Environmental Education: A Guide to Adams County, Colorado

Adams County, Colorado is a hub of environmental education and sustainability. From the School of Science, Technology, Environment, Agriculture and Systems Design (STEAD) to the Adams Clermont Solid Waste District, there are plenty of opportunities for students to learn about the environment and how to protect it. STEAD is a charter high school in Adams County that uses project-based learning to prepare students for college and local careers. Through their homework, school activities, and summer programs, students learn about the river as a natural connector in their community and work together as a team to develop and implement projects that ensure their continued stewardship.

The project combines individual high school science classes with elementary school classes (from first grade to the school year) to study local ecology and implement a wildlife habitat improvement project. The Adams Clermont Solid Waste District has also partnered with Adams Brown Recycling to offer several environmental education programs and services to students in Adams County schools. Expert artists trained in issues related to child development and the environment dress up as Whiff the Clean Air Pup and Professor PureAir to invite students to participate in the Air is Right game program. An environmental education expert or a two-person team of such experts provides leadership in each of the state's school districts.

The SJBRA project works with volunteer elementary schools to implement environmental service learning projects, either on school grounds or in the community surrounding the school. SJBRA also seeks to bring a small-scale version of the exhibition to 12 schools in Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma and San Miguel counties during the same school year. By interacting with local scientists through tangible environmental projects, students participating in the project will become WaterShed ambassadors in their schools and help to continue the learning experience throughout the school year. Since 1994, nearly 6,000 school-age children have gained knowledge, inspiration and problem-solving skills through their participation in Children Discovering Nature. Fifty sixth-grade students and 10 high school students from the Yampa Valley School of Science program have had the opportunity to participate in the Colorado Environmental Education Competency Project.

This project works to improve quality assurance measures designed to improve the effectiveness and consistency of environmental education programs in Colorado. It aims to stimulate interest in environmental careers through greater environmental awareness, improve communication skills and environmental sampling techniques, strengthen teamwork and generate a better use of technology and the application of the scientific method. A number of teachers and citizens receive training, curricula, and equipment to implement Stream Teams in their schools or neighborhoods. Adams County is an ideal place for students interested in environmental education. From STEAD's project-based learning approach to SJBRA's service learning projects, there are plenty of opportunities for students to learn about their environment and how they can help protect it.

Arthur Delsavio
Arthur Delsavio

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