A letter regarding The Greenway Foundation's position on Initiative 300 from
our Executive Director, Jeff Shoemaker:
Hoping to spot a beaver this International Beaver Day? Here are a few tips and tricks for searching in the Denver area!
Where do beavers like to live?
While beavers live both in and out of water, they greatly prefer to spend their time in the water. The South Platte River and its tributaries are great places to look for beavers!
What are some signs of beavers?
When looking for beavers, you’ll want to keep an eye out for some of the many markings they leave behind. A few of the most common ones to see are:
What a beautiful start to spring we experienced last week at SPREE’s “A River at Work” spring break camp! We spent the week exploring our River and learning about the different ways humans have interacted, recreated, or worked on the South Platte River throughout Denver’s history.
On Monday, we focused on human uses of our River and water in our City. We discussed direct and indirect uses of water and learned how citizens of Denver make sure we have enough water in our River to supply our needs- reservoirs! Most of the water that we consume or use in Denver is from indirect uses. Indirect uses of water include the water used to make goods (like paper or plastic), or the water used to produce food. In fact, farmers use the most water of any user in Colorado! At camp, we discussed the cash crops of our state and learned about different types of irrigation system related to their water efficiency (drip irrigation is the most water efficient on both small and large scales)! We ended our day by committing to a water pledge for the week at SPREE outlining how we could be water responsible during the camp week
We're proud to announce that the GLC was awarded the Innovative EE Program Award this year! Each year CAEE recognizes and honors individuals, organizations and schools throughout Colorado for their innovation and dedication to moving the field of environmental education forward. Nominations are reviewed by CAEE’s Award Selection Committee and Board of Directors, and we received our award at the Awards Banquet, which was part of the 2019 Advancing Environmental Education Conference. We are proud to be awarded alongside Promotores Verdes, Rocky Mountain National Park Distance Learning Program, and Play, Learn, and Care.
The Greenway Leadership Corps (GLC) provides free programming for high school students, offering outdoor adventures, stewardship projects, and environmental career exploration through monthly events. GLC introduces youth to career opportunities in environmental fields and works to increase environmental literacy. Activities include volunteer service projects, guest speakers from a variety of environmental fields, and outdoor adventures, designed to expose participants to new opportunities and deepen their connection with the environment. Most recently, the GLC went snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park, and attended the Colorado Environmental Film Festival. The next few months are looking exciting as well. We’ll be volunteering at an Earth Day Weekend Stewardship Day, going sailing at Cherry Creek Reservoir, rafting on the Arkansas River, and trail building in the beautiful Phantom Canyon.
Over 100 youth participated in GLC events in the past year, and 40% have attended more than one event. These students came from a several different schools and partner organizations in Denver and participated in service work, leadership development, and outdoor adventures.
Nine GLC “outdoor adventure” trips were taken in 2018, including river rafting, fly fishing, stand up paddle boarding, and a high ropes challenge course. Thirteen high school students participated in a three-day, two-night trip to Phantom Canyon Preserve in July of 2018. This included students from both the River Ranger summer employment program and the GLC program, providing an opportunity for the students to meet new people from other schools and other parts of town with a similar interest in environmental leadership. Staff from Wildlands Restoration Volunteers (WRV) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) led the group through trail building projects and replanting willows along the Cache la Poudre. For many students, this was the first time
they had done any restoration work.
The youth also participate in professional development mini-workshops through our GLC programs. During the TNC trail building trip, students received a presentation to the youth on careers in environmental fields, including the world of conservation, TNC as an organization, and Leave No Trace The students also
learned about the soil science. Through a variety of guest speakers from different environmental fields, GLC has
introduced youth to positive role models, and provided opportunities for career exploration.
Guest speakers in 2018 included nonprofit leaders, scientists and educators, such as:
■ Denver Trout Unlimited Board Member and Metro State University Student, Trevor Johnson
■ Colorado State Park Ranger, Michelle Steubert
■ Denver Park Rangers
■ cityWILD rafting guides
■ TGF Development Director, Ryan Aids
■ TNC staff members
■ Denver Public Works Environmental Educator, Donny Roush
■ Filmmaker at the Colorado Environmental Film Festival
76% of GLC participants increased their knowledge and awareness of the local environment, and 85% of GLC participants increased their knowledge of environmental careers and organizations.
Thank you so much to the CAEE for all of the work you do to further the efforts of EE, and for giving us this award!
Learn more about the GLC and sign up for our upcoming events on our website.
On the third day of Ranger training, a brisk morning gave way to a sunny, beautiful, late winter afternoon. The perfect day for the River Ranger interns from KIPP Denver Collegiate High School to practice their team teaching skills with the 5th graders of Southmoor Elementary.
The River Rangers wasted no time putting their skills to the test. After a welcome to the park and introduction of the Educators and Rangers, groups were chosen and the activities began. Rotating through four stations, 5th graders learned about boating and water safety, the pollution challenges the South Platte River faces, students tested real-time health of the river through a serious of scientific experiments and they learned about the species our SPREE mascot belongs to, the beaver. Each one of our Rangers demonstrated confidence, intelligence and poise as they taught alongside our SPREE educators.
After a long winter break, the River Ranger internship is back in full swing! Our high school interns from KIPP Denver Collegiate High School joined us for their second teaching day at Overland Pond Park.
Fierce winds and chilly weather didn’t stop the Greenway Leadership Corp (GLC) from traveling north to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) this past Saturday for a snowshoeing adventure!
Our Saturday last weekend was filled with some outstanding environmental films at the Colorado Environmental Film Festival in Golden.
The Greenway Leadership Corp (GLC) learned about a variety of topics during the films, from micro-plastic in our oceans to the impacts of mines along the Grand Canyon. We saw three films of varying lengths and topics. We watched Too Precious To Mine, Junk, and Once I Was a Dragonfly. After viewing Too Precious to Mine, we were able to ask a film crew member questions about mining in the Grand Canyon and how we can help.
Afterwards, we had the opportunity to view the entries and winners of the youth and adult environmental photography contest. We also browsed around the Eco Expo to find local and national environmental organizations and businesses. We even got to meet a Swainson's Hawk, courtesy of Nature’s Educators!
A huge thank you to the Colorado Environmental Film Festival for putting on this wonderful event, and for opening it up to our students! To learn more about the film festival and how you can go next year, check out their website.
It is always hardest to wake up on Mondays. And we are diurnal humans! Because of the sleepy nature of Mondays, SPREE spent this past Monday learning about the nocturnal and crepuscular animals that roam our city and state when the sun goes down.
We started off the day by defining the words diurnal, crepuscular, and nocturnal, and then brainstorming animals that fit with each word. Diurnal refers to animals that are awake during the day and sleep at night such as squirrels, songbirds, and humans. Nocturnal animals sleep during the day and are awake at night such as racoons, owls, bats, and skunks. Crepuscular is a tricky word because it isn’t always learned, but it turns out that most of our City’s critters fit in this category. Crepuscular animals sleep through most of the day AND night! Crepuscular animals are awake and active during dawn and dusk. Many Denver animals fit in this category such as beaver, muskrat, deer, and rabbits.