How a San Luis Valley club is helping youth connect to their local environment and impact the future of conservation
A group of 50 or so kids are on a pedestrian bridge that connects the east-west dykes of the Rio Grande River as it flows through Alamosa, Colorado. The kids are standing on the bridge looking south and hearing how the river flows to deliver water into neighboring New Mexico and eventually into Mexico at the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border, just 460 miles away.
It’s nearing the end of summer and the mountains that surround the San Luis Valley are bare of snow. Generally, the mountains of the Valley are snow-capped beginning around November and continue to keep some snow cover through the spring runoff and into the heat of the summer.
By August, though, when the kids from Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley are on their twice-a-week nature walk, the snow has melted completely and the mountains that surround look naked, albeit still inviting.
On this day the youth members of Boys & Girls Clubs are learning how the river that they see every day flows. Standing on the bridge looking south helps them comprehend the river flow, and for the kids who hail from Mexico and have migrated north into the San Luis Valley with their families, the lesson of the Rio Grande River flowing south to deliver water helps them understand that their homeland is not so far away.
That south-central Colorado aids in the delivery of water to the northern border of Mexico also helps the kids understand the connectivity of the Valley’s ecosystem and the Rio Grande River’s importance not just to the agricultural-rich San Luis Valley, but to a broader region of influence.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley, with 400 members, works to help youth understand the environment that surrounds them. The organization pushes on the value of getting kids outdoors and makes an intentional effort to pursue outdoor activities on a weekly basis.
But more than getting its members outdoors to explore and appreciate nature, Boys & Girls Clubs also wants its members to learn and comprehend the many environmental wonders of the San Luis Valley. By appreciating and understanding the natural surroundings of their home, the organization believes that Boys & Girls Clubs members will grow up to be good stewards of the land and, as they move into adulthood, they will support the values of protecting the outdoors and taking care of what Mother Nature has provided.
The kids are fortunate to live in this nature-rich rural area of Colorado. Getting them to appreciate and understand their natural surroundings is key to helping them grow up to be responsible and caring adults, which is what the Boys & Girls Clubs movement is all about.
Colorado Gives Day 2016 is Tuesday, December 6. It is 24 hours starting at 12 a.m. Early giving began November 1st. Please consider The Boys and Girls Club of the San Luis Valley.