SUMMER CAMPERS LEARN ABOUT LIFE UNDERWATER
In Week 6, campers at SPREE’s Adventures Outside Camps explored below the surface of the River. We started off the week learning about watersheds and the South Platte River's journey from the mountains to the ocean.
Then we looked at one of our favorite river critters- crawdads! We dressed up like a crawdad to learn about their anatomy and of course we caught some too!
Next, we looked more in depth at all of the macroinvertebrates in our river. We sorted macros based on their pollution tolerance and then moved on to learn about fish. We learned about fish anatomy and adaptations through dressing up like a greenback cutthroat trout.
Friday was a special day for campers at both the Cherry Creek Train and Johnson Habitat Park. Campers at the train took a fieldtrip to the Downtown Aquarium, a fun underwater world. Campers at Johnson Habitat Park hiked to Overland Pond Park where the staff at Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) taught us all about fish, how to be an ethical angler, and how to fish. We had fun casting our lines on this sunny summer day.
Hope the summer is going well for all. We’re looking forward to more fun in the weeks ahead!
CAMPERS USE NATURE TO INSPIRE INVENTIONS
Week Five at SPREE’s Adventures Outside Day Camps was all about experimenting and inventing! We learned a lot from nature, took apart old machines, and even made our own inventions that could help the South Platte River. Below are a just a few of the highlights from our Mad Scientists Week.
We made clay volcanoes and watched them erupt. We learned how to use everyday food items and flowers to make natural dyes and prints.
Campers got inventive when they made protective holders for eggs using recycled materials. Then we tested them out with an egg drop!
Guest Speaker Ben Harkins visited both camps and taught campers how to make a light bulb using simple materials (http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Light-Bulb/). We were amazed to see them light up!
SPREE campers presented their inventions on Friday. We also got creative and learned how to make Gak (recipe below).
We continued to watch our monarch caterpillars (from Week 3) grow and campers helped care for them. Finally, we closed the week with a graduation ceremony, where everyone received a Collector’s Edition Chompers Trading Card.
Thank you for bringing in tools and donating your old machines this week!
Materials: lots of white glue, water, food coloring, hot water heater, borax, large ziplock plastic bags, measuring tools
Amphibians have very sensitive skin. It is what you call “permeable.” The skin can easily absorb things in its environment. The skin is often moist to the touch. The “frog skin” we will make resembles what a frog feels like.
¼ cup of white glue (Elmer’s or generic brand is fine)
¼ cup water
¼ cup of hot tap water
½ Tablespoon of Borax
Make two separate mixtures and then add Mix1 into Mix 2.
Mix1: ¼ cup of white glue with ¼ cup of water. Add color of your choice. Mix well in plastic bag.
Mix2: In a separate bowl, dissolve a ½ tablespoon of Borax in a ¼ cup of hot water.
Pour Mix1 into Mix2. Kneed and squish. Mix1 will turn into gak instantly. Pull the gak out of the liquid. The gak will be wet for about 5 minutes and then will be ready for play!
CAMPERS ENJOY A WEEK OF SUMMERTIME FUN IN JULY
Campers at SPREE’s Adventures Outside camps had a fun start to the month of July. They learned about the properties of water, how animals and plants survive drought and flood, and about living things in the water. Campers at the Cherry Creek even got to test out some SUP boards. We also made bubble-makers and dressed up for the Fourth of July.
The Greenway Foundation is proud to offer an primer festival experience, while still holding true to our mission of enhancing The South Platte River and the green spaces in Denver. We encourage use of public transportation and offered a bike valet. In fact, those that rode their bike to the festival received a free beverage! At this year's South Platte RiverFest, we had local water, beer, and food providers. All waste stations had trash, recycling, and compost options. Xcel Energy, a vendor at the event, also gave away 24,00 CLF lightbulbs to festival attendees!
HOW WOULD YOU IMPROVE YOUR URBAN WATERWAY?
The second round of public meetings for the Urban Waterways Restoration Study is coming up. The purpose of this study is to identify restorative improvements to three major urban waterways in the City and County of Denver which include Harvard Gulch, Weir Gulch and the South Platte River from 6th Ave to 58th Ave.
The first round of public meetings was held in April and May, 2015. Based on public input and other data, preliminary alternatives are being developed to achieve habitat and ecosystem restoration, flood risk reduction, and enhanced recreational opportunities.
Round 2 of the public process will be an opportunity to learn about the proposed preliminary alternatives under consideration as well as provide feedback and comment.
The meetings are:
Weir Gulch: Tues, Sept. 15, 5:30 - 7:30pm, Barnum Rec Center, 360 W. Hooker St.
South Platte River: Wed, Sept. 16, 5:30 - 7:30pm, REI, 1416 Platte St.
Harvard Gulch: Wed, Sept. 30, 5:30 - 7:30pm, Harvard Gulch Rec Center, 550 E. Iliff Ave.
All three meetings will begin with an open-house format at 5:30pm followed by a 45-minute presentation of the preliminary alternatives at 6pm. The meetings will then resume an open house format until 7:30pm to provide participants with an opportunity to speak directly with project team members.
Partners in this effort include the City and County of Denver (CCD), the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD), US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), and The Greenway Foundation. A meeting in the spring of 2016 will seek public input on the draft recommendations for all three study areas.
The project web site www.DenverWaterways.com, is a good source of background and updated project information as well as an ongoing opportunity for public input for those who cannot attend the public meetings. Public comments received via the website and first round of meetings are posted on the website along with project team responses.
For more information please email Lisa Zoeller (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Nora Neureiter (email@example.com).
HOW WILL YOU SPEND YOUR SUMMER?
Getting you and your family outside this summer is not only a fun way to recreate, it can also help with health, social and academic issues. Spending time outdoors can be a challenge when you live in the city but Johnson Habitat Park is the perfect place to bring your family and friends to spend an afternoon by the South Platte River.
See Johnson Habitat in action online with the Denver Post. All shots at the park were taken at our South Platte River Environmental Education (SPREE) Camp.
If you believe that Environmental Education is important, please consider becoming a Friend of the Greenway by making a recurring donation. Just $5 a month allows 12 students a unique trip to the River!
SUMMER CAMPS WEEK 3: THINGS WITH WINGS
In our third week of SPREE’s Adventures Outside Summer Day Camps, campers learned all about things with wings. Here are a few of the highlights from the week:
We learned all about owls and dissected pellets to see what they eat. We made our own wings modeled from the wingspans of Colorado birds.
Wild Wings of the Rockies came in to show us some birds up close. We got to look at their ears, hear their calls, watch them eat, and see a flight demonstration.
Another guest speaker, Linda, came in to teach us all about monarchs butterflies. We made monarch butterfly print pillows and each camp is helping to care for some monarch caterpillars.
What a fun week!
SUMMER CAMPS, WEEK 2: RIVER ARTISTS
Spree campers became river artists in our second week of summer camp, creating amazing works while learning about their environment.
Campers at Johnson Habitat Park worked with a local artist, Michele Brown, to complete the mural on the SPREE Headquarters building. Michele studied art and illustration at the Pratt Institute in New York City, and now she stays active in the Denver community attending art shows, working as a contract artist and teaching art.
We used painting techniques from Michele to create members of the SPREE Force and had fun as designers and runway models in our recycled fashion show.
Campers at the Cherry Creek Train focused on the natural beauty that is in the ecosystem around camp. We investigated the ecosystem and drew the landscape around us. We also got to go on an ark walk to Confluence Park and saw some inspiring art and murals created by local artists.
We made our own sculptures out of natural items by the creek and then went into Denver to explore the many beautiful pieces of 3D art there! Later in the week we traveled downtown to the Denver Art Museum and got to do lots of hands-on exploring. We saw may beautiful, creative, and interesting pieces of art!
Michele Brown also worked with The Greenway Foundation to create a mural inside our Cherry Creek Train camp location. See more of her artwork at www.lamanoart.com.