What started off as a chilly morning, only got colder as the day went on. That didn’t stop our campers from diving deep into the world of Denver’s Urban Animals! We had a packed day of fun and learning at SPREE HQ last Monday during our holiday camp.
The day started with our mission from Chompers who told us we would learn about nocturnal nature visitors, water fauna, and pesky park dwellers. The first activity was on a nocturnal animal….
Our Greenway Leadership Corps (GLC) adventures took us to Ft. Collins to discover what Colorado State University (CSU) and their Environmental Learning Center (ELC) has to offer college students.
The ELC is located on 300 acres of woodland and prairie, and works to connect people with nature through environmental education. We were lucky to have two CSU students as our educators–Aaron and Claire–who are studying at the Warner College of Natural Resources at CSU.
We started the day with a test of trust in our teammates and our leadership skills. After lining up along a rope we placed blindfolds over our eyes and set out to guide each other along a natural challenge course. After our daunting teambuilder concluded, we were ready to use our sight to help us conquer the next challenge.
The team at ELC had already placed flags around the woods and gave us a map with the locations of the flags, a compass, and a lesson on orienteering. When the whistle blew, all teams ran in opposite directions in search of orange flags. Some teams used their new orienteering skills while others leaned on good luck!
After our adventures through the woods we learned about and practiced stewardship by picking up trash and pulling up mullein, an invasive species found throughout Colorado. Mullein can overtake and displace native plants, and will take over areas when left unattended.
Congratulations and a big THANK YOU to Revesco Properties for being the first private sector business in Colorado to invest in Gutter Bins! The Water Connection introduced Revesco to the innovative Gutter Bin stormwater filtration device which, thanks to Revesco and Gutter Bin inventor Frog Creek Partners, will be installed at the new Meow Wolf site in Denver. This is the intended first phase of a roll out of gutter bins throughout The River Mile. These bins will capture trash and sediment before it enters the South Platte River.
Every year, local governments, nonprofit organizations and the Mile High Flood District spend over $1.5 million removing trash from the South Platte River by hand, one piece at a time. Much of that trash finds its way to our waterways through Denver’s storm drains. The Water Connection is thrilled to tap into this innovative technology to capture and remove the pollution before it reaches our waterways, and we’re grateful to our partner Revesco Properties for being a leader in waterway protection, and for prioritizing the South Platte River.
Thank you to Revesco Properties for taking a stand for the health of our River!
The Greenway Leadership Corps (GLC) got to try two days of indoor and outdoor rock climbing last week with the help of Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) and their Youth Education Program (YEP). On Wednesday, we travelled to the CMC headquarters (located within the American Mountaineering Association building), where we learned the basics of tying in, safety commands, belaying, and climbing! Everyone got a few chances to try out belaying each other and also climbing on the natural rock wall indoors. Though nearly everyone was new to the technique of belaying, they all picked it up quickly and confidently. We couldn’t wait to see them try out these new skills on real rock!
What a way to kick off the week! On Monday, SPREE ran Macroinvertebrate Mayhem holiday camp. What is a macroinvertebrate? If you break down the word “macro” means it can be seen with the naked eye, no need for microscopes. The second half of the word “invertebrate” means an animal that does not have a backbone or spine. So if we put the two together, a macroinvertebrate is an animal without a backbone that can be seen without any magnification. Many macroinvertebrates live in our South Platte River including crawdads, dragonfly larvae, leeches, clams and more! The day started off with a great surprise, Chompers came to visit and give campers the day's mission!
On Friday, curious campers joined SPREE for Tracks & Scat Holiday Camp. We spent the day learning how to identify animals that live in Colorado from the clues they leave behind. Even with some brief rain, we spent most of the day outside!
The first activity was focused on tracks. You can tell a lot about an animal just from their footprints, or tracks. We started our exploration by making some mystery human tracks. We used observation skills to determine which camper made the track based on the design of their shoe bottoms. After making these observations, we learned more about specific animal tracks by playing a matching game. We ended the activity with a craft- track soap! Using animal track molds, we made track shaped hand soap- Campers can wash their paws using their paw shaped soap!
It’s the start of a new school year, which means that The Greenway Foundation has hired ten new interns for its 2019-2020 excursion season! These students are juniors and seniors at Kipp Denver Collegiate (KDC) that applied and interviewed with us to earn a spot as part of our River Ranger team. This year, three of the River Rangers are returning interns from last year’s program!
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!