IB students clean-up Fravert Reservoir

International Baccalaureate students aim to return Fravert Reservoir to its former glory
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Four Rifle High School students organized a day of cleaning to help restore the reservoir as a part of their project for the program.

The Fravert Reservoir is both a special place and a neglected place. While it’s a popular spot for the community to go running, shooting and birdwatching, it’s also a spot that’s been subjected to littering and illegal dumping. Bearing witness to this combination of appreciation and abuse during their time at Rifle High School, seniors Jocelyn Abbott, Karisa Coombs, Katelyn Mentink, and Lily McCann-Klausz have taken it upon themselves to help reconcile the disconnect. 

As a part IB studentsof their CAS project for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, the students have incorporated creativity, activity and service (CAS) into a day of cleaning that they hope will spark positive change around the reservoir and throughout the community. These environmental stewards have a shared goal of giving back to the place that’s given them and their peers so much over the years.

Erin Wenal, coordinator of the IB program, says the project rallies a lot of community support because it's a long-standing problem that concerns a wide range of people who use the land. “The need for a clean up is clear and it’s important for our high school students to feel connected to the community by giving back to those who support them,” says Wenal. “It’s great for Rifle to see that young people care about their hometown and the people living there. By making it an event, there is some socialization and fun infused with the community service.”

The reservoir clean-up all started when Abbott came up with the idea for the project one day at school. “I came back from lunch at the reservoir, ran inside and told everyone that I knew exactly what we should do,” says Abbott. 

Coombs was on board from the start because she had been noticing all the trash at the reservoir for years while running for the cross-country team. The group knew they were on the right track because their idea met all three requirements of CAS. They designed and created the flyers, got their peers involved in the clean-up activity and served the community by doing so.

Rez clean up

“I’m just hoping this will bring more attention to the reservoir because everybody goes out there but everybody leaves it a mess,” says Coombs. “I’m hoping if people see what a mess it is, they’ll be more encouraged to keep it clean. It’s also about promoting understanding and knowledge about what’s in our community.” 

Mentink says the project could spread awareness to other areas as well. “If we bring attention to this, maybe it will make people more aware of trash in other areas and they will be more open-minded about cleaning up after themselves and others,” says Mentink.

The student organizers intend to make their event an annual occurrence. “We're hoping some of the juniors can carry it on next year and so on because we would like to keep this going,” says McCann-Klausz. “If we finished the reservoir, maybe we could come back and clean up the hill down by the school.” 

Speaking of the future, all four students have ambitious plans. rez 3

Each student comes out of the IB program with a wide worldview and readiness to solve societal problems. Abbott would like to pursue a career in psychological therapy while Coombs wants to go into physical therapy. Mentink is interested in early childhood education and childhood development. As for McCann-Klausz, she plans to study art as she continues to spread awareness for different causes.

Organizing this project at the reservoir surely isn’t their first or last act of service to the community, but it is one that will stick with them far into their academic and career journeys. “It feels good to do something so important,” says McCann-Klausz. “We’re doing something that is important to a lot of people and important to our community. I think that's just personally resonating with me and probably all of us.”

Wenal says the students meet the requirements for CAS in a variety of ways. “Awareness of local issues and the need for cleaning was just the beginning,” says Wenal. “The students took the initiative and worked together to plan and carry out a clean-up day that included close to 100 volunteers. This was a group effort and used the skills and talents of all the young women involved.”

Organizers statement to the community:
“Thank you to everyone who participated in the first annual Rez-toration cleanup! With your help, we picked up over 1500 pounds of trash. We appreciate all of you and hope to see you again next year!
Thank you,
Jocelyn Abbott, Karisa Coombs, Lily McCann-Klausz, and Katelyn Mentink"


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