Students from three universities; Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado Denver, and Colorado School of Mines, were invited to participate in the second iteration of the Clean River Design Challenge (CRDC). Student teams were tasked with the challenge of creating an in-stream trash removal device to be placed in the Cherry Creek with minimal impact to the surrounding area. At the end of the 2017 fall semester, after months of research and design, eight teams presented their concepts and designs to an interdisciplinary panel. Top teams were announced, but all teams were invited to participate in the 2018 spring semester. In the second half of the competition teams would be given $1,000 from The Water Connection to build a scaled model to test their concepts and designs. Six teams presented their models in a specialized flume at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and were judged by the same interdisciplinary panel. The top three teams were selected and are pictured below!
April 23 - 29 is National Environmental Education Week, celebrating the many ways that people are engaging with their environment. The SPREE Team has been out along the River all week teaching Denver students about their local environment - and having lots of fun doing it!
Environmental Education (EE) has many benefits beyond gaining a greater understanding of and connection with the natural world. Research has shown that students participating in EE see improvement in their science, math, social studies and language arts performance, as well as their standardized test scores. Time spent outdoors in green spaces has also been linked to multiple physical and mental health benefits.
If you'd like participate in EE with your class or family, check out the Generation Wild list of simple things you can do in a schoolyard, city park, or your own back yard. You can also check out the many field trips, day camps and free family events that SPREE offers along the South Platte River!
On Wednesday April 11, our DSISD high school interns went to Garfield Lake Park to work with students from STRIVE Prep Westwood Middle School. These students participate in a Community Adventure Program (CAP) class run at their school by Cottonwood Institute, another local nonprofit. Students in this CAP class explore local environmental issues, choose an issue to address as a class, and collaborate with other organizations to design and implement a student-directed Action Project to positively address their issue.
Happy International Beaver Day! To celebrate, here are some facts about the beaver and a Native American story from the Ojibwe tribe about how the beaver got his tail.
There’s a lot more to a beaver than what we can see, they are known as “Nature’s Engineers” for their interesting lifestyle and they also have very interesting characteristics that make them super unique!
SPREE started April by hosting a holiday camp on Monday. The camp’s theme was Amazing Animal Engineers…. though campers quickly pointed out that plants can be engineers too! Campers began the day exploring the definition of an engineer- someone that solves problems, usually though innovation, design, and building.
While it is easy to associate engineering with humans, it is true that we have many ecosystem engineers in Denver. An ecosystem engineer is an organism that creates, maintain, or destroys habitats. Ecosystem engineers typically have a large impact on species richness of an area, or the number of species we see in a given space. Since we only had one day of camp, we focused on both charismatic and overlooked ecosystem engineers in Colorado- the beaver, prairie dogs, freshwater clams, and trees.