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 Tuesday, May 11, 2004 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


INSTAAR Faculty, Researchers Deliver New Children's Book to Area Schools
By Allison Sylvest

Faculty, researchers and graduate students from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at CU-Boulder visited several area elementary schools on May 17 to hand deliver copies of a new children's book, My Water Comes from the Mountain, written by CU alum Tiffany Fourment.

Fifty-four elementary schools in Boulder Valley and St. Vrain school districts received copies of the book that describes ecosystems through which snowmelt flows-beginning in the alpine tundra, through Boulder Creek and onto the plains habitats-on its way to becoming the water supply for Boulder Valley.

"INSTAAR is actively involved in outreach," said Diane McKnight, a fellow of INSTAAR and professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering. "We feel it's important to help local children understand the connection between the lives they lead and the alpine tundra."

Fourment began writing the book as a project for a summer field course, Alpine Ecology and Experiential Learning, at the Mountain Research station. The annual course is a K-12 outreach component of the Niwot Ridge Long-term Ecological Research program, one of a network of 25 different sites conducting long-term ecological research in a broad range of ecosystems.

Fourment completed the book after teaching about the Boulder watershed to third-graders at the Friends School. The children drew pictures illustrating what they had learned, and their artwork is featured as sidebars in the book.

Another LTER book, The Lost Seal, is in the works. It focuses on the harsh environment of McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica, and tells the story of an encounter there with a live seal. McKnight is exploring the possibility of a series of LTER children's books with the book's publisher and the National Science Foundation.

The local publishing company, Roberts Rinehart, will be distributing the book to bookstores, schools and national parks around the country. Distribution is supported by a $15,000 grant from the NSF, which also funds the LTER programs.

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