Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Water Education Colorado (WEco) is the leading organization for informing and engaging Coloradans on water issues. In June 2018, WEco launched Fresh Water News, a news initiative providing in-depth, non-partisan coverage of water issues across Colorado and the West. The purpose of Fresh Water News is to inform and educate all Coloradans about top water issues so they can make informed decisions about this crucial resource. Since its launch, Fresh Water News has reported weekly on the most important water stories of the year. WEco strives to expand readership in the water community and beyond so that readers turn to Fresh Water News as their #1 source for Colorado water news. Fresh Water News reporting is provided via a weekly email news report, the WEco website, and via other news media organizations who choose to carry it, helping to fill critical reporting gaps for local news outlets across the state.
Fresh Water News is read online by thousands of individuals, and subscribers to the weekly e-news report continue to grow.
Fresh Water News stories have been carried by news media outlets across the state, including the Sterling Journal Advocate, Longmont Times Call, Loveland Reporter Herald, Boulder Daily Camera, Colorado Springs Gazette, and more, reaching hundreds of thousands of additional readers.
"I very much enjoyed your well researched and interesting article on the San Luis Valley Water and the RWR. I am an appraiser (real estate) in all counties of the San Luis Valley, and was also a homeowner. Just wanted to let you know that I very much appreciated the piece and I hope you will write about more in that area, soon."
- Sharon Edwards, Colorado Springs and Fort Garland
"Thank you for keeping me informed!"
- Nancy Stocker
"We are a weekly, local newspaper based in Westcliffe, Custer County. Would like permission to reprint your excellent article, 'Denver developer, former governor make $118M Play for San Luis Valley Water.' Custer County is currently having a huge debate over this similar issue. This informative article would greatly add to the discussion."
- George Gramlich, managing editor, The Sangre de Cristo Sentinel
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
Through a rich mix of timely reporting, in-depth publications, public resources and online conversations, Water Education Colorado is the place people come to learn about water in Colorado. Publications include Headwaters magazine, Citizen's Guides.
Covering water issues around the state with compelling, impartial reporting and rich storytelling, Headwaters magazine is Water Education Colorado's flagship publication. By providing timely, accessible coverage that considers diverse perspectives and value sets, Headwaters helps advance the dialogue and fosters innovative, collaborative solutions for Colorado's greatest water challenges.
Water Education Colorado's high-quality reference series features nine Citizen's Guides to critical water topics of our time. WEco's Citizen's Guides are used in a variety of personal and educational settings, including workshops, seminars, member events, community programming, and college or high school curriculum.
Our supporters believe in the power of the publications to inform Colorado citizens.
WEco publications are purchased and distributed throughout Colorado and out of state. More people are buying and using the publications to become informed than ever before.
The State of Colorado's water agencies are using issues of Headwaters magazine to educate the public when they hold public meetings, workshops and trainings.
In our 2020 annual survey, 100% of supporters said Citizen's Guides increased their understanding of water to at least some extent, and 100% of supporters said Headwaters increased their understanding of water to at least some extent
Water Education Colorado believes that hands-on, interactive programs are necessary to connect Coloradans with true understanding of our water resources. This year, many of our in-person events have shifted to virtual platforms, but the quality of programming remains the same.
Each year, our fun and informative multi-day tours draw attendees statewide. Water Education Colorado takes lawmakers, water managers, attorneys, engineers and members of the public on a tour of a different river basin in Colorado to learn about the history, water-management practices and challenges of the area. Participants can also take part in extra-curricular activities, such as rafting or fly-fishing, dine at area ranches or open-space parks, and network among peers. In 2022 we plan to tour the Colorado Basin.
Water Education Colorado's mini-tours change each year to expose water professionals, decision-makers, teachers and the interested public to new areas of water use and management. Hop on the bus for an engaging day of exploring, learning and networking, and return home better informed-and with friends and connections. Past mini-tours have included everything from land use and water efficiency to agricultural viability, the bottled beverage industry, and Colorado's vineyards.
Join us at an upcoming event:
- A series of workshops to train water educators
- Urban Water Cycle Tours
- Colorado Basin Tour in June 2022
Look forward to more tours and workshops in the year ahead!
Water Education Colorado tours and workshops attract a variety of water professionals, educators, interested citizens, and elected and appointed officials as participants. The state legislature's Interim Water Resource Review Committee regularly attends the river basin tour. That these high-profile Colorado lawmakers take the time to attend our multi-day events shows us that we are adding value to their experience as legislators and helping them understand water issues in Colorado better than anyone else.
Some testimonials include:
"The tour made me realize that Colorado has such a diverse number of uses of water, and that other states do not deal with the complexity or competition that we do. All the more reason for Water Education Colorado to exist!" -River Basin Tour participant
"I realized that whether or not we agree on how the rivers are used and managed, we all have jobs to do to make sure the use of water is to the best benefit of all involved." - River Basin Tour participant
Making well-informed decisions about water resource issues requires knowledge. The future of water in Colorado is dependent upon this knowledge and the leadership of those who work in water. Water Education Colorado works within the water community to help those who exhibit leadership, and develop these skills in the next generation of professionals.
WEco's Water Leaders Program offers emerging Colorado professionals the opportunity to develop their leadership potential with a focus on water resources issues. The four-month-long program has provided training in conflict resolution, communication and negotiation to 206 participants from across Colorado. The program includes extensive self-assessment, networking and shadowing opportunities, management training and immersion in current water resource conflicts. Participants gain the skills necessary to excel in their profession and spend valuable time networking with other water leaders and alum. The state of Colorado benefits by equipping the leaders of tomorrow with the tools needed to solve our state's water challenges.
WEco's Water Fluency program is a professional development program designed for elected officials, community and business leaders, and professionals interested in water. The course immerses participants in the language and concepts of water and provides tools for navigating the culture, complexity and future of water management and policy issues. Participants leave equipped with relevant knowledge and a new network of peers to create lasting, positive change in their communities. The Water Fluency program currently has 236 graduates, and an eighth class we be held over summer/fall 2022.
In addition, each year WEco's Board of Trustees solicits nominations for our annual leadership awards. The Diane Hoppe Leadership Award is bestowed on a Coloradan who has developed a body of work in the field of water resources benefiting the Colorado public; has a stellar reputation among peers; is commitment to balanced and accurate information; and generally represents the goals of WEco. The Emerging Leader Award honors work done by a young Colorado professional that has strengthened and improved water education in the state of Colorado. In 2021, WEco honored Mike Preston, former general manager of Dolores Water Conservancy District, with the Diane Hoppe Leadership Award and bestowed the Emerging Leader Award on Kelly Romero-Heaney of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.
Since 2006, 206 participants have graduated from the Water Leaders Program. The program continues to have more applicants than there are spots available. A survey of alumni showed that 95% of alumni were highly pleased with the program and 75% are actively engaged with an alumni network to continue developing their leadership skills, organize professional and social events, promote the program to interested applicants/employers and serve in a mentoring capacity to program participants.
The Water Fluency program has 236 graduates. Graduates report increased understanding of state-level water issues, an increased network of professional leader in Colorado water management, and an increased awareness of the range of stakeholders affected by water issues. Water Fluency alumni also support WEco as members, donors, and participants in other WEco programs.
"The issue of water in Colorado is very complex, and the Water Leaders Program will continue to pay dividends down the road as alumni continue moving into positions of higher leadership. The training and relationships will help us come together to tackle these problems in the future." - A Water Leaders graduate
"This is an amazing program with incredible foresight. While the goal is developing future water leaders, as important are the connections that are created among diverse participants. This connection, along with the feeling of responsibility that comes from the selective process of the program, sets an incredible foundation for conversation and collaboration statewide on the future of water in Colorado." - A Water Leaders graduate
"Whether you need to learn about water rights, production processes or stream health, or looking to become better acquainted with the myriad water organizations throughout the state of Colorado, the Water Fluency class is the place to start." - Michelle Metteer, Town Manager of Minturn, Colorado, 2017 program graduate
WEco's Water Educator Network builds the capacity of local water educators and increases the amount, quality and effectiveness of water education in Colorado. The Network provides educators with technical assistance and trainings, networking opportunities and platforms, customized communications, and a resource directory of proven water education curriculum. Network trainings have covered topics such as water festival planning, equity and inclusion, evaluation, Colorado science standards, and statewide water education strategic goals. Over 80 water educators from across the state are current Network affiliates, and many more attend individual trainings.
In 2022, join WEco for a Water Festival Coordinators Gathering, Water Educator Network Symposium, Project WET workshop, webinars, and more!
Over 80 educators are current affiliates of the Water Educator Network, and over 300 individuals have attended unique trainings. These educators in turn reach hundreds of thousands of teachers, students, and community members. The Network continues to expand its offerings and grow its support base.
"This workshop increased my passion and focus on doing more." - Equity in Water Education Workshop participant
"There is a lot of value in meeting other festival coordinators and discussing different topics and ideas. I appreciate bringing our organizations together to discuss problems and successes." - 2019 Water Festival Coordinators Gathering participant
Membership is a vital part of our success and generates program and operational funds for Water Education Colorado, used to:
- Produce some of the most highly regarded publications on Colorado water that are used by thousands of people each year to better understand our state's water challenges
- Develop young water professionals into better managers and more competent leaders with an improved understanding of the complexities of Colorado water
- Hold statewide workshops that educate teachers, water professionals and elected officials on the issues shaping water policy and management
Members of WEco receive tangible benefits, as well as the knowledge that they are helping the citizens of Colorado make well-informed water decisions.
WEco's membership revenue continues to grow, and members continue to get more engaged. According to a recent membership survey, 98% of members and 95% of supporters rated WEco involvement and support as either Valuable or Very Valuable.