Last week, 6th graders from Lander Middle School embarked on a meaningful civic engagement project in collaboration with the Popo Agie Conservation District and the Lander Pet Connection. This initiative was aimed at enhancing watershed health and fostering environmental stewardship as a citizen in a community.
Students dedicated their time and effort to make a positive impact on the environment. They were taught to connect a healthy watershed to a healthy community.
Two groups of students installed decals to help educate people in the community. One group of students took on the task of locating storm drains along Main Street and installing decals that read “No Dumping, Drains to River”. These decals remind people that whatever you put down the storm drain goes directly to the river.
Another group of students installed decals along the riverwalk. These decals read “Pick Up Pet Waste”. “It is important to pick up pet waste because when it rains, it drains,” said Diana Olson with Popo Agie Conservation District. “Stormwater can carry surface contaminants a long way so it’s important to keep the ground surface clean.”
A third group of students created public service announcements promoting responsible pet ownership which includes cleaning up after your pet. Their message aims to highlight the significance of keeping our public spaces clean and safe for all. “‘Yard bombs’ carry disease and bacteria that are harmful to both humans and other animals”, stated D Koch with the Lander Pet Connection. The students interacted with adoptable dogs and assisted in cleaning up pet waste in City Park. “Once developed, we hope to post the PSAs on websites, share via social media, and have a showing at school for students and families.” shared Diana Olson.
A fourth group of students learned about why we monitor water quality and how macroinvertebrates can be an indicator of how clean the water is. They interacted with the Enviroscape model and picked up trash. They collected about 50 pounds of trash!
Kelsey Beck, Executive Director at the Popo Agie Conservation District, expressed her enthusiasm for the students’ dedication to this civic stewardship project, saying, “The weather could not have been more perfect for a day spent engaging in civic stewardship. Students learned that caring for the watershed includes picking up trash, picking up your pet’s waste, and knowing where storm water drains. We are all responsible for taking care of our water resources and our community.”
Don’t let the efforts of the Lander 6th graders go unnoticed! They worked hard and their efforts made a difference not only for the present with all of the cleanup they did, but for the future as the community sees the decals as reminders.
About Popo Agie Conservation District:
The Popo Agie Conservation District is devoted to the preservation and enhancement of natural resources in the Popo Agie Watershed. Through partnerships and educational initiatives, the district strives to lend a helping hand to landowners and land managers as they work with natural resources.