On Wednesday, Oct. 7, J.D. Kurz, a global science teacher at Pagosa Springs High School, presented a paper on snow flow (runoff due to snow melt) at the 10th annual Sustaining Colorado Watersheds Conference, where six students from his global science class supported him from the audience.
The focus of the 2015 conference, which was held in Avon, was ensuring long-term sustainability for river health, public education and organizational management.
Kurz thought his instructional unit on snow flow was a perfect fit for the sub-theme of the conference, “keeping water education fresh by using data and audience targeting to create more meaningful educational programs.”
According to Kurz, his instructional unit uses historic stream flow and snow course data to attempt to answer questions about the San Juan River.
The first question addresses whether or not the amount and timing of spring runoff is changing, and the second addresses whether or not the amount and timing of spring runoff can be predicted.
“Students experience the power and limitations of modeling, and learn the important role that Colorado’s snow pack has on the state’s water supply,” Kurz stated.
Kurz is a strong advocate for hands-on education and works to continually incorporate real-world learning opportunities into his classes.