Sunday, February 26, 2012

Friends of the Cedar River Watershed . . .

Thanks to Crystal for the information that allows me to use the older Blogger interface - it feels much better.

Friday morning at our Rotary meeting the program was a presentation by two Tahoma students Jayaram Ravi and Conner Hammond representing the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed.  I have attended their longer presentation for two years and have been very impressed with their work as were the Rotarians on Friday.

These students represent 13 school districts and 27 cities comprising the Cedar River Watershed.  From that group a youth leadership team of 22 students was formed to produce a series of short videos focused on the health of the watershed and sustainable development in the watershed communities.  The videos are intended for use in classrooms and to inform others in and outside the watershed.  In an effort to inform policy makers, they recently presented to a group of legislators in Olympia. You can read more about the project here on their web page.


The Watershed Report integrates Friends of the Cedar River Watershed’s fourteen-year history of successful project management while significantly amplifying our reach through TV, the internet, the classroom and student-led presentations to local decision-making bodies. The pilot for the 2009 Watershed Report received a private screening before 150 community leaders at the Flagship REI Store on June 29, 2010. On August 17 of that same summer, members of our student team traveled to Ecotrust headquarters in Portland, Oregon, to receive an award for watershed films sponsored by the Whole Watershed Restoration Initiative. The Watershed Report is featured each year on 19 public access channels.

The videos are all student produced and feature the 22 students from the leadership team.  I encourage you to visit the site and view some of them.  They are short, with most of them in the two to three minute range. Below is one of the videos focused on schools, featuring Jayaram discussing our district's curriculum.  As in other areas, we are viewed by many as a leader in preparing young people to experience their environment with the tools necessary to understand and embrace the challenges we face.

The vision behind this work is Peter Donaldson. Even though he is absent from the screen, his passion for supporting youth and teaching us and policy makers to view the environment systemically can be felt in each of the videos.  He is very supportive of our work and has collaborated with us on a number of projects and recently with the city of Maple Valley on a storm water retention curriculum.  We look forward to a continued collaboration as we engage our young people with their community at the local regional, and international level.

Check out the videos, our students play a prominent role.

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