Telluride Institute’s Watershed Education Program overview

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From The Telluride Daily Planet (Matthew Beaudin):

The program offers classes throughout the San Miguel’s watershed, from Telluride’s landmarks (Bridal Veil, etc.) to an ecosystem camping trip on the San Miguel. “That is totally the mission of the watershed program: to being our communities together. We like to call it our ribbon of green. We all share that,” said Laura Kudo, the WEP’s director. “We really try and have it be as local and as central to our watershed as we can. I think that’s the biggest thing that sets us apart.”

The WEP is a non-profit, place-based program that utilizes local resources, experts, talents and surroundings to enable teachers throughout the San Miguel River Watershed (Telluride, Norwood, Nucla/Naturita and Paradox) to get students outside on full-day or overnight field trips. The program provides a very real environmental science curriculum supplement that’s based on Colorado education standards and offers the chance for students to move from desk to a classroom of the living watershed.

The watershed makes up about a 1 million acre basin in which the water starts at more than 14,000 feet and cascades all the way to Dolores’ red rock canyons at 5,000 feet in elevation. Of that 1 million acres, more than 60 percent is public land. The watershed isn’t without its perils, however: The dry, lofty, fragile ecosystem is home to one of the fastest growing areas on the Colorado Plateau…

One trip this fall toured nearly the entire river’s strech of the watershed and included a history and water usage talk by Bridal Veil Plant operator Eric Jacobson, a Nature Conservancy talk by Peter Mueller at Keystone Gorge, a Keystone Gorge hike with San Miguel Parks Director Rich Hamilton, a Deep Creek history talk with Dan Collins, a Down Valley Park ecological talk with Hamilton and a program put on by the Rimrock Historical Mining Museum in Naturita. It ended with a splash at the confluence of the Dolores and San Miguel rivers. Other trips on the agenda include a field trip with the Paradox Valley Charter School 5th and 6th grades supplementing a Patterns in Nature unit, another watershed tour with the Telluride Mountain School’s 3rd and 4th grades and a full watershed tour with the Norwood 6th grade.

More education coverage here.

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