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Community Small Grants

AirWaterGas is administering two years of small community grants for K-12 and community-led projects that improve awareness of sustainable pathways for energy development. These projects seek to improve understanding of the risks and benefits of oil and gas development as they pertain to air quality, water quality and quantity, economic effects, or other factors. The second and final round of funding is complete, but learn about our projects below.

2015-2016 Grant Awardees

Trinidad Water Festival
Recipient: The Culebra Range Community Coalition
Trinidad, Colorado
The Culebra Range Community Coalition will host the fifth annual Trinidad Community Water Festival this spring. The event involves the entire K-12 student population of Las Animas County (about 2,000 students) at the Trinidad State Junior College. The AirWaterGas Community Small grant will contribute to developing new programs for the water festival and preceding classroom visits to engage students in assessing benefits and tradeoffs of local natural gas development in collaboration with local oil and gas industry partners.

Expansion of High Altitude Air Quality Monitoring: Collection and Analysis of Ozone Trends as Related to Elevation and Population Density
Recipient: Soaring Eagle Ecology Center
Red Feather Lakes and Livermore, Colorado
The Soaring Eagle Ecology Center (SEEC) in Red Feather Lakes and Livermore has received a second year of funding to continue a citizen science project monitoring air quality at various elevations (5,000 feet to over 9,000 feet) and population densities. SEEC will continue to teach elementary school air quality programs, and begin collaborating with science teachers and students at Wellington Middle School to develop air quality inquiry projects and math classes at Preston Middle School to assist SEEC with its ongoing air quality monitoring  and data analysis. Wellington has a history of older oil and gas development/wells and there is interest in seeing what the air quality data on ozone and volatile organic compounds reveal.

Well Watch Project
Recipient: The Poudre Learning Center
Greeley, Colorado
The Well Watch project has received a second round of funding for programming in which participants and K-12 students monitor groundwater samples and learn about the science of groundwater. Through workshops and ongoing sampling, the project aims to help teachers and students understand the importance of groundwater resources, how they are used and replenished and how they can potentially be contaminated. The grantees will continue to work with researchers to develop curricular and teacher training content on the potential impacts of oil and gas development on groundwater quality.

WESTern Air Quality: Citizen Science in STEM Programs on Colorado’s Western Slope
Recipient: West Middle School
Grand Junction, Colorado
Students in Grand Junction – at West Middle School, Central High School and participants of the Math Engineering Science Achievement (M.E.S.A) program  – will build upon existing air quality monitoring programs with the assistance of the Air Quality InQuiry (AQIQ) monitoring equipment and curriculum that is offered as part of the AirWaterGas education and outreach team efforts. Students will develop emission-reducing air pollution inventions and participate in the local eco-engineering competition with the support and mentoring of AirWaterGas researchers.

Energy Awareness Initiative
Recipient: The Western Slope Conservation Center
Paonia, Colorado
The North Fork Valley of the Gunnison River is currently under consideration for expanded oil and gas development, and Delta County residents’ attitudes are split about the benefits and tradeoffs of increased development. The Western Slope Conservation Center in Paonia, Colo., will host a series of events to explore and understand the implications and impacts of energy development for diverse audiences in Delta County. The organization will continue to build upon citizen science efforts and mapping resources for community members.

2014-2015 Grant Awardees

Baseline Air Quality Monitoring
Recipient: Pagosa Springs High School
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
To complement existing science curriculum on water quality monitoring and riverbed stability, Pagosa Springs High global science students will use air quality monitors to investigate the air quality impacts of energy use. Download the successful Pagosa High School Project Proposal here.

High Altitude Air Quality Monitoring
Recipient: Soaring Eagle Ecology Center (SEEC)
Red Feather Lakes and Livermore, Colorado
With guidance from the AirWaterGas project faculty and students, Red Feather Lakes and Livermore residents and students will expand their citizen science air quality monitoring project at various elevations (7,000-8,400 feet) and construct elementary school curriculum that explores air quality and basic geology related to oil and gas development. Summertime airflow patterns combined with plenty of strong sunlight and emissions from urban sources and energy development can result in peak ozone measurements in mountain communities. Download the successful SEEC Project Proposal here.

South Park Preliminary Baseline Air Quality Study
Recipient: The Coalition for the Upper South Platte
Lake George, Colorado
In partnership with the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, South Park High School, Park County, and the South Park National Heritage Area, this project will develop project-based learning curriculum for high school science classes and will use U-Pod air-quality monitors in various locations to assess current air quality and establish baseline air quality data in Park County where no air quality monitors currently exist. This air quality study will complement a baseline water quality study completed by the coalition in 2011 to address plans for further oil and gas development in the region.

Well Watch Project
Recipient: Poudre Learning Center
Greeley, Colorado
The project drills groundwater quality monitoring wells at K-12 schools in Weld County to teach students about the science of groundwater. Through workshops and ongoing sampling, the project aims to help teachers and students understand the importance of groundwater, how it is replenished, and how it can be contaminated. Well Watch will work with AirWaterGas researchers to add content on the potential impacts of oil and gas development on groundwater quality to their curriculum and teacher workshops.

Air, Water, Energy: Southwest Colorado
Recipient: Mountain Studies Institute
Silverton and Durango, Colorado
The Mountain Studies Institute will administer an outreach discussion series in Southwest Colorado connecting relevant research on the water-energy nexus with local communities. The outreach series aims to reach the communities of Telluride, Pagosa Springs, Durango, Silverton, Vallecito and Ignacio. In addition, the project will update an informational booklet about air quality standards and monitoring capacity in the San Juan region in light of new air quality regulations.

Utilizing U-POD Technology to Emphasize STEM in Poudre School District
Recipient: City of Fort Collins Utilities
Fort Collins, Colorado
The Utilities education team will incorporate the U-POD air quality monitoring technology into their existing energy labs for 6th and 8th grade students, who will use the technology to explore connections between greenhouse gas emissions and local emission sources. Fort Collins high school students will also be able to check out U-PODS to investigate local air quality issues. Download the successful Fort Collins Project Proposal here.