Water Sentinels Pitch In on Serve Outdoors
By Scott Dye
The Sierra Club's Water Sentinels program turned out in force on September 11 for Serve Outdoors, a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Overall, Sierra Club hosted over 100 projects in 36 states during the weekend, with a focus on involving America’s youth.
Fifteen staff and volunteer-led Water Sentinels project sites contributed on a variety of events including stream and community litter cleanups, youth fishing, water-quality monitoring, electronics recycling, invasive weed removal, and working farmers markets.
Here’s just one of the inspiring stories, from Boulder Valley Inner City Outings & Water Sentinels. BVICO is one of Sierra Club's 50 Inner City Outings programs. BVICO combines Water Sentinels' youth fishing opportunities and water quality monitoring with ICO's core mission of providing free nature outings and adventures to youth who would otherwise not have such opportunities.
Thanks to Dave Schneider of BVICO for the blog piece and the photos.
Boulder Valley Inner City Outings organized a weekend trip to the shores of Lake Pueblo in south-central Colorado. The area lived up to its reputation of great weather to enjoy a myriad of outdoor activities. Our outing focused on learning the basics of mountain biking and low-impact camping, and included a service activity of picking up trash along the trails and around the campground. In partnership with the Trips for Kids organization, we stressed responsible mountain biking - staying on designated trails, minimizing actions that cause erosion and yielding to other trail users. We had rides for all levels, ranging from paved bike paths to gnarly, technical singletrack. The more advanced riders did almost 20 miles of riding over the two days. Although we chose the most primitive walk-in tent campsites in the park, the youth loved the camping experience. For many it was their first time camping. We organized a trash collection around the campground so that the area was left cleaner than we found it.
We had a diverse group of eleven youth from low-income families in Boulder County, eleven other youth from Casey Middle School, one Casey teacher (and former pro bike racer), one set of parents, one Trips for Kids staff member, and three ICO volunteers. We talked about the community coming together in light of the recent devastating Fourmile Canyon fire that hit close to home, and how this trip is a small example that exemplifies building community. The ICO volunteers organized the trip from top to bottom, the Casey teacher led recruitment and group cheers, while Trips for Kids provided bikes, ride guiding, and took care of mechanical issues. Sierra Club’s Building Bridges to the Outdoors and Water Sentinels sponsored the outing, and some additional financial contributions were made by Casey parents and ICO volunteers.