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C o l o r a d o F o u n d at i o n f o r W at e r E d u c at i o n | W i n t e r 2 0 1 4

The Fine (and Fun!) Art of Engaging People Around Water

Making Water Known in Colorado

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Common Challenges of Water Education (And our guide to tackling them)

#DoThisNow: Expand Your Reach With Social Media

Headwaters | Winter 2014

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Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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yourwatercolorado.org


CFWE Mission in Motion Increasing Awareness

Water Educator Network

Technical assistance Resource directory Communication Networking

Creating Knowledge

Updated Water Quality Guide The Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Water Quality Protection has been updated! This desk reference tackles the complex system of water quality laws and regulations in Colorado. From the headwaters to the plains, the guide explores the risks and investigates the solutions to our water quality challenges. Copies are $10 each or $8 if you purchase more than 10. Call CFWE at 303-377-4433 or order online at yourwatercolorado.org to get your copies now!  More than 25,000 Citizen’s Guides covering nine major water topics, from water law to climate change, have been circulated by CFWE since the first guide on Water Law was published in 2003. Headwaters | Winter 2014

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CFWE Mission in Motion Growing Capacity

Cultivating Participation Colorado Foundation for Water Education presents

Thank You

President’s Award Reception Friday, May 2, 2014 History Colorado, Downtown Denver Join CFWE on this special evening as we recognize extraordinary individuals and organizations that have made a great difference for water in our state. The President’s Award will be presented to a Coloradan who has shown dedication and made significant contributions to the field of water resources, is highly regarded among peers, and demonstrates a sincere commitment to supporting water education. The Emerging Leader Award will honor a young professional who has strengthened and improved water education throughout the state of Colorado. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are now available. For more information, contact alicia@yourwatercolorado.org.

Defining Values

On Tour With CFWE During the fall of 2013, more than 100 people hopped on the CFWE water bus to investigate land use in the south metro Denver area and energy development in northeastern Colorado. We heard feedback from attendees who increased their knowledge of the topic or met someone who challenged their perspective. These are the very CFWE’s Kristin Maharg and Rich Belt of Xcel Energy on the goals we strive toward, along with providing par- fall 2013 energy tour. ticipants a common learning experience at exciting sites with expert speakers. Send ideas for next season’s offerings to kristin@yourwatercolorado. org. And join us at any of these upcoming tours to explore the value of water in your life:

March 7, 2014—Learn how climate science and water resources are connected at the National Ice Core Laboratory in Lakewood. May 2014 (various dates)—Pedal the South Platte River bike trail to uncover the relationship between urban development and river health. June 12-13, 2014—Explore the water wonders of the Yampa River on CFWE’s annual river basin tour, with a special guest presentation from Keystone Science School’s Basin Voyage students. Registration will include an optional raft trip on June 11. Save the date!

For Giving Generously at Year’s End! THANK YOU! Because of you, CFWE’s 2013 Holiday Campaign, “Experience the Joy of Giving,” was a great success! CFWE raised more than $18,000 in donations and memberships during this year’s campaign, making this the best Holiday Campaign yet! Thanks to your support, the scope of water education continues to expand as CFWE reaches more people across the state with programs that bring balanced and accurate information about water.

Your Logo Here Did you know there are advertising and sponsorship opportunities available for each issue of Headwaters magazine? Reach more than 10,000 readers across Colorado while supporting water education. Opportunities are limited; contact Alicia at 303-377-4433 or alicia@ yourwatercolorado.org to find out how to take advantage!

Growing Capacity

We asked. You answered. To improve our educational offerings and capacity to provide relevant programs, CFWE conducted our second annual survey of members and top CFWE supporters in December 2013. Staff will use this input to adjust programs and set goals to reflect our members’ educational needs and preferences, and ensure that our work remains useful and balanced.

Moderately Balanced 22%

Good 31% Excellent 69%

Very Balanced 78%

Quality of Information in Headwaters 2

Balance/Accuracy of CFWE

Interested Citizen 19%

Elected/Appointed Official 5%

Water Professional 76%

Respondents’ Profession/Interest Group

Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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CFWE Welcomes New and Returning Board Members CFWE relies heavily on the involvement and expertise of our board members to ensure we provide the great water education that Colorado deserves. We are thrilled to announce that five CFWE board members have renewed for an additional three-year term, and we’ve added one new board member. Congratulations to returning members Lisa Darling, Steve Fearn, Alan Matlosz, Trina McGuire-Collier and Chris Treese, as well as new member Scott Lorenz of the Arkansas Groundwater Users Association!

yourwatercolorado.org


Colorado Foundation for Water Education Board Members Gregg Ten Eyck President Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr. Vice President Eric Hecox Secretary Alan Matlosz Treasurer Becky Brooks Nick Colglazier Lindsay Cox Lisa Darling Steve Fearn Rep. Randy Fischer Greg Johnson Pete Kasper Scott Lorenz Dan Luecke Trina McGuire-Collier Kate McIntire Kaylee Moore Reed Morris Sen. Gail Schwartz Andrew Todd Chris Treese Reagan Waskom

Staff Nicole Seltzer Executive Director Kristin Maharg Program Manager

W

elcome to 2014! I don’t usually give much thought to transitioning from one year to the next, but this year I am ushering in 2014 with enthusiasm and optimism. Many friends have endured my seemingly endless griping about moving, home improvement and CFWE is so thankful for our members and supporters! We living in a construction zone over the last year. wouldn’t be Colorado’s premiere water education organization I have always thought of myself as adaptable without you. to transition, but I think I hit my limit in 2013. I am looking forward to a year containing less personal disruption and more rewarding adventures. One adventure the entire staff and board of CFWE have been navigating is the challenge of appropriately managing growth. Since 2007, when I started as Executive Director, CFWE has gone from two to five full-time staff and our budget has increased accordingly. With more capacity comes the ability to do more great water education for Colorado, but determining which path to go down can be tricky. On the positive side, there isn’t a lack of great ideas. It seems every week brings a new offer to partner or a creative idea to further our mission. The difficulty is to set our sights on clear goals and not be distracted by other possibilities that arise. Much like the talking dogs in Disney’s 2009 movie “Up,” it’s easy to get sidetracked by squirrels. There is a balancing act to achieve, one that lets you stick to identified goals but not be so single-minded as to lose flexibility or be unable to respond to changing circumstances. Whether CFWE has hit that sweet spot, only time will tell, and in the meantime we’ll keep our eye on the target while making sure to look around often too. In that vein, CFWE has many new ideas coming to fruition in 2014. Our popular Water Leaders course continues to prosper, and we’ll be taking leadership development programs to the next step through “Water Leaders 201” trainings for alumni and the launching of our Water Educator Network. The network, funded by a generous grant from Xcel Energy, will offer trainings and best practices to water educators to improve the quality and quantity of programs offered throughout Colorado. Be on the lookout for how to get involved! CFWE is also working hard to continue improving access to our vast collection of water information. From the “Your Water Colorado” blog to Water 101 fact sheets or the “Connecting the Drops” radio show, CFWE is delivering more “bite-sized” water education. And early results show it is expanding our reach substantially! From October 2012 to October 2013, CFWE’s website and blog traffic increased 125 percent, meaning we are reaching more people with important information. In addition, we are working to better deliver the content you care about by instituting new ways for you to tell us what you want to learn. Look for changes in how we deliver electronic content in spring 2014. And don’t forget that all past issues of Headwaters and our Citizen’s Guides are archived online and searchable by topic! Happy New Year, and thank you for your support of CFWE!

Caitlin Coleman Program Associate Jennie Geurts Administrative Assistant Alicia Prescott Development Director

Executive Director

Expand your professional network, receive a free subscription to Headwaters as well as discounts on event registrations, and support Colorado’s only organization for non-biased water education by becoming a CFWE member today! Sign up at yourwatercolorado.org. Mission Statement The mission of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education is to promote better understanding of water resources through education and information. The Foundation does not take an advocacy position on any water issue. Acknowledgments The Colorado Foundation for Water Education thanks the people and organizations who provided review, comment and assistance in the development of this issue.

1580 Logan St., Suite 410, Denver, CO 80203 303-377-4433 • www.yourwatercolorado.org

Headwaters Magazine is published three times a year by the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. Headwaters is designed to provide Colorado citizens with balanced and accurate information on a variety of subjects related to water resources. Copyright 2014 by the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. ISSN: 1546-0584 Edited by Jayla Poppleton. Designed by Emmett Jordan. Headwaters | Winter 2014

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Contents

Water is… Winter 2014

6 Our Future

11 Making Water Known

7 Relevant

By Gail Binkly Water educators are on a mission for people, young and old, to know more about water—and not just to know, but to know enough to care and to act. While water education in Colorado has come a long way in the past 30 years, the job is far from finished.

We know we can’t live without water, but keeping society present to that reality is no easy task; MillerCoors crafts beer—and a message about making more with less.

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Reaching Colorado: Tookit For Educators

Whether you’re targeting youth or adults, focused on advancing water conservation or facilitating public dialogue on contentious water issues, or working in another field entirely, we offer something for everyone inside. Donny Roush with Earth Force wades into water education with a fish sampling activity.

Contributors Gail Binkly is a career journalist based in Cortez who has covered environmental issues, including water, for decades. She nevertheless was surprised by the depth of Colorado’s water education offerings while working on this issue of Headwaters. What impressed her most? “The knowledge and passion of water educators. They are deeply concerned about issues on the horizon and making sure the public is informed so people can make smart choices.” Binkly is co-owner and editor of the Four Corners Free Press, a regional newsmagazine. Caitlin Coleman is a writer and program associate for the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. She found it inspiring to highlight water education programs across the state in this issue, but a glimpse into the world of water engagement was the most fascinating. She now has a better grasp on the work of advocacy and civic engagement—as well as many new questions about the workings of decision-making and democracy. On the Cover: The South Platte River Environmental Education’s Mary Palumbo connects kids with the river environment in Denver during a two-day camp over the 2013 Thanksgiving break. Photo by Kevin Moloney. (Below right) Students on a tour with the Roaring Fork Conservancy visit Reudi Reservoir.

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When Janice Kurbjun was young, her father handed over his engineering proposals for her to edit, exposing her at an early age to environmental engineering, technical writing and the art of putting words together. Today, Kurbjun’s work has expanded to include reporting for Wyoming and Colorado newspapers, and, most currently, working with the Colorado Basin Roundtable to edit its portion of Colorado’s Water Plan into an eas(ier)-to-read document for lay audiences.

8 Art Public art gains ground for water; Capturing new audiences by artful means; Inspiring action through music; The power of imagery; Poetry, too.

10 Opportunity Merge a passion for communicating about water with the right skill set and what do you get? Careers in water education and outreach; Where to go for classes, trainings and programs to gain credibility.

28 DIY: Social Media It’s time for water educators to plug in! Gain a new audience, solicit feedback and stay connected through social media. We show you how. By Joel Warner.

Kevin Moloney is a Colorado native and a freelance journalist who has covered western water issues for publications including the New York Times since 1996. He has been an instructor at the University of Colorado for the same amount of time and is currently finishing a Ph.D. in Technology, Media and Society at University of Colorado, Boulder. Jeremy Wade Shockley is a self-taught freelance photographer who recently returned to his home in the Four Corners region to explore aspects of the American West, from ranching to Native American culture. Shockley has worked as a staff photographer for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and contributed previously to Headwaters.

Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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yourwatercolorado.org


Ten During my family’s recent foray to Pike National Forest for our annual Christmas

tree cutting, we were fortunate to spot the legendary Smokey Bear. Smokey humored us with a photo op, and I had to wonder at his agelessness. Created for the Forest Service by the Ad Council in 1944, Smokey is the council’s longest-running campaign—and one of the most successful PSAs in the nation’s history. According to the Ad Council, Smokey is recognized by 97 percent of American adults, and three out of four are able to recall his message, “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires,” without prompting. That simple message has had a huge effect: The campaign has helped reduce the number of acres lost annually to fire in the United States from 22 million in 1944 to 8.4 million as of 2000. Water educators, after the same impactful messaging, have tried their hand at their own version of Smokey: We’ve had Dewey the Water Drop and H2O Jo with his sidekick Flo (the fish) bearing messages like “Hey, we’re in a drought, which means I’m kind of a big deal,”or “Keep it clean, cause we’re all downstream.” While they may not yet be as recognizable, such characters and slogans have a purpose similar to that of Smokey: generating awareness, concern and, ultimately, action. Over the years, water education has gained complexity, depth and purpose. Many programs, whether targeting children or adults, offer not only simple messages about protecting, conserving or valuing water resources, but also invitations to understanding and solving water resource challenges. For organizations working to engage the adult public in participating or speaking up, the idea is that the more voices heard during planning phases, the better solutions will be—and the more community buy-in solutions will have. Children, as torchbearers of the future, have been the target of many water education efforts. The hope is that young people, with all their passion and receptivity, will not only bring waterprotecting messages home to their harder-to-reach parents (I remember coming home from school when recycling first took off to goad my parents into participating), but will also become future leaders, scientists and managers designing innovative solutions to big problems. The Poudre Learning Center, for example, located on 65 acres of donated riverside property in Greeley, sees itself as an application site for children to reinforce concepts gained in the classroom. Building upon the educational focus of STEM learning statewide, the center adds another interdisciplinary element to programs teaching kids to apply science, technology, engineering and math to solve problems, calling it “Inspired by Nature STEM.” “We think science is our gatekeeper,” says director Ray Tschillard. “We offer outdoor, inquiry-based learning, with 21st century skills applications. We’re seeing examples in nature, and asking how we can we solve problems.” Working toward greater community outreach, the Poudre Learning Center not only hosts 15,000 youth from nearby school districts per year, but also keeps its gates open from sunup to sundown for anyone to pay a visit. Families, for example, can come out, don a fishing vest full of science equipment, and earn badges for completing certain activities. Such experiences, educators find, are more impactful than learning behind closed doors. Without meaningful interaction with their water resources, people are less likely to become true stewards. Yet gaining people’s time and attention—and spurring their involvement—is no easy task. In this issue, join us in exploring the major challenges water educators say they face, plus inspiring ideas for overcoming them. Fortunately for Colorado, water educators are not about to give up on making water known.

Things To Do In This Issue:

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Jump on a bus, or a bike, for an in-thefield water education experience on an upcoming CFWE tour (page 2).

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Tap the Water 2012 book club list for recommendations on water-centric titles (page 9).

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Find out where to gain street credibility in water education (page 10).

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See what pollsters say Coloradans know about their water (page 12).

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Get the scoop on how Sukle Advertising develops award-winning campaigns (page 16).

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Learn how to navigate the National Environmental Policy Act and participate in public comment periods (page 21).

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Connect with AmeriCorps to bring a VISTA volunteer to your organization (page 25).

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Gain a head start in program evaluation by setting goals using a logic model (page 26).

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Plug in to CFWE’s brand new Water Educator Network (page 14).

Harness social media platforms to take outreach up a few notches (page 28).

n Jayla Poppleto Editor

Headwaters | Winter 2014

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Relevant > Art > Opportunity

Colorado’s future leaders—its children—learn about Carbondale’s ditch system and the importance of water during a tour with Roaring Fork Conservancy. 6

Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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yourwatercolorado.org

Photo by Jeanne Beckley

Kevin Moloney

Water Is Our Future


Water is Relevant

Recognizing the Relevance of Water

“It's an old quote, but it's very, very true,” says Nicole Seltzer, executive director of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. “You cannot talk about economic development, you cannot talk about agriculture, you cannot talk about industry, you cannot talk about land use planning, you cannot talk about anything—unless you factor in a clean water supply.” But in today’s busy world, how do water educators in Colorado help people recognize the critical nature of water to their everyday lives? Like its tagline, “speak fluent water,” CFWE aims to help people understand water well enough to participate in thoughtful discussions and act wisely when it comes to the resource. Even Seltzer says that's a lofty goal, but one way to get at it is to hone in on the most receptive audience—those who are predisposed to caring about water. “You capture that and grow it,” Seltzer says. Over the past few years, CFWE has focused on creating partnerships with like-minded organizations to reach their stakeholders, developed an interactive blog plus fact sheets on water basics, and increased its offering of one-day tours showcasing everything from climate science to energy development, which attract new people into the fold. “Then, we make sure we follow up with everyone who attends [our events] to provide additional ways to learn about water,” says Seltzer. Many water educators find that gaining face time with audiences is a key to engaging them. “When I do presentations in person, it's easier to gauge people's responses,” says Hannah Holm, coordinator of the Water Center at Colorado Mesa University, which organizes research, education

and dialogue on water issues in the upper Colorado River Basin. “In general, people seem to be interested in where their water comes from and what forces might affect it in the future, but it’s easier to tell when you can see their faces.” Holm also considers people’s natural attraction to drama, such as ongoing water shortage, when giving presentations. “People get turned off by jargon and acronyms and the ins and outs of organizations they don't know about,” she says. “I try to get to the main point about what's going on and potential consequences for water and water users, with as little time on all the agencies and laws involved as possible.” By keeping presentations short, Holm saves time for responding to audience questions, allowing her to customize on the spot how she conveys priority takeaway information in terms that relate to her audience’s specific educational needs. Providing real-world experiences can also make messaging more personal—and impactful. CFWE’s annual river basin tours are meant “to get people out in the field to see with their own eyes what's going on,” says Seltzer. “There's no better teacher than experience. It's great to read about something, but then to take it to a more tactile experience is really important because it brings it home.” Identifying and nurturing relationships with concerned citizens and leaders, as well as just listening to stakeholders, will help water educators find ways to enhance impact. Says Seltzer, “Our job is to create that dialogue with an engaged and interested audience, helping people learn enough that they feel compelled to participate and take ownership in some way.”—Janice Kurbjun

Greg Poschman

“In the West, when you touch water, you touch everything,” former Colorado Rep. Wayne Aspinall once said.

In 2011, participants on CFWE’s annual river basin tour visited sites along the Colorado River.

The Value of Stewardship: Brewing More With Less As companies focus on improving the sustainability of their business practices and customers increasingly seek out products with a smaller environmental “footprint,” MillerCoors is upping the ante. Owner of the world’s largest singlesite brewery, located in Golden, the brewer is also Colorado’s largest industrial water user, with a direct connection to water that is impossible to ignore. The company’s innovative efforts to reduce the water required to produce its beer are a source of pride MillerCoors touts to consumers. “Our products are brewed with water and rooted in agriculture,” says Dr. Marco Ugarte Irizarri, MillerCoors’ sustainability manager for energy and water stewardship. “We also recognize that much of our water footprint resides in the agricultural supply chain,” Irizarri adds. “To that end, we partnered with The Nature Conservancy and an Idaho farming family to create the Showcase Barley Farm to research ways to save water in the barley-growing process.” By using more efficient irrigation and soil

management techniques, the farm saved 270 million gallons of water in the first two years, enough to run one of the company’s breweries for several months. According to Irizarri, MillerCoors has decreased the water used for production by nearly 9 percent over last year, to 3.5 barrels of water per barrel of beer. “By comparison, some U.S. breweries use as much as 6.6 barrels of water to produce a single barrel of beer,” says Irizarri. The company calls on its customers to place the same high value on the fresh mountain water that delivers the quality products they enjoy, issuing a water conservation challenge in relevant terms any beer-lover can appreciate: “The average American uses more than 100 gallons of water each day. Can you try to use less? We hope so. After all, water is the most important ingredient in beer, and at MillerCoors, we're always trying to make more beer by using less water.”—Janice Kurbjun

Headwaters | Winter 2014

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Water is Art

Kate Tillery-Danzer

Going Public With Water Art

The Greenway Foundation’s first Mile High Mural panel was completed in 2009 along the South Platte River (above). Water For People filled Denver’s Civic Center Park with its June 2013 Festival For Water (below).

Nestled along the bike path through downtown Denver’s Confluence Park, two striking murals brighten the waterway. Part of the Mile High Mural Project, brainchild of Jolon Clark, associate director of the Greenway Foundation, the artwork helps joggers, cyclists and families make a deeper connection to Cherry Creek and the South Platte River. For Clark, the mural project is about breaking down fears of the water, overcoming ambivalence, and creating a sense of connectedness and ownership with the two urban waterways. In 2009, with the help of local artist Emmanuel Martinez, Clark planned a mile-long series of mural panels depicting the history of the South Platte River from prehistoric times to the modern era. Martinez primed and outlined the figures of dinosaurs along the riverine habitat for the first panel. Then, at an Art on the River event, community members and local school kids were invited to "paint by numbers" with the artist. The second panel, which was created following a similar format, features Chief Hosa, or Little Raven, standing on the banks of Cherry Creek. Clark hopes to tie production of additional panels with the Greenway Foundation's South Platte RiverFest, which features music, stand-up paddleboarding and water stewardship activities. "I would like to start a weeklong event, to end on a first Friday, to collaborate with Denver's First Friday [art] events," says Clark. "I want to have the prepared murals already installed up and down and invite the kids and several artists each year, and then everyone can come down and work on it in a very festive atmosphere." Cherry Creek isn’t the only place where public art is being used to inspire passersby about their connection with water. A quick jog from the murals, in front of the student success building at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Rik Sargent's 14-foot tall, 3,000-pound bronze sculpture of a single drop of recycled water is a symbol of unity and celebration that gets people talking. Installed in May 2012, the sculpture is named for Metro’s new One World One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship. Covered in carvings of diverse habitats and watersheds from around the globe, the sculpture serves to remind the community of water’s finite nature and the need to conserve and protect it. In Greeley, a budding hotspot for public art, civic commitment to the arts is intertwined closely with water issues. In July 2013, the city council unanimously approved an ordinance to set aside a small percentage of money from the city's stormwater funds for the One Percent for Art program. The program, which already received 1 percent of the city’s capital improvement project funds, helped support the Greeley Centennial Village Art Fence by local artist Lisa Cameron Russell. With 20 painted panels, the fence serves as a focal point depicting local lore and the history of water in Greeley.—Kate Tillery-Danzer

Meaningful Music For millennia, music has been a means to entertain, educate and inspire people to action. Now, even water organizations are striking up the band.

»» —Kate Tillery-DanzerFor Nuestro Rio, a network of more than 13,000 Latinos in the American Southwest, music plays a central role in spreading the group’s message about caring for the Colorado River while also raising awareness about the river’s shared history with Latino culture. A lively music video, featuring a traditional “corrido,” or Mexican ballad, serves as an emotive history lesson and a festive call to action. Filmed along the Colorado River, the corrido implores listeners to conserve and preserve the waters of “nuestro rio,” which translates to “our river.” Watch it at nuestrorio.com.

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Colorado Foundatio

Christian Nasche

»» Water For People, an international humanitarian organization, joined forces with Coors Light and the American Water Works Association in June 2013 to heat up Denver's Civic Center Park with the Festival For Water, a free concert filled with activities and plenty of food trucks. To the 12,000-plus attendees, Water For People proclaimed its message, “Water For All!” loud and clear. It's all part of a branding strategy to reach new audiences, says Emma Pfister, the group’s manager of social marketing and partnerships. Water For People wanted to tap into the Denver community to build local awareness of the worldwide water crisis. "That one night started something special," Pfister says. "From there we have gone to launch the message from the festival, ‘1.8 billion people can’t get a glass of clean water; you have the power to #ChangeThat,’ into a global movement."


Water is Art

Courtesy RunningDry.org

The Power of Imagery In the 2008 film, “The American Southwest: Are We Running Dry?” famed producer, journalist, policy expert and environmental planner Jim Thebaut takes on the complicated and nuanced water issues facing the region. This balanced but sobering documentary looking at water use and policy and what Thebaut calls the “coming water crisis” in the arid Southwest is just a small part of his veritable water education empire. Inspired by former Sen. Paul Simon's 1998 book, “Tapped Out: The Coming World Crisis in Water and What We Can Jim Thebaut filmed on location in India, China and Africa during Do About It,” Thebaut collaborated with production of his 2005 documentary “Running Dry.” Simon to create “Running Dry” (2005), the first movie in his series. Screenings of that film on Capitol Hill were the catalyst for the 2005 Senator Paul Simon Water For the Poor Act, which made global access to safe drinking water and sanitation a policy objective for U.S. assistance programs. But if you ask Thebaut, he’s just getting started. He has created lectures and short videos, and has plans for a comprehensive media strategy to bring together stakeholders from government, the private sector, nonprofits, the public and academia to understand the underlying water issues that, he says, deeply affect global security—all while making the topic interesting and accessible. “I learned a long time ago that you have to begin where people are. You have to start on their level,” says Thebaut. “We can solve almost every problem on the planet. But we have to learn to respect each others' views.” Speaking of “Running Dry,” Colorado writer and conservationist Jonathan Waterman penned a book with that same title in 2010, detailing his 1,450-mile journey from the headwaters of the Colorado River to the river’s dried-up Mexican delta near the Sea of Cortez. In a related collaboration, National Geographic photographer and Colorado native Peter McBride spent more than two years documenting the river, including much of Waterman's expedition. The resulting body of work, the Colorado River Project, includes a coffee table book, “The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict,” an award-winning short film, “Chasing Water,” a comprehensive river map, a blog and a lecture series—all in an effort to bring awareness to issues facing the river basin. Think of iconic Colorado landscape photography and you'll likely think of John Fielder. The noted photographer, author and conservationist has published 39 exhibit format and guidebooks, including the best-selling historical overview “Colorado 1870-2000.” Fulfilling Fielder’s hope for his images’ impact, their sheer power has not only inspired countless people to get their boots on the ground and their rafts in the rivers, but also influenced conservation measures across the state. “Seeing nature in a photograph is one thing; being there is entirely another,” says Fielder. “We are most fervent in our advocacy of preserving 4 billion years of the evolution of life on Earth after we raft a Colorado river or climb a rocky mountain.”—Kate Tillery-Danzer

Inspiring Words for Water Perhaps the most amazing thing about the annual, international River of Words poetry contest is that young writers, aged 5 to 19, regularly toss around words like watershed, transpiration and percolate in powerful poems that belie the poets’ youth. Then again, it might be the judges. For the 2013 Colorado competition, master poet Jim Ciletti and Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, Jr. served as poetry judges, while local sculptor Rik Sargent judged the art. For kids to have their work reviewed by such respected figures is empowering, says Marnie Lansdown, Colorado River of Words coordinator. "Being recognized in a contest like this can change a kid's life." Colorado Humanities, which administers the Colorado competition, has increased outreach efforts to engage more teachers and students in the water conversation. Through participation in regional water festivals and by providing a downloadable teaching guide with engaging lessons about history, culture, watershed science and poetry, Colorado Humanities staff hope to reach as many youth as possible. "Kids are such great advocates," says Lansdown. "Kids aren't aware of the limitations of what they can do. They come home full of righteous indignation about solving water problems." Cultivate contest submissions (due in December each year), or simply introduce place-based poetry to students of all ages by downloading the “Teaching the Poetry of Rivers” curriculum by prizewinning poet and teacher Kathryn Winograd at www.coloradohumanities.org/content/river-words. —Kate Tillery-Danzer Travel with “House of Rain” author Craig Childs along the water-short ancient migration routes of the Ancestral Pueblo people or pick up “Downriver” or “River Thunder” by Will Hobbs, who narrates thrilling stories about rafting the Grand Canyon. Visit the Water 2012 book club list for additional recommended water-centric reads: www.water2012.org/activities/water-book-club.html.

Drawing New Audiences Durango's first juried art exhibit dedicated to a water theme, Water in the West, was a timely collaboration, says Denise Rue-Pastin, coordinator of the Water Information Program in southwestern Colorado. Rue-Pastin approached the Durango Arts Center with the hope of connecting new audiences to water issues through art, and the center’s executive director Mary Puller loved the idea. The resulting month-long 2012 event drew almost 200 entries in sculpture, photography, paintings and mixed media, while offering water-related lectures and readings to participants. Back for a second year, the 2013 art exhibit ran from Oct. 25 to Nov. 16. In addition to works of art, the event featured talks on climate projections for the San Juan Mountains, the energy-water nexus, water and farming, recreation and tourism, and Colorado water law. The audience ranged from politicians and socialites to college students and ranchers, who were able to share diverse perspectives. Rue-Pastin hopes to hold the art exhibit annually and to expand its scope: "I think it would be great to make this a statewide, regional, or even a national show.” —Kate Tillery-Danzer Denise Rue-Pastin welcomed visitors to the second annual Water in the West art show in 2013.

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Water is Opportunity

To Educate or Engage: What’s Your Niche? So, you have good communication skills…you write well, you love talking to people. Maybe you’re a graphic designer, an event planner, a mentor or a mediator—and you’re passionate about water. You might be destined to delve into water education or public engagement. Here are a few ways to go about it:

Massive Open Online Course Finally, a chance to take a free university water course! A new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), “Water, Civilization and Nature,” is now available through Colorado State University to people of all ages and locations worldwide. MOOCs are a sweeping trend for universities, but CSU is one of the first to offer a water-focused MOOC, bringing expertise and water education to hundreds of people over the web. “The main purpose will be to provide a great vehicle for water education for anybody interested in picking up information on water challenges,” says

Glenn Patterson, lead developer and instructor of the water MOOC. The eight-week course will begin in late January 2014 with a series of modules on different topics. Each module will include at least one recorded lecture, a quiz, and a feedback mechanism for students to discuss or respond to questions, plus links to interactive exercises and supplemental resources. Participants can choose to follow individual modules or the entire course. More information and registration is available at www.online.colostate. edu/free-online-courses.—Caitlin Coleman

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Try outreach or education—Use your communication, marketing, public speaking and people skills to reach out through the media, videos, publications, interpretive displays and tours. Outreach professionals work with the smallest of watershed groups, serve as public information officers at large water utilities, and work on the ground through land management agencies and the state universities’ extension service. Or maybe you really want to be an educator in its purest form. Teach at a school and incorporate water education into your lessons, work for a nonprofit or utility that provides water programming, or counsel high school or university students about how to apply their interest in water.

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Consider public engagement and participation—If you have skills in convening stakeholders, working through disagreements, building consensus or even crafting policy, you could become a facilitator or mediator. Work independently or join a consulting organization. Then again, your role could be to coordinate the federal public engagement process as part of permitting projects, or to bring stakeholders together to design a watershed plan. Have political aspirations? Maybe you should strive for an elected political position. You could “grow up” to become president!

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Volunteer—Not looking for a career change? Network and get involved by attending public meetings or participating in local water planning through your regional river basin roundtable. Find an organization whose work resonates with you and volunteer your time to assist with outreach activities, engagement, facilitation and more. —Caitlin Coleman

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The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network’s Noah Newman brings hands-on learning opportunities to the classroom.

Resources to Gain Street Cred in Water Ed »» Higher Education—Not all schools have them, but the water centers at universities across Colorado are great resources for building water knowledge: »» The One World One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship at Metro State University offers a new interdisciplinary Water Studies minor—you can major in anything and still walk away with a baseline of water knowledge. »» The Water Center at Colorado State University offers water courses or a water minor. »» The Water Center at Colorado Mesa University coordinates a seminar series, conference, tours and a speaker’s bureau. The school also offers a Watershed Science minor and partners with the River Management Society to offer a River Studies and Leadership certificate. »» Western State Colorado University students can obtain a B.A. in Environment and Sustainability with a water emphasis and participate in the Colorado Water Workshop annual summer conference. »» Get Certified—Apply through the Colorado Association for Environmental Education to become a certified environmental educator. If you’re looking for additional training, build your portfolio through CAEE’s online course. »» Teacher Resources—Learn from others and tie water education to content standards through the many teacher trainings available statewide. The Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s new Water Educator Network provides training opportunities and an online repository of resources for educators; the Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative organizes a “Watershed to Cup” teacher workshop series; Project WET provides teacher trainings and resources such as the Forests to Faucets program offered by Aurora Water and the Water Information Program; and programs like the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, the Alliance for Climate Education, and River Watch put together great lesson plans, assemblies and hands-on citizen science opportunities. »» Youth Training—Programs offered by the Greenway Foundation, Earth Force, Groundwork Denver and Environmental Learning for Kids provide young people with the skills needed for entry-level jobs in water education and natural resources. The Greenway Foundation’s South Platte River Environmental Education (SPREE) program recruits, trains and teaches environmental education job skills to select high school students each year. These “river rangers” counsel elementary students at a summer camp and come away with leadership skills, environmental knowledge and even a portfolio they can submit to the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education to become certified environmental educators. Says Mary Palumbo with SPREE, “We’re giving them the tools they need to be successful in any career they choose and introducing them to opportunities they never knew existed.”—Caitlin Coleman

Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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yourwatercolorado.org


To People Across Colorado,

Making Water Known To People Across ColoradoBy Gail Binkly

For the vast majority of Coloradans, water is as close as the nearest faucet. Clean, cheap and seemingly abundant, it flows at the turn of a knob. How, then, to persuade people that the substance is actually scarce and precious—needed not only for drinking and landscaping, but for sanitation, agriculture, natural resource extraction, manufacturing and, of course, for keeping rivers flowing?

Kevin Moloney

Long-time educator Tom Cech, now director of Metro State University’s One World One Water Center, stands in front of the sculpture that bears the center’s name with students (left to right) Jeffrey Hays, Ron Reinfort and Brian Loma, and OWOW staff Nona Shipman (front, left) and Ale Brown (back, right).

Headwaters | Winter 2014

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By the Numbers K nowledge Gap

D r aw in g Atte n ti o n

Share of Coloradans who know agriculture is the state’s largest water user. Source: “Public Opinions, Attitudes and Awareness Regarding Water in Colorado,” CWCB 2013

Share of Coloradans who say they pay more attention to water issues today than in the past. Source: “Public Opinions, Attitudes and Awareness Regarding Water in Colorado,” CWCB 2013

35%

72%

At a water festival in Greeley, children get a hands-on lesson about what lives in water.

Moreover, how to engage the public in activities such as protecting or restoring waterways or working toward solutions to possible water shortages? The answer: water education. Since the first covered wagons creaked across the borders of what is now Colorado, water education has been ongoing, although in the earliest days it was as rudimentary as old-timers warning settlers, “Don’t build too close to that river,” or “It gets mighty dry here in July.” Today, water education has burgeoned into a richly diverse field that seeks to inform citizens and leaders about everything from the need for conservation to the complexities of water law, from the basics of irrigation and Xeriscaping to the dangers of flooding. Across the state, a plethora of programs offer workshops, tours, trainings, festivals and seminars geared to audiences of all ages and levels of expertise. Water educators visit classrooms, host field trips, and disseminate information via every type of media available. Yet the job is far from finished, and some worry that all the efforts aren’t enough. As Colorado grows, it not only faces the challenge of meeting water supply needs, but also of educating new residents unfamiliar with the state’s water issues. “This is a critical time to educate Coloradans on one of our most valuable resources,” says Alan Hamel, chair of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), noting that the state is expected to fall short of meeting forecasted water demands within the next 40 years. Judy Lopez, executive director of the Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative, agrees: “If we don’t start getting folks used to the idea that we can live with less, we’re setting ourselves up for some rude surprises.” Educating Coloradans will be crucial not only so they can use water wisely but also so they can vote thoughtfully or participate in Preliminary funding analysis indicates that implementing a portfolio of solutions to meet “medium-level” municipal and industrial water needs in Colorado—about an additional 800,000 acre feet per year by 2050—will cost around $15 billion. Source: Statewide Water Supply Initiative 2010

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planning processes involving complicated issues such as transbasin water diversions, water transfers from agriculture to municipalities, or hydraulic fracturing. And it will be essential to educate current and future leaders so they can also make informed decisions and find creative solutions to challenges. “It’s important for a person to know where to get sound water information that is not one-sided,” says Tom Cech, director of the One World One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship at Metropolitan State University in Denver. Fortunately, from nonprofits and academic institutions to state and federal agencies, water conservation and conservancy districts, public utilities, and private businesses, a wide range of entities are working to reach the public. In addition to education, many efforts seek to engage people through stakeholder groups or public comment opportunities on water-related proposals. But there’s still a knowledge and awareness gap ripe for water educators to fill. Water Education Evolves Organized water education in Colorado developed slowly. Among the earliest efforts was the Colorado Water Workshop at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, started by water attorney Dick Bratton and history professor Duane Vandenbusche in 1976 to bring people together from both sides of the Continental Divide. Recognizing the inherent conflict in water issues, the founders offered one basic principle, recalls WSCU’s Environment and Sustainability Program director Jeff Sellen: “Let all reasonable positions be represented.” That same year, the Colorado Water Congress developed a teaching guide for each of the state’s watersheds geared to children. But these were isolated efforts. “Back in the early ’80s, I don’t recall much of what we call water education occurring, other than bus tours and newsletters,” says Cech. A few municipal providers such as Denver Water and Aurora Water did offer educational programs for youth, he says. Things began to change in the late ’80s. The Central Colorado Water Conservancy District (CCWCD) in Greeley took advantage of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant money to fund the development of a

Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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K-12 water curriculum. The Colorado Division of Wildlife, a major player early on, helped create a water curriculum called “Splatte!” that focused on the South Platte River, while a water quality specialist with the agency, Barb Horn, launched the now-widespread River Watch Program that took school kids to the Yampa River to sample water quality. In 1990, the first water-related exhibit, “Colorado Water: Liquid Gold,” organized by numerous water utilities and districts, was presented at the Colorado State Fair. Around that time, Cech, then with the CCWCD, was visiting his parents in Nebraska when he read in the local newspaper about a children’s water festival in Grand Island. “I called them up and found out how they did it,” he recalls. The result was Colorado’s first water festival in 1991. Presented by CCWCD, it drew more than 1,500 fourth- and fifth-graders. It was swiftly followed by others in Loveland, Fort Collins and Boulder. Today, there are festivals in dozens of locations statewide; the largest, put on by the Ute Water Conservancy District, brings more than 2,000 fifth-graders to the Colorado Mesa University campus in Grand Junction every year for a day of fun, hands-on learning activities. Reaching adults was a whole other can of worms, difficult because of busy schedules and competing priorities for their time. As one of the state’s oldest water education organizations, the Water Information Program based in Durango has been tackling this problem since 1994, when the Animas-La Plata and the Dolores Water conservancy districts got it off the ground, with the Southwestern Water Conservation District as a participating entity. Among WIP’s early offerings were informational brochures, selected news clippings copied and sent by mail, and traveling displays. But although water education was spreading, there was little sense of urgency about it prior to the new millennium, Cech says. “From 1980 to 2000, Colorado was in one of the 20 wettest years in recorded history,” he says. “Some of us said, ‘You know, we need a drought to get people interested in water.’ I wish we hadn’t said that, because then the worst drought in 400 years occurred.” Since that drought in 2002-03, people’s desire to learn about water has increased dramatically, Cech says. He recalls seeing a short

yourwatercolorado.org


Jeremy Wade Shockley Water Information Program coordinator Denise Rue-Pastin hopes that once people understand the value of water, and its relative scarcity, their awareness will result in calls to action or change.

article about water in the Greeley Tribune in the ’80s and cutting it out “because it was so unusual.” Today, articles and public information about water issues abound. As it continued to spread, water education evolved in other ways. Early public educational efforts were primarily issue or project-driven, led by federal and state agencies, municipal water districts, and water conservancy or water conservation districts—all government entities. Today there are many civically driven efforts, from conservation-oriented watershed groups to the River Protection Workgroups of southwestern Colorado, which have convened stakeholders in five river basins for a multi-year, consensus-based process to recommend future management tools. The shift to more democratic, grassroots water planning puts a greater emphasis on citizen input, but requires that those citizens be informed. So while youth programs remain a strong focus of educational efforts, there’s a more recent push to target the adult audience. The Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative’s Lopez agrees that reaching adults is critical but thinks it remains one of the weakest spots in water education. She believes more hands-on offerings—along the lines of those provided for kids—are needed. “Everybody says, ‘We can do a flyer,’ because it’s easy, but a large percentage of people never pick it up or read it,” says Lopez. “We have to do things that are interactive.” Lopez offers an annual expo for small-acreage landowners along with frequent field trips for the public, including site visits to see new infrastructure. Such visits create a sense of familiarity and let people see how their money is

invested, says Lopez. Meanwhile, the Water Information Program has expanded to include 17 participating entities, offering everything from a lending library and website with up-to-date water news to teachers workshops and an annual one-day course, “Water 101,” that includes an overview of water law as well as topics relevant to each year’s hosting locale. The course, now in its eighth year, provides continuing education credits for realtors and attorneys, but about one-third of attendees are citizens who just want to know more, says Water Information Program coordinator Denise Rue-Pastin. One thing that has not changed over the decades is the importance of the central message about water’s scarcity and the need for conservation. “People tend to take it [water] for granted,” says Rue-Pastin. “We hope once they start to understand issues such as supply and demand, that will create some calls to action or change.” While the core message may not have changed, Kathy Parker, public information and education officer with the CCWCD, says the message has shifted somewhat over the years. “It used to be more about the water cycle and conservation,” she explains. “Now the educators are starting to tackle tougher issues like sharing water and the lack of water.” Dr. Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Institute, an affiliate of Colorado State University working to connect the expertise of higher education to the state’s water challenges, believes the messages have needed to change to keep pace as society, its water needs, and water management have changed. “For example, the recent focus on the non-consumptive needs of rivers and Headwaters | Winter 2014

By the Numbers T r u s te d I n f o r m ati o n Source s

29%

Share of Coloradans who consider water conservation and water conservancy districts to be the most trusted source of water information. (18% think it’s environmental organizations and 15% say it’s the state government; 12% say their local utility and 2% say the federal government.) Source: “Public Opinions, Attitudes and Awareness Regarding Water in Colorado,” CWCB 2013

B u d g e t C o n s tr a i n ts

56%

Share of Colorado water educators who report working with budgets of less than $5,000 annually. Source: “Water Education Survey and Focus Group Report,” Colorado Water Education Task Force 2008

More than 9,000 miles of stream have been protected in Colorado since 1973, when Senate Bill 97 established the state’s instream flow program—one of the first of its kind. This program vested the Colorado Water Conservation Board with exclusive authority to protect streamflow through entire stream reaches.

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By the Numbers Re sou rce Appreciat ion

96%

H e igh t e n e d C o n ce r n

ecosystems received little discussion in earlier decades; now it is truly mainstream,” says Waskom. Or, he continues, “Whatever you think about the fracking issue, you can see many communities currently having in-depth dialogue about sophisticated aspects of drilling technology and climate change around this topic. Water educators have to stay on top of a lot of issues to remain relevant.”

three. “There’s a lot of room to do more,” he says, adding that many people still do not understand where their water comes from or where it goes after they use it. Like many endeavors, time and money are limiting factors in educational efforts. This was a key finding in a 2008 survey of 292 Colorado water education providers conducted by the Water Education Task Force of the CWCB. Many groups have found that working with partners can help stretch resources. For example, the West Greeley Conservation District, CCWCD, and city of Greeley’s water conservation and stormwater offices have combined forces to host joint water festivals and river cleanups. They also work together on Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) workshops, school presentations, and seminars to train people in the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), a nationwide network that enlists citizens in taking daily precipitation observations. “The partnership is growing and snowballing,” CCWCD’s Parker says. “It has exponentially multiplied what we’re able to do with our finances and manpower and resources.” To assist other organizations in partnering, CFWE teamed up with the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education to develop a web portal/repository of statewide resources called the Water Educator Network. The goal is to facilitate collaboration between groups with overlapping aims. Another effort, spearheaded by Colorado WaterWise, is a “Value of Colorado’s Water” communications toolkit to provide effective educational materials that can be customized for specific audiences. WaterWise has issued a call for sponsors to contribute the funds for hiring a professional marketing consultant to develop the toolkit, targeting December 2014 for its release. Youth water educators must also be increasingly creative to get into schools, where recent state emphasis on back-tothe-basics instruction has made it more challenging to win time with students. Birgit Landin, youth education consultant with Colorado Springs Utilities, who presents in classrooms across four school districts, says she and her co-workers continually

Share of Colorado voters who say rivers are critical to Colorado’s quality of life. Source: Keating Research and Public Opinion Strategies study, 2013

Advances For A Broader Reach Colorado’s General Assembly has repeatedly demonstrated the importance it places on water education. In 2000, it appropriated funds to develop a water education curriculum for K-12 students as well as adults, an effort that continues today with different funding sources. In 2002, state legislators created the Colorado Foundation for Water Education (CFWE)—a critical step, says Cech, because it represented “the first concerted effort by a nongovernmental entity to focus on the general public.” Then in 2005, the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act established a basin roundtable for each of Colorado’s eight river basins (plus the Denver metro area) as well as an Interbasin Compact Committee to facilitate statewide solutions. Among the duties of the roundtables is to serve as a forum for education and debate regarding methods for meeting water supply needs. Educational efforts have intensified over the last decade or so, culminating in the statewide Water 2012 campaign, designed to raise public awareness of water and timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and the Colorado River Water Conservation District in 2012. Led by CFWE, the campaign reached more than a half-million people. But the CWCB’s Hamel believes some of the momentum of Water 2012 has been lost. And on a scale of one to 10, Cech rates the effectiveness of current water education in reaching the average citizen at a

Peruse resources, register for upcoming trainings and join CFWE’s brand new Water Educator Network at www.yourwatercolorado.org.

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86%

Share of Coloradans who say they are concerned about drought. Source: Ciruli Associates, 2013

Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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Carbondale Middle School students take a walking field trip to investigate aquatic life in the Crystal River.

adapt their curriculum to meet new academic standards. “The whole educational front has changed dramatically,” says Landin. “What teachers are required to do is so different from 10 years ago. Teachers have to be able to show that our program will meet the standards of the core curriculum before they can give us permission to come to their classroom.” Water educators continue to strategize and identify new ways to reach audiences— and there is no shortage of work to be done. “There’s a youth audience that is changing every year. We’re never done with youth education,” says Waskom. The challenge is to capture the interest of kids absorbed in Facebook, smart phones and computer games. “They understand the hydrologic cycle, but they say, ‘So what?’ We found in focus groups that the dry science or the policy of water isn’t very compelling to kids. You need to get them outdoors, into the watershed, and tie education to recreation and things they care about.” Waskom says there is also a continuing need for adult education because of the state’s changing demographics. “People who have been here very long—I think they’re pretty aware. But you have people moving here from back East. Water education is one of those things we’ll never be finished with.” Cech believes water education is “leaps and bounds” ahead of where it was 20 or 30 years ago. “In some ways we’ve done a wonderful job with water education. But I think it’s still the tip of the iceberg. We always need to reach more people.” q

yourwatercolorado.org


Reaching Colorado for Water Today The many organizations and individuals working to engage and educate Colorado about water are dedicated and gifted, but even the best and most resourceful struggle now and then. Use this toolkit to delve into seven key challenge areas identified by 20 of Colorado’s premiere water educators. The kit explores stellar programs and organizations that have overcome common hurdles, along with those who continue laboring to make headway. Flip through to find goals and target audiences that match your own, browse tipsheets and resource lists, and identify helpful examples and contacts. Many of the ideas here translate easily to other fields, projects or aspects of life—we offer takeaways for everyone.

Key Challenge Areas Generating Concern page 16

Reaching Young Audiences page 18

Overcoming Misconceptions page 19

Helping the Public Understand its Role in Decision-Making page 20

Meaningfully Engaging the Public page 22

Doing More With Less page 24

Measuring Success page 26

Headwaters | Winter 2014

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C h a l l e n g e > G e n e r at i n g C o n c e r n

Denver Water targets water conservation with unique and attention-grabbing messaging.

Generating Concern About Water By Janice Kurbjun Although water is gaining increasing attention in the arid West, water educators continue to struggle with attracting widespread attention or generating concern outside of crisis periods, such as drought, flood and wildfire. Recent natural disasters have helped utilities make headway in water education, but the window of opportunity in which people remember the disaster and are supportive of solutions, including bearing the cost of improving infrastructure or participating in conservation efforts, typically lasts only two years, says Diana Royval, communications and marketing manager for Fort Collins Utilities. It’s a key time to capitalize on people’s increased receptivity to water-related messaging, but how do you maintain that momentum? According to Mike Sukle, owner of Sukle Advertising, effective campaigns first raise awareness, then begin to alter a person's feelings toward an issue. Finally, they show evidence of broad changes in consumer behavior—often the goal of water education programs. In the midst of the 2002 drought, which followed a quarter-century of plenty, Denver Water boosted awareness by adding heft to its water conservation messaging. A highly visible advertising campaign was supported by additional staff outreach efforts. Sukle Advertising, brought on board in 2000, initially took the utility’s “Don’t Waste Water” slogan and gave it a positive spin to become “Nothing Replaces Water.” According to Sukle, a positive angle is essential for

engaging audiences. For Denver Water, the message wasn't about sacrifice, nor was it about restricting, says Stacy Chesney, media communications manager at Denver Water. “It's about not wasting, and people can get behind that.” As the drought deepened, the message became “It's a drought. Do something,” empowering the audience with its call to action. When the drought waned before picking back up in 2006, the utility sought to “capture the water savings we saw during the drought with messaging that would really resonate with our audience,” says Chesney. “This wasn't about drought, it was about using water efficiently.” The “Use Only What You Need” message and its 2013 iteration, “Use Even Less,” have gained international attention, both as a successful advertising initiative and a community awareness project. That awareness has led to the utility’s desired outcome: behavioral change. The utility has measured a 20 percent reduction in water use since 2006, nearing its goal of 22 percent by 2016. By tracking political and social patterns, water educators can also leverage messaging accordingly. At the time Denver Water’s 2002 campaign was developed, the shift toward the green movement was gaining momentum, says Trina McGuire-Collier, Denver Water’s assistant director of public affairs. “You can have a great idea but if the public is not in a place where it's resonating, it's hard to make the connection.” q Browse the creative work of Sukle Advertising and Design. Check out the various campaigns the agency has created for Denver Water and other clients at www.sukle.com.

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Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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yourwatercolorado.org


S po t li gh t Gain an Audience During Crisis

Candice Rupprecht

Using social media during crises can build trust and awareness, and gaining “likes” or “followers” can lead to more opportunities for interaction later during non-crisis periods. During the flooding across northern Colorado in fall 2013, Fort Collins Utilities used Facebook to reach 178,872 people, up more than 4,000 percent from the previous week. Counting “shares,” where an initial viewer passed along the message to his or her friends, the utility reached yet another 100,000 people. More importantly for the long-term, “likes” increased by 1,875, up 3,650 percent from the previous week. The utility can now continue interfacing directly with those Facebook users, posting messages straight to their news feeds. q

Volunteers install native plants at a Conserve to Enhance project site in Tucson, Ariz.

Tipsheet OVERCOMING APATHY

Struggling to trigger heightened awareness and a changing relationship with water in your audience? Here are some expert tips to try:

The fall 2013 flooding that impacted the northern Front Range sent destructive mudslides through Jamestown.

»» Maintain Uniqueness—The 15th annual River Awareness Float trip hosted by the Western Colorado Conservation Center rafted a new stretch—the Gunnison River from Corey Bridge to Confluence Park— and offered a fresh focus on raising funds for local restoration projects. The 2013 event was larger than ever, with more than 200 people attending.

»» Stay Positive—Calling on residents to “Join the Flock,” the Grand Valley’s Drought Response Information Project (DRIP) has distributed hundreds of pink flamingos that homeowners place in front yards alongside signs proclaiming their outdoor water conservation ethic. Diners are asked to “Think Pink” before ordering an unneeded glass of water at restaurants.

»» Use Humor—In May 2013, Colorado Springs Utilities introduced Dewey the Water Drop, placing him in perilous situations where he is victimized by the irresponsible use of water. Denver Water has gotten laughs for everything from flowers drunk from over-watering to referees tackling a toilet-garbed individual running across a football field bearing the message, “Stop Running Toilets.”

»» OFFER SOLUTIONS—The University of Arizona’s Conserve to Enhance Program, launched in January 2011, empowers people by connecting their water conservation efforts directly to environmental improvements. Program participants donate money saved on their water bills for community watershed and restoration projects. Says Candice Rupprecht of the university’s Water Resources Research Center, “Once people have specific knowledge and tools to make changes, that's when they start to care and take action.”

Headwaters | Winter 2014

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Challenge > Reaching Youth

Reaching Young Audiences Many water educators also look to give children tangible, outdoor experiences, though winning time with schools for such activities can be a challenge, says Mike Wilde, educational consultant at the Roaring Fork School District. The key to success, he says, is finding administrators and educators who buy in to such experiences and tying environmental lessons to other subjects, such as math and English. Recently, particularly following the Colorado Department of Education’s adoption of the Colorado Environmental Education Plan in late 2012, public schools have been revamping curriculum and looking beyond school walls for ways to fulfill state standards in environmental education, including water. The state plan, created over a two-year period by the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education and a dedicated task force, is widely considered a step forward in the quest for environmental literacy, as the plan seeks to restore and increase field experiences as well as improve statewide access to existing environmental edu-

cation programs and materials. As a result of the plan, the Greenway Foundation’s South Platte River Environmental Education (SPREE) program began working with two partner schools to present a water-based chemistry unit that extracted children from the classroom. The tools of Colorado’s River Watch program were implemented to link abstract chemistry lessons to real-life water quality issues. For their final project, students used data to recommend a positive change for the river. “It was a real way to make chemistry come alive for students,” says SPREE youth development director Mary Palumbo. SPREE also organizes grade-specific field trip sites on public land along the South Platte River. Lessons combine with tangible experiences to empower kids to have a positive impact on the environment. “It creates a sense of excitement and belonging to this place,” says Palumbo. “We teach them that they own the park and can come here for free, but when you own something, it’s also your job to take care of it.” q

Kevin Moloney

“How much water goes into that soccer field?” It's a question Natalie Brower-Kirton, senior program specialist for Aurora Water, poses to children during her programs. Students have to stop and think: How much water does go into that soccer field? “The water they drink and use at their house is important,” Brower-Kirton says, “but playing on a soccer field also uses water.” Brower-Kirton's approach is one many water educators are taking in an age of relative disconnect, short attention spans and technological distractions for young people: bringing concepts home in tangible lessons and activities kids can relate to. Educators find that youth, like adults, become more engaged in abstractions such as water scarcity when they are given tools to effect change. Water conservation becomes real through trainings on using shower timers to remind them not to linger, replacing leaky toilet flappers, and other simple lessons such as saving 10 gallons a day by turning off faucets while brushing teeth.

By Janice Kurbjun

Mary Palumbo with the Greenway Foundation’s South Platte River Environmental Education program connects kids with the local ecosystem through on-site programming.

Tipsheet

Building Youth-Water Connections Looking to capture young people’s attention (and enthusiasm) for water? Here are some programs that are doing it well: »» Watershed School, Boulder—This unique middle and high school integrates water throughout curriculum to build an academic study of water that encourages students to synthesize concepts at a more complex level. »» H2O Tracker, Aurora Water—The utility’s free H2O Tracker application takes advantage of youths’ smartphone addiction. It’s part calculator—estimating home water use, suggesting ways to conserve, tracking financial savings and even comparing to peers—and part trivia game, in which correct answers earn points toward prizes.

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»» Escalante Middle School, Durango— Seventh-grade students learn about the roundtail chub, a species of concern, by raising the fish in an aquarium. Science lessons are tied to the experience, and instruction about fishing responsibly is delivered by a partner organization. »» H20 Outdoors, Keystone Science School, Keystone—For three days, 100 high school students stay at the school to learn about water. Activities include hiking the Continental Divide to see where water comes from, learning about water law, and meeting with Colorado water stakeholders to hear about their concerns. The program culminates with a mock town hall meeting, where students represent different stakeholders in debate and then develop policy recommendations for Colorado water management.

Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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»» GetWET Observatory and Science Park, Colorado State University, Fort Collins— This hands-on water education facility annually provides 800 students, ranging from elementary to graduate school, with an opportunity to study water in an outdoor environment. And each year 75 teachers attend GetWET’s teacher institute, gaining tools to make learning about water more engaging and interactive. »» Roaring Fork Conservancy, Basalt— Staff conduct in-classroom watershed education with seventh-grade students leading up to a multi-day team-building raft trip. The trip has existed for more than 30 years, but the recent involvement of the conservancy in classrooms prepares students with in-depth lessons they build upon on the river.

yourwatercolorado.org


Challenge > Misconceptions

Overcoming Misconceptions What does potable mean? How about flocculation? Water professionals frequently toss around jargon and expect the public to understand, but what if they don’t? Misconceptions and lack of understanding, even on the superficial level of vocabulary, can impact public opinion—and even put potential water solutions on hold. Water reuse professionals, for example, explain that when public opposition halts a project to reclaim wastewater for irrigation or drinking, people might not necessarily be against the idea if they truly understood it. About a decade ago, water reuse projects were proposed in San Diego and Los Angeles, but the projects failed. In the media and public eye, the phrases “toilet to tap” and “yuck factor” took hold, along with a political cartoon of a dog drinking from the toilet and its owner demanding the dog move over so he could have a drink. It’s no wonder Californians were put off by the “yuck.” Similarly, outdoor water conservation campaigns have had to overcome the cultural norm of

lush Kentucky bluegrass lawns, along with confusion over jargon (it’s “Xeriscape” not “zeroscape”), and intimidation around installing or properly caring for a xeric yard. “We’ve had to do a bit of educating so that the community understands that Xeriscape is not rock or bark,” says Zach Verslius with Aurora Water’s conservation department. “Once people have been shown examples of Xeriscape, they are typically in favor of it.” Public education, along with rebates, water audits, demonstration gardens and free landscape design consultations have built acceptance and confidence in implementing outdoor conservation measures. “It’s not even just because of the money, the rebates,” says Verslius. “These days customers are thinking it’s not sustainable to have as much grass as we have and it’s time to change.” As for reuse, a handful of facilities recycle treated wastewater in Colorado—and so far they haven’t faced the extensive public perception issues California did. Educators and professional communicators are seeing their efforts to use ap-

By Caitlin Coleman proachable terminology, explain the water cycle, and overcome the once-perceived stigma of reuse pay off. “Municipalities [in Colorado] where recycled water systems have gone in have been incredibly supportive,” says Brian Good with Denver Water and former president of the National Water Reuse Association. “It’s kind of been like, ‘Duh, why didn’t you think of this before?’” Good believes the perception shift is a necessary one, particularly in arid geographies. “In the future, we’re all going to have to be a lot more creative on how we stretch our available water supplies,” he says. And helping communities understand problems and potential solutions is a first step. q Denver Water’s recycled water system salvages wastewater to supply up to 17,500 acre feet of water every year for irrigation and industrial uses, serving the Denver Zoo, Xcel Energy, schools, golf courses and parks. The water is non-potable, meaning it’s not treated to drinking water standards.

Spotlight

10B0

Orange County’s Water (Re)Cycle In 2008, southern California’s Orange County needed to expand its service area, but to do so required an additional water supply. The county found that supply in the form of treated wastewater from the neighboring sanitation district and began injecting it into the ground as a recharge project. The injected water replenishes the groundwater basin, where it is tapped by more than 400 wells for drinking water. Approval for the expansion was seven years in the making—seven years of public outreach, permitting and approvals. “We tried to make sure we had our finger on the pulse of every single opinion or perspective out there that allowed us to move forward and not have any organized opposition,” says Eleanor Torres with the Orange County Water District. The district also learned from others’ mistakes. Everything it did was transparent and deliberate; every endorsement received was in writing; and all outreach began with teaching people the value of their water supply. Today outreach continues with regular tours of the utility’s old treatment plant, Water Factory 21, plus a speaker’s bureau, children’s water festivals and more. On most Factory 21 tours, participants sample freshly purified wastewater, and inevitably someone asks why the utility is injecting clean water back into the ground only to soil it again. Their misgivings about reuse laid to rest, citizens are instead wondering why utilities aren’t even more efficient. “Now people get it,” Torres says. “I think more and more people are accepting that yeah, [purified wastewater] is water and it’s part of our resource.” q

Headwaters | Winter 2014

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Challenge > Public Input Weld County commissioners backing the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project on the Poudre River garner additional public support at a 2010 rally.

Jeff Dahlstrom

Helping the Public Understand its Role in DecisionMaking By Caitlin Coleman The world of water management is complex, and because everyone has a stake in the resource, decision-making processes can be technical and cumbersome. But that doesn’t mean citizens shouldn't speak up about issues that matter to them. With federal and state laws mandating public comment processes, agencies and legislators looking to hear from their constituents to develop solutions to water issues, and advocacy organizations rallying citizens to make their voices heard, the challenge is knowing where to begin. If an irrigation company or utility hopes to build a dam, for example, they might deal with myriad government agencies and go through a separate public comment process for each. For those interested in participating, the challenges of reading long documents, submitting comments through official feedback mechanisms, tracking agency responses and remaining engaged for what could be years to see evidence of change can be prohibitive. When a project with a federal nexus evolves, agencies must legally disclose information about that project. Depending on the proposal, they may be required to provide outlets for engagement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), soliciting public feedback related to the environmental impacts of the project and considering all comments received on a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before it is finalized and distributed. Similar processes exist at the state level. Entities putting forth water projects must craft a fisheries and wildlife mitigation plan with Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff. These plans integrate comments received on related EIS’s and garner 20

additional feedback of their own. Permitting can be long, arduous and frustrating for everyone involved. In the case of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District’s Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP), the process has continued for a decade. To date, Northern has spent between $10 and $12 million on behalf of NISP’s project participants, and much more remains to be done. At the same time, citizens have followed every step due to concerns about the project’s impacts. Still, such processes aren’t there just to be difficult, says Becky Long, advocacy director with the nonprofit Conservation Colorado. Instead, they’re in place to help leaders answer key questions and choose the best path forward. That feedback process is crucial, agrees Kara Lamb, public involvement specialist at the Bureau of Reclamation, and it makes a difference. For example, when Reclamation modernized the dams at Horsetooth Reservoir 13 years ago, staff didn’t realize the importance of rock climbing around the reservoir until climbers spoke up. The climbers’ input enabled the agency to preserve most access points. “We wouldn’t have had that information if they didn’t come forward, so [NEPA] does work,” says Lamb. Significant roadblocks, however, according to Long, are that people aren’t always sure how to engage and then when they do, they can leave wondering whether their comments entered a vacuum. “It makes them feel like, ‘Why should I [participate], because last time it went into a big void,’” Long says. Lamb sees the same problem, but traces it back to a common misconception: People want to “vote” through NEPA, assuming that if

Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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enough of them express their dislike for a project, the agency will shut it down, Lamb says. The NEPA engagement process doesn’t account for personal opinions, and in most cases, won’t result in a project’s demise; rather, it exists to collect, disclose and analyze information. “People say, ‘If I stood up, why isn’t my voice being heard?’” explains Lamb. “But what NEPA is looking for is tangible and scientific.” A famous example of the process at work, and one that still echoes in Colorado, is that of Two Forks, the 1 million-acre-foot reservoir put forth by Denver Water in the 1970s and ‘80s that was denied a Clean Water Act 404 permit to “dredge and fill” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was prepared to issue that permit, the EPA disagreed, finding that the project would cause serious environmental damage, avoidable with an alternative plan—an alternative that existed thanks to public involvement. Dan Luecke, regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund at the time, put together the alternative that the EPA used to deny the Two Forks permit. Like Lamb, Luecke highlights the importance of that tangible, scientific information in influencing decision-making. “The public can get involved in these processes to make their opinions known and they very much did in Two Forks,” he says. “But those who would oppose a certain project or advocate for an alternative have got to have significant technical capabilities to accomplish much.” “I don’t know that there is any easy solution,” adds Luecke. “But that doesn’t mean the public shouldn’t get involved; that doesn’t mean the public shouldn’t stand up.” q

yourwatercolorado.org


The Role of Advocacy Work “In the world of changing the world, decisionmakers hold all the power,” says Joshua Ruschhaupt, director of the Sierra Club’s Rocky Mountain Chapter. “The question is who can influence those decision-makers and how.” Decision-makers include anyone in a position of authority when it comes to making choices or creating policy. Advocacy groups like the Sierra Club and Conservation Colorado employ a suite of tactics to influence decisions, some which engage the general public and others that rely on professional staff. “We do the best we can so that we’re at least holding our own and bringing good science to the table for those decision-makers to understand before they make a decision,” Ruschhaupt says. Generating public activism could mean providing a link on email blasts for subscribers to send comments to government officials, organizing people to testify during hearings at the capitol, or recruiting volunteers to help inform others. Conservation Colorado determines which actions make sense on an issue-by-issue basis, says Becky Long, the group’s advocacy director. While engaging Coloradans around a recent resource management plan in Grand Junction, for example, Conservation Colorado led tours and hikes to get people on the ground, where they could see what’s happening. Tours and actual experiences help people provide substantive comments and care more about the topic. Says Long, “The heart of advocacy work is demonstrating to people why it matters.” q

Sierra Club members speak out on climate change. Learn how to navigate the National Environmental Policy Act and make your voice heard. Download A Citizen’s Guide to the NEPA at energy.gov/nepa/downloads/citizens-guide-nepa-having-your-voice-heard or get the basics at www.epa.gov/compliance/basics/nepa.html.

Kate McIntire of the Colorado Water Conservation Board is leading outreach efforts to involve Coloradans statewide in Colorado’s Water Plan.

Spotlight Gaining Public Input: Open invitations from leaders speak volumes about the importance of the public voice. Whether crafting local watershed protection plans or a water supply plan for the entire state, organizations are inviting citizens to the table. Why? To proactively address concerns—and improve the likelihood of success. “We definitely want the development process for Colorado’s Water Plan to be grassroots,” says Kate McIntire, public engagement specialist with the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the state agency overseeing the plan, which was initiated by governor’s order in 2013 to address future water supply challenges. The state will rely on stakeholders across Colorado for direction, feedback and eventual execution of the plan. Aiming to have the plan drafted by December 2014, CWCB staff are working to provide open, two-way communication channels with communities—soliciting input through legislators and river basin roundtables, giving talks at conferences and meetings, and encouraging participation through social media. Outreach is intended to increase public awareness and dialogue about the plan—and to identify and address issues that could bar the plan’s ultimate success. And the plan will only succeed, says McIntire, if it incorporates the diversity of values and needs across the state. On a local level, when the Roaring Fork Conservancy, a watershed group, identified issues with local stream health, it involved stakeholders to proactively address problems before they escalated. The group began developing a watershed plan in 2007 that viewed the resource across jurisdictional boundaries, says Sharon Clark, watershed action director at Roaring Fork Conservancy. Clark and her colleagues spoke at civic group meetings, contacted other water-focused organizations, created a blog to solicit feedback, and hired a facilitator to run a series of public meetings. “It was important to reach out so people were brought in from the beginning, that we weren’t doing a plan in a vacuum without any input,” says Clark. The watershed plan, in effect since 2011, is entirely volunteer-implemented, and, says Clark, you don’t sign someone up to implement your plan without having a connection. q

Headwaters | Winter 2014

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Matt Suby

Challenge > Meaningful Engagement

Meaningfully Engaging the Public

Greg Poschman

(Within a Politically Charged World)

Government officials, scientists and stakeholders (top) discuss issues facing the Roaring Fork River during a Watershed Summit hosted by Roaring Fork Conservancy in 2010. Former state Rep. Kathleen Curry (above) speaks at the summit.

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By Caitlin Coleman

We live in a time of what Martín Carcasson calls “wicked problems.” We’ve all seen them—political standoffs in D.C., heated dialogue on topics like hydraulic fracturing, and don’t forget Colorado’s first-ever recall elections in September 2013 over gun control disputes. As a society, we’ve become polarized. According to Carcasson, who directs Colorado State University’s Center for Public Deliberation, these issues exist because of our competing values, attitudes and preferences. As important as scientific research is for developing solutions, we can’t research these kinds of differences away, Carcasson argues. Instead, leaders need to deliberately engage the public in talking through issues. MaryLou Smith, professional facilitator with the Colorado Water Institute, leads dialogue around tense water issues and says the process can take years to produce solutions. That is in part due to human nature. “If we could get people to start

Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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listening more deeply to one another, to have an attitude of wanting to resolve something, to make it work broadly instead of wanting to win…we could change the culture overnight,” says Smith. The goal for facilitators is to help people find common ground and agree on next steps like legislation or formal solutions that account for everyone’s concerns. However, extensive public engagement may not be possible for every problem, says Connie Lewis, senior partner at the Meridian Institute. “Not everyone can afford it, in spite of the fact that a penny spent now may save a penny later,” says Lewis. The investment could stave off legal battles or other forms of opposition to whatever action is proposed. To host a constructive dialogue, make room for all interests and voices, Lewis advises. And, “Try to think more creatively about how to accommodate a value and to honor and protect other people’s fundamental interests.” q

yourwatercolorado.org


WATERLAW

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PATRICK|MILLER|KROPF|NOTO

Calling All Citizens: Speak Up! State Sen. Gail Schwartz has taken to the road. Schwartz represents District 5 on Colorado’s Western Slope and, through town hall meetings, is encouraging constituents to participate in creating Colorado’s Water Plan. “What I’m trying to stress to them is that you don’t have to have expertise in water to be part of the conversation and talk about your priorities,” Sen. Schwartz says. She invites people to speak up, whether by sending her an email, calling or attending a meeting. The Gunnison Basin Roundtable, a state-designated group of leaders providing input into regional water planning, is also facilitating citizen involvement by publishing “A Handbook for Inhabitants.” This 32-page newsprint booklet, distributed widely through newspapers and by roundtable members, features topics such as where the basin’s water comes from and how it’s used, water quality, and the basin’s water future. It also encourages residents to connect with their water and participate in water planning by attending a roundtable meeting or offering feedback on Colorado’s Water Plan. Meanwhile, agency representatives are using social media, connections with “touchstone” advocates such as reporters or active organizations within affected communities, and door-todoor outreach to seek input on permitting processes. Kara Lamb of the Bureau of Reclamation suggests visiting everything from personal residences to local homeowner association meetings and club gatherings to “fold them into the process.” Says Lamb, “I try to do that over and over, going to where the concerned voices are. It isn’t always easy and we’re not always welcomed, but I think we have to try.” q

�e worlds� �ost precious resource deserves a law �r� �ocused only on water

Spo t li gh t From Conflict to Collaboration: The Poudre Runs Through It shows us how. »» The Spark—People in northern Colorado have had severely divided opinions about Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District’s proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). A group of concerned citizens asked Colorado Water Institute (CWI) staff to lead a dialogue about the proposed project, but rather than narrowly focusing on NISP, CWI joined forces with CSU’s Center for Public Deliberation in 2011 to convene a community series on the Poudre River and the future of northern Colorado’s water.

»» The Launch—Believing a narrowly framed dialogue would be unsuccessful in overcoming polarization, CWI staff determined to dig deeper. “We had to talk about the underlying issue of northern Colorado’s water supply and all the things that feed into that—urban water conservation, the health of the Poudre River…,” says MaryLou Smith with CWI. CWI launched education and dialogue sessions for community members with more than 300 citizens gathering for a public forum in February 2011.

»» The Offshoot—To build on the public discussions, CWI convened 30 leaders representing a wide spectrum of local industries and organizations, including Northern Water as well as interests that might have legally opposed NISP. Meeting 10 times from 2012 to 2013, leaders focused on areas of mutual gain while not letting divisive issues limit their thinking.

»» The Outcome—The group identified three project priorities moving forward and will meet at least through early 2014 to launch the projects and consider additional ideas.

Headwaters | Winter 2014

ASPEN • BASALT • DENVER PHOENIX • TULSA www.waterlaw.com 800.282.5458 23


Challenge > Resource Constraints

Doing MoreWith Less By Jayla Poppleton Many water education professionals bump up against limitations that all too often come with the territory: small staffs operating under budget constraints. But through a combination of targeted efforts, opportunistic practices and leveraged resources, organizations are finding ways to do more with less. The Douglas County Water Resource Authority, a partnership of 15 water entities facing groundwater sustainability issues in south metro Denver, purchases demographic data to identify those most likely to act on efficient water use messaging. The group knows everything from the income bracket, marriage status and household size of its target audience to why they care about water and what their interests are. Zooming in, the authority identified a place to insert its message where that audience would be likely to see it: a popular Lumineers video on YouTube. In August 2013, the authority conducted a pre-roll advertising test, airing a 30-second spot featuring Gov. John Hickenlooper promoting water efHolly Loff (left) with the Eagle River Watershed Council ficiency before the Lumineers came on. In four conducts River Watch water quality sampling. weeks, the spot was seen by 165,000 people, at a cost of less than $0.04 per touch. Mark Shively, DCWRA’s executive director, is promoting the results as “effective, scaleable and reproduceable,” hoping to recruit partners to reach additional “rooftops.” DCWRA has also won awards for its Water Ambassadors Program, which capitalizes on the “cool” factor high school students bring to programs targeting younger kids—and pays for itself 10 times over in the water savings achieved, says Shively. By training around 200 high school students each year to lead school assemblies, which Shively calls “a very effective hook,” DCWRA reaches every fourth-grader in the district—about 6,000 annually. Then they take it one step further: “We make the homework just a little too hard, so they have to engage mom and dad,” says Shively, citing the 46,000 voters they’ve connected to the region’s water issues in this way. The Eagle River Watershed Council, a watershed group recently investing more heavily in education, leverages partnerships to expand its scope. It strategically coordinates with the nearby Walking Mountains Science Center to fill some of the center’s water education gaps, but programs are only implemented after close consultation between the two organizations, says ERWC’s education and outreach coordinator Kate Burchenal. “We want to make sure we’re not duplicating our efforts.” ERWC regularly hosts outdoor children’s programs at a ready-made outdoor classroom it’s fortunate to have at its disposal: the site of its own river restoration work along the Eagle River. “It’s not only a way to get kids outside and get them interested,” says Burchenal, “but an opportunity to demonstrate what we’ve done and what is possible on the river.” For adults, ERWC expanded its popular Water Wise Wednesday educational program last year by linking up with Walking Mountains’ High Country Speaker Series, a partnership with the Eagle Valley Library District. The organizations shared marketing efforts, topics and, most importantly, new audiences. ERWC similarly partners with the Colorado River Water Conservation District when it comes to town for its annual State of the River meeting, helping to promote the event. The advantage? “Putting fannies in seats,” says Colorado River District communications and education director Jim Pokrandt, but not only that. “When you bring in partners, you get shared work with publicity, with setting up and breaking down…and in return [your partners] also get what every water group needs: recognition that they’re out there working in this field.” Plus, there’s an opportunity to use such partnerships to tap funds that would be inaccessible to a stand-alone organization or project. “Collaboration is certainly a buzzword,” says ERWC executive director Holly Loff. “Every year there are more and more funders that require and strongly recommend that. It wasn’t our motivation in [partnering]; it just made sense.” q 24

Colorado Foundation for Water Education


Spotlight

Investing In Partnership For the many Coloradans who get their drinking water from private wells, monitoring for contaminants such as E. coli or arsenic is a responsibility shouldered by the well owners—sometimes unbeknownst to them. Thanks to funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the past decade, land grant universities across the nation combined efforts to address shared challenges— and education around well testing was one of many key areas to benefit. Under the USDA-funded Northern Plains and Mountains Regional Water Program, Colorado and Montana partners developed a DVD, fact sheets, record-keeping folders and more to teach private well owners about water quality issues and options for testing. Colorado State University then led development of an online tool to help well owners decode lab test results. “They can go in, punch in their results, and it spits it out in more

layman terms,” explains Julie Kallenberger of the Colorado Water Institute, who served as assistant director for the Northern Plains program. The tool caught on, and soon other states were requesting that CSU add data input options for their residents as well. “They didn’t have to reinvent the wheel,” says Kallenberger. Although USDA funding is gone, the Northern Plains group decided to remain connected, joining other regions to form a network encompassing the entire western United States. The time and effort spent building relationships is well invested in the long run, says Kallenberger. She recommends using your track record to demonstrate to potential funders what is possible if you team up with another group with a common vision. And stay nimble. “You have to go to where the money is being put,” she says. “Write to the grants. Leverage this knowledge, this money, this connection.” q

iStock.com

Northern Plains and Mountains Regional Water Program

Build your organization’s capacity by bringing on an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. Learn more at www.hardrockteam.org or www.nationalservice.gov.

TipSheet

MAXIMIZING IMPACT

Think only others can do it? Think again. Try these tips to multiply what you’re able to accomplish with limited resources:

»» DON’T REINVENT THE WHEEL—Tap existing resources and modify for your needs. Join CFWE’s Water Educator Network to make connections.

»» STRATEGICALLY TIME YOUR EFFORTS— Link your programming to current events or other happenings that could improve audience receptivity.

»» TRAIN OTHERS TO SPREAD YOUR MESSAGE—The Eagle River Watershed Council runs a raft guide education program, giving them knowledge they pass along to their customers.

»» USE THE NEWS—Publicize your message and expand your impact—for free. Cultivate relationships with reporters and ensure press releases contain a hook and important logistics in the first two paragraphs and are as close to print-ready as possible, recommends Jim Pokrandt of the Colorado River Water Conservation District.

»» CREATE AN INTERNSHIP—For a more affordable option to boost staff support, partner with the local college or university and provide an internship opportunity. Or connect with the AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer program to recruit a recent college graduate for a oneyear fellowship.

»» TARGET THE EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE— The Douglas County Water Resources Authority buys late to advertise at a discount during popular events like Rockies games. “Those are things people get enthusiastic about,” says Mark Shively of DCWRA. “People might think that water’s dull…Go find something that’s cool and get right in the middle of it.”

Headwaters | Winter 2014

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C h a l l e n g e > P r o g r a m E va l u at i o n

Measuring Success The Keep It Clean Partnership, a group of Front Range communities dedicated to reducing stormwater pollution, sees 1,200 kids at water festivals each year and tracks program participants’ pledges to pick up pet waste or organize creek cleanups. Still, the number of stream teams or children present at a water festival doesn’t, in itself, demonstrate behavior change. Like most water educators, Keep it Clean struggles with meaningfully measuring success. “I feel like we’re still, as an industry, looking for ways to better quantify,” says Keep it Clean’s Russ Sands. “We have a tendency to put out numbers. You can say every kid that you talk to is going to wholly retain your message, or is not going to pollute, or whatever you want to put at the end of the sentence—but there’s no standard way for how you calculate these things.” Sands has met with educators from water utilities and municipalities along the Front Range to

By Caitlin Coleman

discuss evaluation and says even big programs struggle to measure the value of specific educational programs, the level of impact, or actual behavioral change. Statistics can be helpful, and Keep it Clean tracks the number of participants in its programs, measures the amount of trash the kids pick up, uses surveys to evaluate knowledge and attitude change, and sends participants home with pledge cards. The pledges are the most meaningful, Sands says. Children bring the cards home, share them with their families, and mail them back with expressed commitments to do things like wash the car only at a commercial car wash, properly dispose of used motor oil, or check for leaky plumbing. Measuring longer-term behavioral change isn’t easy, however. And Donny Roush with Earth Force, a national nonprofit that engages young people to improve their communities, believes

organizations should spend more time learning from data than they should gathering it. Tracking down former students to find out how well programming has stuck with them, information Roush would like to have, might be too time consuming to justify, he says. Still, there are ways to begin assessing true impact. Roush uses pre- and post-program surveys that include statements students select to say whether they know how to create change, know enough to involve a friend or family, or know where to find information on environmental issues that impact their community. For each program, Roush aims to have at least 200 matched pre- and postprogram surveys to determine impact. Through the surveys, Earth Force can see its programs are working. “When we can say, ‘Seventy-five percent of students feel like they can make positive change in their communities,’ that’s a pretty powerful statement,” says Roush. q

Give Program Evaluation a Leg Up: Use a Logic Model Creating specific and measurable goals at the outset enables you to evaluate the success of your programs as you go. Danny Rousch of Earth Force recommends involving staff, board members, subject experts or stakeholders to inform your goals, then using a logic model to think through specific desired outcomes and impacts. Work backward to identify the programs that could be implemented to achieve those outcomes, assess your target audience, and evaluate the resources at your disposal. Define your underlying assumptions, such as, “If our audience

understands what goes into providing clean water, they’ll support increased utility rates.” Then consider whether those assumptions are realistic; validate with evidence if possible. And don’t forget to account for external factors. The Pick up evaluation strategies and explore context or environment the logic model method at betterevaluin which a program opation.org or www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/ erates will influence its extension/LogicModel.pdf. ultimate success. q

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Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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TipSheet HOW DID YOU DO?

Finding it difficult to gauge participants’ responses to your efforts? Try these expert tips to get the feedback you’re after: »» DON’T HAND OUT PAPER SURVEYS—Instead ask students questions during your program and count the number of hands raised. You’ll have a captive and responsive audience. »» RECORD EMOTIONS AND ATTENTION—Measure success in the moment by recording smiles, rapt attention, questions, laughter and “aha” moments. »» LEAD A FOCUS GROUP—Gather a group of key informants to discuss open-ended questions and you’ll be able to gauge current perceptions around a topic, initial reactions to a display or whatever else you’re hoping to explore.

» » BEGIN WITH AN ACTIVITY—To get people talking, try a card sort: Using sets of cards with words or pictures, ask

participants to create piles of similar items and explain their reasoning. Or have participants record thoughts in a journal. It will give them an opportunity to reflect and indicate what they’re taking away from your program. »» GO DIGITAL—Save yourself the trouble of manual data entry and try websites like surveymethods.com, surveymonkey.com or questionpro.com—have participants fill out the survey after your program using an iPad or iPhone. Or, as always, there’s an app for that! Check out Magpi, an open access mobile tool for data collection. »» PROVIDE INCENTIVES—Offer free lunches, a gift card, or a drawing for a free registration to your next program in exchange for survey completion, and you’ll boost response rates.

A collection of thank you notes sent to the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District following its 2010 children’s water festival

Take the

Step

Try conducting an iPad, mobile or website survey. Check out websites like www.surveymethods.com, www. surveymonkey.com, www.questionpro. com, or www.esurveypro.com.

Headwaters | Winter 2014

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w o N s DoThi ch

#

a e r r u o y Boost ial media with soc

By Joel Warner

1

As Paula Luu, communications manager for the nonprofit Pacific Institute points out, nine out of 10 businesses and nonprofits, plus 66 percent of government agencies, use social media. From informal surveys, Luu thinks water professionals lag behind these numbers. And she thinks that needs to change. “There is a huge potential for water managers to go beyond what I have seen them do with social media,” says Luu. “It’s a really low-cost way to meet your goals around marketing different initiatives. At a minimum, social media can take as little as 10 minutes a day.” But how, exactly, can educators effectively build a social media campaign around water?

MySpace

Facebook Start with a goal—“Social media isn’t an end game,” warns Luu. It’s a means to an end. So create a measurable goal. Maybe you want to cut customer water use by 10 percent. Maybe you want to draw 5,000 people to your website. As you work to hit your goal, focus on one social media platform at a time, advises Emma Pfister, manager of social marketing and partnerships at the Denver-based international development organization Water For People. “Concentrate on one, learn about it, and discover how to message content on it,” says Pfister. “And give it some time—three to six months. Then look at integrating another platform.”

It’s time to plug water educators into the social media zeitgeist.

Flickr

Aim

3

Think conversation, not lecture— Social media is like a cocktail party, says Mike Lee, social media director at Cactus Marketing Communications in Denver. Courteous party guests spend approximately one-third of their time listening to others, one-third discussing subjects everyone can relate to, and the rest of the time talking about themselves. Do the same with your online presence. “There is so much information that you want to give, but recognize there is another person in the conversation,” says Lee. One way Water For People draws people to the conversation is by posting photos of its international work and challenging people to identify the country of origin for a chance to win a promotional koozie. “When you can blend the physical world with the social media world, you can capture people’s attention in two different ways,” says Pfister.

4 Water For People blends the physical and social media worlds for greater impact.

2

Establish a base—Build your friends and followers by starting with a core group of supporters. Mine your contact lists and email subscribers, looking for those who use social media. Spread the word by buying Facebook ads, which can be targeted toward people with interests that dovetail with your cause. Once you’ve built your base, these champions will help spread the word.

Find partners—Remember there are others on social media who share your interests and goals, and that includes local organizations, area businesses and government officials. Use their Twitter handles to draw them into conversations, suggests Luu, and partner with them on collaborative marketing campaigns.

5

Solicit feedback—Social media isn’t just a megaphone; it’s also an inbox. Customers of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, for example, use the utility’s Twitter handle, @dcwater, to report service problems. It’s a great system, says Brandon Zelasko, director of interactive services at the Denver communications firm SE2, as long as you respond to all customer feedback. If you can’t monitor your feeds all the time, says Zelasko, “make it really clear on your profile when and how often you are available.” Joel Warner is a Denver-based freelance writer. His work can be found at joelwarner.com.

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How to Hashtag Hashtags, which use the “#” symbol to mark and build conversations around certain keywords, are all over Twitter and other social media platforms. How do you make hashtags work for you? Here are a few #tips: »» “Don’t just make [hashtags] up unless you’re launching a major campaign where you will reuse them a lot,” says Brandon Zelasko of SE2. Instead, find and adopt hashtags others are using. »» There are a number of tools, free and otherwise, that identify what hashtags people are most frequently using related to different topics, says Mike Lee of Cactus Marketing Communications. Using the Sysomos Media Analysis Platform, Lee found that in Twitter conversations over the past year related to Colorado water and Colorado drought, “#CODrought” popped up 2,941 times, “#COWater” appeared 535 times, and “#ColoradoWater” surfaced just 263 times—so if you want to engage in existing conversations, “#ColoradoWater” may not be your best bet. If you aim to build your brand around one hashtag, Lee suggests the following checklist: Is it short (10 characters or less)? Is it relevant (does it feature keywords for your subject)? Is it memorable (will people easily recall it)? And is it ownable (or have other organizations already claimed it)? q

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The Colorado Foundation for Water Education would like to express its sincere gratitude to all those who have shared their passion for Colorado’s most precious resource, and whose donations between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 (fiscal year 2013) have made CFWE’s work possible.

! u o y k n a Th Endowing Partner ($20,000+) Colorado Water Conservation Board

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Tributary Supporters ($250+) Anderson and Chapin, P.C. • Bikis Water Consultants • Bishop-Brogden Associates • Ginny Brannon • CDM Smith • Cherokee Metropolitan District • Colorado Corn • Colorado Municipal League • Colorado State Conservation Board • Delta County • Dolores Water Conservancy District • Environmental Process Control • Dieter Erdmann • Evans Group, LLC • GBSM • Harris Water Engineering, Inc. • Greg Hobbs • Lawscomm • Left Hand Water District • Middle Park Water Conservancy District • Reed Morris • North Sterling Irrigation District • North Table Mountain Water and Sanitation District • Petros & White, LLC • Pitkin County Healthy Rivers Board • Platte Canyon Water and Sanitation District • Robert Rich • Riverside Irrigation District • Roxborough Water and Sanitation District • Summit County • Transforma Research & Design • Trout, Raley, Montano, Witwer and Freeman • Vranesh and Raisch, LLP • Russell Walker • Reagan Waskom Stream Supporters ($100+) Don Ament • Ayres Associates • David Bailey • John Bartholow • William Battaglin • Paula Belcher • Richard Belt • Patricia Blakey • Buirgy Consulting, Inc. • City of Fort

Collins–Natural Areas Department • Colorado Water Trust • Amy Conklin • Thomas Davinroy • Delta Conservation District • Jody Dickson • DiNatale Water Consultants • Ducks Unlimited • Blaine Dwyer • Fairfield and Woods, P.C. • Farmers Grain Co. • Katy Flynn • Fort Collins Utilities • Russell George • Mike Gibson • Harris Water Engineering, Inc. • Mike Hart • Jim Havey • Taylor Hawes • Polly Hays • Helton and Williamsen, P.C. • Diane Hoppe • Scott Hummer • Doug Jackson • Greg Johnson • Pete Kasper • Bill Kluth • Kogovsek and Associates, Inc. • Dave Koop • Ramsey Kropf • Paul Lander • Greg Larson • Kent Lindell • Lutin Curlee Family Partnership • Karen Maharg • Tyler Martineau • Alan Matlosz • John & Susan Maus • Cheryl May • Murray McCaig • Jack McCormick • Trina McGuire-Collier • Phil McKinley • Bruce Nelson • Jenelle Ortiz • Jonathon Perlmutter • John & Nancy Porter • Patricia Rettig • RiverRestoration.org • Roaring Fork Conservancy • Gerry Saunders • Thomas Sharp • Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District • St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District • Karn Stiegelmeier • The Tisdel Law Firm, P.C. • Bill Trampe • Larry Traubel • Daniel Tyler • Urban Drainage and Flood Control District • Kathy Wells • Dick Wolfe

Individual Supporters ($50+) Tom Acre • Gerald Adams • Vic Ahlberg • Allison Altaras • Kenneth Anderson • Sarah Anderson • Susan Andrews • Frank Anesi • Animas River Wetlands, LLC • Jim Aranci • Carl Bachhuber • Bruce Bacon • Balcomb and Green, PC • Vicky & Patrick Barney • Jill Baron • Denise Bates • Jini Bates • Nancy Bauch • Troy Bauder • Bear Creek Water and Sanitation District • Amy Beatie • David Beaujon • Laura Belanger • Jeff Berlin • David Berry • Mike Berry • Michael Billingsley • Peter Binney • Tillie Bishop • Linda Bledsoe • Sharon Bokan • James Boynton • Gene Bradley • Carlee Brown • Matthew Brown • Kathleen Butler • Peter Butler • Josephine Carpenter • Robert Case • Castle Pines Metropolitan District • Gretchen Cerveny • Christiansen Corporate Resources • City of Aspen Water Dept. • City of Loveland • Claire E Sollars, Esq. • Clay and Dodson, P.C. • Clear Creek County • Debbie Cokes • Geraldine Colette • Colorado State University–CSURF Real Estate Office • Conejos Water Conservancy District • Neomi Cox • Pete Crabb • Chris Crosby • Christine Crouse • Rita Crumpton • Cutler Law Office, LLC • Paul D’Amato • Kellee Daugherty • Casey Davenhill • Jennifer Davis • David Deitemeyer • Brian Devine • William DeWolfe • Gary Dickerman • Kelly DiNatale • Lucy Dipboye • Sarah Dominick • Matthew Downey • East Grand Water Quality Board • Beaver Edmundson • Rodney Eisenbraun • Patrick Emery • Lewis Entz • Environment, Inc. • Robert Enzaldo • Brian Epstein • ERO Resources Corp. • Megan Estep • Rick Everist • Nathan Fey • Judy Firestien • Randy Fischer • Thomas Flanagan, Jr. • Jack Flowers • Barbara Ford • J. R. Ford • Forsgren Associates, Inc. • Sam Fuqua • Jan Gage • Pam Gardiner and Lyle Geurts • Les Gelvin • Jon George • Geo-Smith Engineering, LLC • Trevor Giles • Steve Glammeyer • Bill Goosmann • Marshall Gordon • Pete Gunderson • Frani Halperin • Hillary Hamann • Wendy Hanophy • Duane Hanson• Linda Hanson • Paul Harms • Christine Hartman • Eric Hecox • Sue Helm • Carla Hendrickson • William Hendrickson • Mark & Sara Hermundstad • High Line Canal Preservation Association • John Holdren • Constance Holland • Christine Honnen • Barbara Horn • Patricia Horoschak • Chuck Howe • Joan Howerter • Hudson Gardens • Terry Huffington • Tom Huston • Hydros Consulting, Inc. • Jim Hyre • John Imhoff • Cliff Inbau • Julio Iturreria • Nancy Jackson • Glen Jammaron • Torie Jarvis • Diane Johnson • Lynn & Joan Johnson • Dawson Jordan • Julie Kallenberger • Marvin Kembel • Russell Kemp • Mike Kiley • Scott King • Stan Kloberdanz • Betty Konarski • Krage Manufacturing, LLC • Krassa and Miller, LLC • Rod Kuharich • Raj Kumar • Penelope Kunter • Melinda Laituri • Lambert Realty • Rich Landreth • Dan Law • Charles Lawler • Katryn Leone • Patricia Locke • Longs Peak Water District • James Luey • Kent Mace • Laura Makar • Steve Malers • Deborah Margolis • Zach Margolis • Timothy Martin • Martin and Wood Water Consultants • Donald Martinusen • Ren Martyn • George Maxey • Bryan McCarty • McCarty Land and Water Valuation • John McCutchan • Gerald McDaniel • Charles McKay • Julie McKenna • Patricia Meakins • Mike Mechau • Joe Meigs • Mesa County • Minion Hydrologic • Joy Minke • Erin Minks • Harold Miskel • Diane Mitsch Bush • Larry Morgan • David Nelson • Peter Nichols • David Nickum • Norton Appraisal Services, Inc. • Northwest Colorado Council of Governments • Michael O’Grady • David & Linda Overlin • Bill Owens • Dick Parachini • William & Donna Patterson • Jack Perrin • Connie Peterson • John Pfannenstein • J. T. Pickarts • Pikes Peak Library–Acquisitions • Pitkin County • Allison Plute • Jim Pokrandt • Peter Pollock • PS Systems, Inc. • Realtors Land Institute–Colorado Chapter • John Redifer • Gene Reetz • Chris Reichard • David Reinertsen • Mel Rettig • Rachel Richards • Frank Riggle • Vicki Ripp • Ellen Roberts • Kathy Rosenkrans • Round Mountain Water and Sanitation District • Ana Ruiz • George Saum • Sue Schafer • Wayne Schieldt • Carla Schnitker • Donald Schwindt • Alyson Scott • Security Title Guaranty Co. • Stephen Seltzer • Mary Ann Seltzer • Karla Shriver • Bert Sibley • George Sibley • Kevin Sjursen • Del Smith • MaryLou Smith • Travis Smith • Zach Smith • South Canon Ditch Company • Laurel Stadjuhar • Faith Sternlieb • David Stiller • Gordon Stonington • Brian Sullivan • Summit Global Management • Jim Taylor • Peter L Taylor • Andrew Todd • Mick Todd • Town of Breckenridge–Water Division • Town of Firestone • Town of Windsor • Chris Treese • Carl Trick • Tri-County Water Conservancy District • Trout Unlimited • TST Infrastructure, LLC • Turkey Creek Conservation District • Seth Turner • TZA Water Engineers, Inc. • Margaret Ulrich-Nims • Upper Thompson Sanitation District • Paul van der Heijde • Steve Vanderleest • Wayne Vanderschuere • Cindy Vassios • Hayes Veeneman • Tom Verquer • Richard Vidmar • Jodi Villa • Von Trotha-Firestien Farm • Marc Waage • Shelley Walchak • Chuck Wanner • Russell Waring • Water Center at Colorado Mesa University • Christel Webb • Weld County Commissioners Office • Weld County Underground Water Users Assn. • Michael Welsh • Brian Werner • West Greeley Conservation District • Western State Colorado University–Colorado Water Workshop • Western Union • WestWater Engineering • Richard White • Sandy White • John Wiener • Jody Williams • Jim Willson • Troy Wineland • Geoff Withers • Fred Wolf • Connie Woodhouse • Kristina Wynne • Edith Zagona • Margot Zallen Headwaters | Winter 2014

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Publication of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s Headwaters magazine is made possible by the generous support of sponsors and advertisers. We would like to extend our appreciation and thanks to the following sponsors for contributing financially to this issue of Headwaters:

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Headwaters Winter 2014: Water Education and Engagement  

Read about the many water education and engagement efforts across Colorado. Find out what's challenging for water educators and gain inspiri...

Headwaters Winter 2014: Water Education and Engagement  

Read about the many water education and engagement efforts across Colorado. Find out what's challenging for water educators and gain inspiri...