Estes Park Middle School wins Rocky Mountain Environmental Challenge

Friday April 5, 2019 0 comments Tags: Fort Collins, Rocky Mountain Environmental Challenge

FORT COLLINS -- More than 75 Northern Colorado public school students presented plans on how they could reduce their community’s flood risk during the Rocky Mountain Environmental Challenge (RMEC) on April 4.

The RMEC was the culmination of the students’ work throughout the course of the school year to research local flood risks, create real-life solutions, and present a plan to enter into competition with other school districts.

Winners of the competition are awarded money to fund their projects. This year’s winner, Estes Park Middle School, was awarded $1,000 for the project Protecting Estes Park from Wildfires, where they discussed the heightened risk of flooding after wildfires.challenge-inside-photo

“This year was the closest competition that we’ve ever had between the finalists,” said Vince Meldrum, president/CEO of Earth Force. “The biggest takeaway for me is that these young students found a broad spectrum of challenges facing their communities and took the necessary steps to find solutions.”

The RMEC is sponsored by The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Earth Force to improve STEM curriculum with Northern Colorado public school project-based learning.

This was the second year of the competition. This year, the schools that participated were: Estes Park Middle School of Estes Park School District; Blevins Middle School, Compass Community Collaborative School and Webber Middle School of Poudre School District; and High Plains School EC8 of Thompson School District.

Organizers said the competition-style approach helps prepare educators to engage students in real-world problem solving and reward young learners for thinking creatively about how to protect their communities from flooding, America’s most frequent and costly natural hazard.

A panel of judges evaluated the student projects at the Poudre School District Boardroom. The judges represented FEMA, Earth Force, Larimer County Office of Emergency Management, Colorado Resiliency Office, Fort Collins Floodplain Management and the Association of State Floodplain Managers.

“This was a great step toward helping the next generation of students to become active leaders in their communities when it comes to solving challenges that face their neighborhoods,” said Tony Mendes of FEMA Region VIII.