2020 RISE Challenge Colorado Results

We were all affected by it – the COVID 19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020. Our RISE Challenge young people were determined to finish their projects! While the Summit was not able to go forward, proposal judging did. Congratulations to all of our participants!

Thanks to our volunteer judges from the Larimer County League of Women Voters, along with our partners from FEMA Region 8, Association of State Floodplain Managers Foundation, and State Farm. 

1st Place, $1000 winner: Blevins Middle School

Seventh and eighth grade students at Blevins Middle School in Fort Collins, CO, identified a lack of emergency preparedness in their school community as a significant issue for their community. A school survey revealed that a large majority of students and their families lacked family emergency plans nor did they have adequate supplies in the case of a natural hazard emergency. In order to draw attention to this and start their community down the path of preparedness, the Blevins students decided to organize a community awareness event at their school. With support from their teacher, the students communicated with community stakeholders such as their principal, school district administrators, emergency response professionals, and city administrators to learn more about how to organize and coordinate a community awareness event and how to share the best information to Blevins families. As the students say in their proposal, “We love the community that we live in and we want to be able to have a positive impact on it. We asked the question, are we and our Blevins families prepared for a natural disaster? We want to have an informational night that helps educate our families about … how we can be prepared for those emergencies.”

2nd Place, $800 Winner: Estes Park Middle School

Sixth grade students from Estes Park Middle School in Estes Park, CO, identified the risk of wildfire as a significant issue affecting their community. Specifically, these students identified a key feature of the Estes Park landscape, Prospect Mountain, as an area of increased fire risk due to being surrounded by homes, businesses, and utilities. To learn more about this issue the Estes students researched fire behavior, consulted with local professionals from the real estate, fire protection, and town planning fields. Through their research, these students developed a community awareness and grass-roots mitigation campaign to address this risk to their community. The students plan on holding a fire preparedness demonstration at a large annual community event where they will inform attendees of what they can do to prevent fire from spreading through the community. The students also plan on providing fire mitigation services to Estes Park residents this summer. Students will clear fire fuels from properties where owners are unable to do the work on their own. Their ultimate goal is to transform Estes Park into a nationally recognized “Firewise USA” community.

3rd Place, $600 Winner: Mountain Sage Community School

Sixth and seventh graders from Mountain Sage Community School in Fort Collins, CO, identified a risk of an extended entrapment or shelter-in-place for their school in the event of a flood or blizzard. Located in close proximity to the Cache La Poudre River floodplain, the school has an increased risk for inaccessibility due to flooding and/or a blizzard. The Mountain Sage students spoke with a representative from Fort Collins’ Floodplain Management Office, reviewed information and videos about Fort Collins’ flood history, and conducted a preparedness audit of their school. From this research the students decided to develop an emergency preparedness plan for the school and purchase materials needed in the case a blizzard or flood event required the entire school to shelter-in-place for any extended duration. The Mountain Sage students plan to work with their school’s administration to formally adopt their emergency preparedness, purchase additional preparedness materials, and share their plan with other schools in their community.

Fourth Place – Compass Community Collaborative School (Fort Collins) middle and high school students who developed a proposal to organize a community flood awareness and preparedness event at the Poudre Valley Mobile Home Park.

Fifth Place – Knowledge Quest Academy (Milliken) students who created a plan to design and install park shelters and bus stops to keep residents safe during a storm event.

Written by -

Hayley Valley, Earth Force's Communications Manager, joined Earth Force in 2010 and has since held too many roles to count - all drawing on her experience in communicating Earth Force's commitment to environmental action civics. When she’s not knee-deep in Google Docs, you’ll find her chasing her two boys around.

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