Case Study: Keep It Clean Denver

The Keep It Clean-Neighborhood Environmental Trios (KIC-NET) program is a collaborative partnership that benefits the Denver community by improving water quality by offering educational opportunities and spotlighting community recreation resources.

In cooperation with Denver Public Works’ Keep it Clean initiative, Earth Force develops curriculum and training for facilitation of local urban water education by creating outdoor service learning classrooms for Denver youth. The two-year KIC-NET pilot (2012- 2014) program aims to reach 750 youth in stewardship of the South Platte River watershed through service-learning emphasizing urban water ecosystems and pollution prevention.

The Neighborhood Environmental Trios consist of targeted sites around the city where a school, park and body of water are all within a five minute walk.

Participating trios include:

We are the solution
Residents are the solution to water pollution in Denver, where storm drains empty directly into the Platte river. KIC educational programs target students and youth as leaders within their communities by building their capacity to identify water quality issues in their community and take steps to solve those problems.

Outdoor Education
Utilizing KIC-NET tools and strategies, students learn concepts and processes while benefiting their community. This sustainable education model consists of site-specific toolkits with content aligned to curriculum standards and national guidelines. KIC-NET also facilitates professional development trainings for educators and partners.

KIC-NET helps students gain:
• knowledge of science and math
• ability to connect history with current issues
• understanding of environmental issues
• sense of responsibility and leadership
• problem solving and civic action skills

KIC-NET helps educators gain confidence in:
• environmental content
• use of hands-on strategies for teaching
• engagement of community partners
• guiding inquiry-based projects

A Model for Collaboration
Through collaboration with multiple agencies, KIC-NET is able to highlight community resources that contribute to long-term benefits for Denver residents. The program aims to improve recreation center and park utilization and stewardship by connecting neighborhoods to their local parks and waterways.

KIC-NET demonstrates that government agencies can increase their effectiveness and capacity by working with non-profits on educational outreach. By collaborating with community groups, government agencies have an opportunity to expand their scope and promote their services. Furthermore, by encouraging responsible citizen behavior, government agencies save costs and resources in the long-term.