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Telluride High AP environmental Science participates in Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) Meeting.

Here is a brief synopsis of the THS AP Environmental Science class’ observation and participation in the Colorado Water Conservation Board Annual meeting that happened to take place in Telluride this Fall.  This was a valuable experience for the students and provided a unique opportunity for them to observe a part of the political process in a State where water resources can be a huge point of contention.

September 17: CWCB board member April Montgomery met with students at THS to provide an overview of Colorado water law and provide a foundation for the upcoming discussions of House Bill 1248.
September 19: State Deputy Water Engineer Kevin Rein, P.E. held an interactive webinar with students building off of April’s introduction and introducing the concepts of HB 1248.

September 23: Kevin Rein met with students at THS to continue conversation and prepare for mock debate.

September 24: Kevin Rein leads mock debate—which is reframed by AP science teacher Rex Lybrand as more a Socratic discussion rather than formal debate. Students still take pro and con positions as farmers, urban dwellers, and senior water rights holders such as Tri-State, but are allowed to pose questions of Kevin to solidify their points.

September 25: Students attend CWCB board meeting at the Peaks Hotel where they listen to input from various stakeholders. In conclusion, two groups of students stand before the board to pose questions.

Assessment of learning:
After the CWCB meeting, Rex Lybrand assigns students to write a one-page position paper on HB 1248 from the perspective of a stakeholder other than the one they’d been assigned previously for the mock debate. Successful position papers show understanding of the various parties affected by HB 1248 as well as a grasp of the fundamentals of Colorado water law.By writing from a new stakeholder perspective, students infer that there may not be a single “right” answer for complex environmental issues.

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