August 27, 2019

Rocky Mountain Environmental Hazards Challenge (RMEHC)


Rocky Mountain Environmental Hazard Challenge & Summit Information

WHAT is the Rocky Mountain Environmental Hazards Challenge (RMEHC)?

Part competition, part summit, the RMEHC combines project-based learning with the latest research in high-quality STEM education to engage students in action projects that improve their communities.


  • Transforms classrooms by grounding learning in issues students care about to transform classrooms into vibrant learning communities.
  • Deepens learning by asking students to leverage experience, harness internal and external resources, develop a plan, and implement that plan in their community.
  • Builds problem-solving skills by giving students hands-on experience designing and implementing a project in their community.
  • Develops citizenship by supporting students as they engage with community stakeholders to solve a local problem which develops the habits of good citizenship.
  • Develops skills in creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication – the foundation for the 21st century learning – by asking students to work as a team that is engaging members of their local community.

Rocky Mountain Environmental Hazards Challenge Brochure


How It Works

The Rocky Mountain Environmental Hazards Challenge is open to Northern Colorado educators and students, grades 5 – 10. Guided by the Earth Force Community Action & Problem-Solving Process, participants learn about the natural hazards impacting their communities, select an issue to focus on, conduct in-depth research and engage community stakeholders, define a strategy for addressing their natural hazard issue, and present it in an action plan proposal. Submitted written proposals will be reviewed by a panel of local judges. Earth Force will hold a culminating summit for all participants to showcase their work.  Groups with the top proposals will be invited to present to a panel of expert judges at the summit for the chance to win prize money!

  • All proposal entries are eligible to receive funding to help implement proposed projects
  • Awards will be presented to the top 5 winning proposals, determined on summit day as a combined score of the written proposal score and summit day presentation score. Prizes money ranges from $1,000 for 1st place to $200 for 5th Place.
  • Read all about the 2019 RMEHC including the winning projects.


Information for Getting Started

Educator Professional Development: Classroom educators interested in the Rocky Mountain Environmental Hazards Challenge have the opportunity to take part in our professional development opportunities. Earth Force provides participating educators with no-cost, high-quality professional development sessions in our award-winning Community Action & Problem-Solving Process. Our Process offers classroom educators a framework for transforming their Project-Based Learning and useful tools for guiding students through community-based civic action projects. Sign up HERE or contact Justin Zakoren for more information.


Important Dates & Suggested Project Timeline


  1. Educators attend a professional development workshop
  2. Develop a classroom implementation plan

August- December

  1. Work with students to identify environmental hazards in your community
  2. Choose and research key issues
  3. Connect with experts to discover root causes
  4. Decide on one issue to explore
  5. Take advantage of ongoing Professional Development opportunities


  1. Decide on a project to address the chosen issue
  2. Develop proposal for action
  3. In-service workshops available for development support
  4. March 13, 2020 submission deadline


  1. Start implementation of action project
  2. Attend the Rocky Mountain Environmental Challenge Summit (May 7, 2020) with the possibility to win PRIZE money
  3. Celebrate!

Interested in upcoming educator professional development or other opportunities to become involved? Contact Justin Zakoren for more information.


In partnership with:

Earth Force and FEMA Region VIII look forward to expanding the RMEHC to additional Colorado communities in the 2019-2020 school year.

Current participating community floodplain/stormwater management agencies include: