GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) has launched an exciting effort to take local high school students on educational river adventures on the Colorado River. The ‘Catalpa Property’, recently leased to CCA, is a large private parcel along the Ruby-Horsethief section of the Colorado River directly adjacent to the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area (NCA). CCA is working with community supporters to build a science and adventure river camp there, offering opportunities for local students to learn about river rafting, outdoor exploration, and the natural world.
“Beginning in spring 2018, this project will provide an exciting new resource to students, both during the school year and throughout the summer,” said Joe Neuhof, Executive Director of CCA, “In addition to the programs, we are working with Colorado Mesa University to provide an outdoor laboratory for students in the environmental science program.”
Funding for this project is made possible by the “2017 Catalpa Founding Sponsors” including: Palladium Foundation, Western Colorado Community Foundation Dave & Mary Wood Fund, The Jouflas Family Foundation, Grand Junction Subaru, Chevron, Morris & Tonsfeldt CPAs, Carlson Vineyards, Lowes and FCI Constructors, Inc. These founding sponsors will be honored this fall with a plaque on the property celebrating the over $75,000 they have contributed to the project.
Founding sponsor Dr. Pete Jouflas shares, “The Chris and Connie Jouflas family is very happy to be a founding sponsor of the CCA Catalpa project. The Catalpa property was a part of our winter range providing a sustainable resource for our sheep as well as a teaching ground for the appreciation of nature’s beauty and the foundation of a solid work ethic for my siblings and myself. We are very excited that this property will continue to be a learning instrument for children of all ages for many years to come.”
Phase I of the project began in the fall of 2016 and is nearly complete. It included several large-scale weed mitigation projects in collaboration with the Western Colorado Conservation Corps, the creation of a river raft landing area with support from CCA volunteers and development of an overall restoration strategy with CMU Environmental Science majors’ final “Capstone Project”.
“Outdoor educational experiences like this are critical for our youth. We have supported CCA’s outdoor education programs for the past 5 years and are excited to be a part of the Catalpa Project,” says Ron Bubar, owner of Grand Junction Subaru.
Phase II begins this fall with CCA’s Education Committee working to develop the curriculum and plan overnight educational field trips beginning in spring 2018.
"This project is exceptional because of the collaboration of so many community partners to expand the educational opportunities for the region's youth," said Cary Baird, Chevron field representative for Colorado. "We expect this project to have a powerful impact over time."
For more information about the Catalpa Project and to see a complete list of activities and sponsors, go to: https://www.coloradocanyonsassociation.org/the-catalpa-project/