EcoWeek is a program for 5th graders attending the Poudre School District in the Fort Collins area. Below is the description and goal of the program as stated on the Poudre School District website.
'The central goal of Eco-week is to have students appreciate their environment by observing the natural surroundings. Once the students are aware of their importance in the natural world, they will hopefully begin to do something about preserving and protecting it. Interdisciplinary skills will be emphasized through activities such as nature hikes, team-building projects, water ecology studies, observation skills, creative expression and journaling, geology, astronomy, life zone studies, and more.
This will be a time of challenge and personal growth for your child. We believe that Eco-week is a unique time for building self-confidence in this transitional year before middle school.'
This program has been ongoing for 45 years.
The desired program, is a 3-day, 2-night overnight experience. However, schools with less resources can opt for a reduced one night experience. Schools with more significantly limited funding, opt for a same day field trip without the opportunity to spend one overnight at the Colorado State University Mountain Campus.
The Poudre School District ensures that all children will have an EcoWeek experience, but due to lack of funding, cannot provide an equitable experience for all children.
The children who receive only the day trip, miss out on many of the outdoor, educational and resiliency based activities. I believe that providing a student the designed program of at least one night at the mountain campus would allow that student to have a richer experience and better provide the intended benefits of EcoWeek.
Our club's goal is to provide a 'scholarship' to allow students from one school to improve the experience from a day trip to an overnight program. Our vision is to pioneer this program and attract additional benefactors in the future from local business and non profit organizations so that we can provide all 5th graders with at least a one night overnight experience instead of a less impactful day trip.
We would add a service component to the scholarship by having the Rotarians provide a 'send off' breakfast at the school for the departing 5th graders on the outbound day of their EcoWeek trip. This would allow Rotarians to interact with the children and hopefully be inspired to enlarge the program in future years. We would also ask for testimonials from the children and parents to encourage participation in our scholarship program in future years.
The difference between a same day and a one night, overnight trip is approximately $100 per student. Smaller schools have between 30 and 45 5th graders. We have at least one club member that has offered to provide additional contributions if we receive the district matching grant. With the matching grant we can sponsor a school either in the Spring or Fall of 2023.