Tayler Rocha, a River Watch student at Monte Vista, Pictured here with her teacher, Loree Harvey, has gained international recognition for her work on water quality! In 2010, a 6500 acre wildfire scorched the Medano Creek watershed, a premier feature with high public use at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in southern Colorado. She was very concerned about the effects of the fire on the water quality and endangered cutthroat trout populations in the creek, and launched an in-depth study that would span a year. This research was critical in helping the Park understand and manage the watershed after the fire, and gained international recognition at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, PA, where Tayler placed 2nd in her category of Environmental Science, and received a special 1st place award from the Society of Freshwater Science. Tayler’s work was on display at the Park for the summer of 2012, and informed hundreds of thousands of visitors in the understanding of this natural process of renewal in the montane ecosystem preserved within their borders.