River Watch Group Profiles

Cheyenne Creek Conservation Club

Cheyenne Creek Conservation Club is an after school citizen science and environmental stewardship program created for students in grades 7 & 8 at Cheyenne Mountain Junior High.  This program is sponsored by David Eick. Originally developed in 1996 for 5th and 6th graders at Canon Elementary School, which is right on the banks of the creek, the program moved with the teacher who started it as he took a Science position at the secondary level seven years ago.  About 400 students have been participants in the club over the years.  They have participated in sampling each month for the basic parameters, collecting macroinvertebrates, cleaning up trash, planting trees after a local wildfire, and stenciling storm drains to help raise local awareness about pollution and stormwater runoff.


The club, which currently consists of 20 students chosen by application each fall, hosts its own intensive Riverwatch processes and procedure bare bones training each fall, and has collected over 300 samples from Cheyenne Creek over the years. The club is an offshoot of a longstanding tradition and love for the local environment in our community.  The current site of Canon Preschool, where the club meets and collects samples, was once a nature preserve where students from the original Cheyenne School studied botany and ecology, and teachers made use of the natural outdoor setting along the creek as a means to further education in all disciplines. 


The Club has been recognized as the 2009 Excellence in Environmental Education Winner by the CAEE, and has been given grants by the Green Education Foundation, Walmart, the Cheyenne Creek Water Board and Trout Unlimited over the years, but is also primarily supported by annual fees paid by parents.


Mountain Studies Institute

Mountain Studies Institute provides community driven science that people can use, and River Watch’s citizen science water quality monitoring program is a perfect partner in this goal. River Watch offers our community a way to understand our watershed health by providing unique and valuable data, but also gives people a chance to get involved. We have had numerous students from Fort Lewis College and local high schools join River Watch sampling to gain experience while giving back.

The 416 wildfire had a big impact on water quality and is what prompted MSI to start monthly sampling on Hermosa Creek and Junction Creek, a neighboring watershed. Our community looks to MSI and River Watch data for information about water quality in the face of wildfire impacts, acid mine drainage, and for baseline monitoring for future purposes.

Lesher Middle School

Ben Mayer, a teacher at Lesher Middle School, loves the real science applications and educational benefits of River Watch. “It’s difficult to find a more real and important science activity to incorporate into middle school science. River Watch is such a great way to introduce students to science and get them excited!” 

Lesher Middle School samples monthly on Spring Creek in Fort Collins. At the beginning of the school year, Mr. Mayer recruits students with an active interest in science. His advice for new River Watch groups is to recruit and train students early in the year, and allow the students themselves to run the program as the year goes on. The students at Lesher meet on the first Tuesday of every month to collect water, and meet the next day to analyze their samples.

Thank you to Ben Mayer and Lesher Middle School for all of your hard work!

Animas High School

Animas High School teacher Steve Smith loves how easy it is to get involved in River Watch:

“I really appreciate how easy it has been from Day 1 to be a part of this organization and to be collecting meaningful data. Having all of the equipment and training provided makes integrating into this program remarkably easy.”

Animas High School’s sampling site on Lightner Creek in Durango. 

Mr. Smith uses River Watch as a way for his students to apply the skills they learn in the classroom to real, hands-on science. He requires that each of his chemistry students participate in at least one sampling event over the course of the year. The students also have an opportunity for an extra credit lab assignment, allowing them to further research the importance of the data that they and other River Watch volunteers collect.

Thank you to Steve Smith and Animas High School!