds of our own to take home to grow!