Bailey: STEM education

Students pulling samples

From The Fairplay Flume (Lori Bennet):

Dropping eggs from second floor buildings and programming robots sounds like fun. True, but these activities are preparing students for jobs that use serious science, technology, art and math skills.

“We are giving kids skills for jobs in the 21st century that may not even have been created yet,” said, Ginger Slocum, principal of Fitzsimmons Middle School in Bailey.
You may have heard the term, STEM, in schools when discussing science skills. However, STEM is much more than just a science class.

“STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach,” per the website,

The Women on the Front Lines of Climate Change — @PacificStand

Kalee Kreider is a climate consultant, a climate change adviser to the U.N. Foundation, and a former adviser to Al Gore. (Photo: Ali Berrada) via The Pacific Standard.

Here’s a look at 9 women in the lead in the fight to mitigate the climate crisis from Kate Wheeling & Ted Scheinman writing for Pacific Standard Magazine. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

Twenty-six million people around the globe have been displaced by climate change since 2010; 20 million of those climate refugees — more than 75 percent of them — are women. But women are not merely victims of climate change: They also have the potential to create lasting solutions. In the global north, women make 80 percent of consumer decisions. In developing countries, the vast majority of water-collection and food-production tasks fall to women. Meanwhile, as Kalee Kreider notes, women are increasingly controlling the upper levels of climate diplomacy, from the executive secretariat of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change to the working group in charge of implementing the Paris Agreement.

In this special series from Pacific Standard, we highlight the work of nine extraordinary women who are shaping the future of our planet, at all levels of the climate struggle.

For an opportunity to learn about the climate crisis please consider coming by Smiley Library this Wednesday, March 29th. I’ll be addressing the 3 questions: Should we change; Can we change; Will we change?

R.I.P. Robert Hoag Rawlings

Bob Rawlings. Photo credit The High Country News.

Here’s the obit from The Pueblo Chieftain. Here’s an excerpt:

Almost immediately after taking over the reins of the newspapers from his late uncle, Frank Hoag Jr., in 1980, he began using the editorial pages to advocate for Pueblo and Southeastern Colorado. He fought to protect institutions such as Colorado State University-Pueblo and the Colorado State Fair, but was best known for his battle to protect the quantity and quality of water that flows into Pueblo from Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River.

Unleashing his newsroom and his editorial writers, Rawlings’ Chieftain published thousands of stories on the topic of water, and won numerous state and regional awards for its reporting and editorials. As a direct result of Rawlings’ efforts, Northern Colorado communities that tried to buy water rights from the Arkansas River Valley were thwarted or forced to accept numerous conditions such as financial payments to government and revegetation of lands dried up.

Also, thanks mostly to Rawlings, the Lower Arkansas Water Conservancy District was approved by voters to likewise fight to protect the area’s water.

It also is safe to say that many significant projects — such as the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo, several multi-million dollar school bond issues, and the acquisition of university status for the University of Southern Colorado, now Colorado State University-Pueblo — might not have taken place without the constant advocacy for and support of Rawlings and The Chieftain.

When Pueblo needed a new main library, voters approved a large, efficient and modernized project. But Rawlings donated an additional $4 million to the project, and the Robert Hoag Rawlings Public Library on Abriendo Avenue became one of the community’s most dazzling landmarks. The architectural wonder is one of many projects throughout the community that have been made possible thanks to Rawlings’ generosity.

Always fascinated by politics, he became friends to governors, U.S. senators and members of Congress — as long as they supported Pueblo and Southeastern Colorado. He worked closely with innumerable City Council members, county commissioners and school board members, pushing them constantly to make his beloved Pueblo even better.

Click here to view the Chieftain Rawlings photo gallery.

More about Bob Rawlings from The Pueblo Chieftain.

Arkansas River Basin — Graphic via the Colorado Geological Survey

Identify clouds with a #cloud wheel from the @RMetS, free download

From the Royal Meteorological Society: We’ve made a cloud wheel that can be cut out and used to identify clouds. Download the free pdf here:

Cloud wheel via the Royal Meteorological Society.

Fort Collins: Community issues forum, Saturday, March 25, 2017

Old Town library, Fort Collins. Photo credit Larimer County.

From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Nick Coltrain):

Fort Collins’ Democratic lawmakers will host a community issues forum Saturday to talk about Colorado water.

Planned topics include how to tackle water conservation and agricultural water use. Kirk Russell, deputy director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, will join them.

Rep. Jeni Arndt, D-Fort Collins, in particular has been working on water issues in the state. That includes a bill to create rules for aquifer recharging and more recently, having bills make it out of committee that aim to promote conservation by not allowing conservation efforts to diminish water rights, to slow “buy and dry” — the act of buying land solely for the water rights — and open up money for water storage and conservation projects around the state.

Rep. Joann Ginal and Sen. John Kefalas, also Fort Collins Democrats, will also be in attendance.

The free event is open to the public. It will run from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Old Town Library, 201 Peterson St.

The American West from the air — @publicbooks @EcoFlight

From Public Books (Laura Pritchett):

I recently found myself 1,500 feet above ground, traveling at 180 mph. When I wiped away the breath-mist from the window, I could see the American West in the chill of November: snowy mountain ranges, high alpine, high desert, waves of blue mountains, the shocking red rocks of Utah, the undulations of landscape as it bore out its transformation from range to basin and back again. If I peered closer, the details revealed themselves: the way snow had blown itself into watersheds, the paths I’d hiked winding up mountains, the glint on the curves of some of the nation’s best cutthroat trout streams.

I also saw the unbeautiful: spiderwebs of fracking roads, missing mountainsides, uranium mines, orange ponds for storing tailings and dust, stands of felled trees, the white puffs and yellow haze from coal-fired power plants.

My ticket to this view was a program called “Flight Across America,” which gives college-age and early professional folks the chance to see the West from the air. It’s a program of EcoFlight, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for environmental issues from the air. Ecoflight was started by Bruce Gordon (good friend to the late John Denver, another pilot-conservationist) 13 years ago; since then, EcoFlight has flown politicians, conservation groups, media, scientists, and celebrities.

In three small Cessnas, we took off from little airports in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico: Grand Junction, Farmington, Cortez, Durango, Moab, Walden. We crammed into these 1970s-era planes with recording gear and notebooks and cameras, with hats and gloves, with headsets for communicating both within the plane and to the other planes, and with curiosity.

Below, we saw Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming; saw the Navajo nation, site of the most polluting coal-fired power plant in the United States; saw the West’s many rivers and diversions; saw the Roan Plateau of western Colorado, a major drilling site. We flew over the proposed Hermosa Wilderness Area in southern Colorado; we camped in freezing temperatures at the Hovenweep National Monument near the ruins of the ancestral Pueblo; we hiked in the heat of Moab and in a blizzard at the Maroon Bells. We also met with an array of experts representing Colorado’s politicians, ranchers, mountain bikers, conservationists, and photographers.

The amount of information we absorbed from our pilots and guest speakers was immense. But perhaps the most important discovery—for those of us who hadn’t flown like this before—was the simple but essential confirmation that the landscape is a whole. Despite the state lines, designations, management agencies, political jurisdictions, and roads, the planet Earth is the planet Earth, a continuous entity. As the snowy peaks morphed into plateaus and into high desert, it was clear that the natural world does not segment or cut herself up at all…

Every day, we witnessed yet more instances of ecological and political interconnectedness; each night, the students would gather around and discuss the questions these examples raised: How can we see the West as a whole, and act accordingly? And how does one action influence others? Indeed, was this very trip culpable in some way? Was using up fuel to see these areas worth it? When I posed that question to Bruce Gordon, the program founder, he said, “That’s always a tough question, but we do our best to offset our carbon footprint as much as possible through various carbon savings in other areas. We work diligently to minimize flight times. We ensure that on each and every mission the value added of empowering our passenger participants and the subsequent outreach is worth the cost in adding to a carbon footprint. We aren’t against oil and gas, but we feel it can and should be done properly, and there are some places it just shouldn’t be done.

The “Water Values” podcast: John Fleck on the Importance of Water Journalism and Western Water Myths

Click here to listen to the podcast from David McGimpsey:

John Fleck, Director of the University of New Mexico’s Water Resources Program, author and retired water journalist, joins The Water Values Podcast for a discussion of water journalism and why it (and other areas of journalism) are so important to a citizenry understanding their government. He also delves into his journey where he flipped from seeing a water apocalypse to seeing a world where adaptation and collaboration have produced tremendous water success stories. John is an excellent story-teller, so you don’t want to miss this one!

In this session, you’ll learn about:

  • Why water journalism (and journalism in general) is imporant
  • Water journalism’s role in educating people about water governance
  • The cultural awareness of water in arid regions
  • The roots of the West’s apocalyptic water tradition
  • Why John ultimately renounced the apocalyptic water vision
  • The water success story of Albuquerque
  • John’s thoughts on the West’s growth with water as a limiting factor
  • John’s thoughts on our ability to conserve water
  • John’s thoughts on water and agricultural uses
  • How Colorado River politics have changed over the years
  • Who water negotiations in the West need to bring to the table