girl with painting

The Wellspring Project is a 4-day river and art program for middle school students that addresses the complexities of the Colorado River and provides students with the opportunity to respond artistically to that experience. 

RiversEdge West believes that experiences on the river and education surrounding these places should be accessible to all. We raise funds so that the Wellspring Project can remain free to students.

Program Details


What: A field studying, rafting, art-making summer adventure
When: June 24-27, 2024
Who: Middle School students *must be entering 6th grade or entering 7th grade*
Where: The Gunnison and Colorado Rivers and field locations across the Grand Valley
Cost: FREE

Through field experiences across the Grand Valley, a river trip, art projects, and presentations/tours from stakeholders interested in how the Colorado River is allocated and protected, students will engage in a myriad of opportunities to learn more about river health and water use in the West. 

By engaging youth in this project, we hope to build a foundation of heightened awareness and create a wellspring of ideas and conversations that will carry on the important work that will be needed to care for and preserve one of our very foundations of life.

Students from across the Grand Valley are encouraged to apply! In 2023, Wellspring hosted students from 9 different middle schools.

Applications are now closed for Wellspring 2024.



2023 Recap

Over the course of four days, 13 students from nine middle schools engaged in activities aimed at fostering their connection with rivers and the environment.

The week kicked off with lessons on invasive plants and river health. They participated in the restoration process by throwing native seed balls, contributing to the preservation of our natural ecosystems, and explored aquatic life at Connected Lakes. We also had the privilege of visiting an endangered fish hatchery where the students had the opportunity to kiss a fish—an unforgettable moment for all! 

Day 2 of the Wellspring Project brought us to Lobato Farms, where the students learned about the responsible and efficient use of water. To further enrich their understanding of our local history, the Palisade Historical Society shared insights into the evolution of irrigation practices, illuminating the role of water in the Grand Valley’s development. Then, the students actively contributed to their community by participating in a cleanup at Clifton Nature Park. The day concluded at the Ute Water Treatment Plant, where students learned about water treatment processes and conservation efforts. 

Day 3 was an immersion into the world of art, where the students expressed their creativity by repurposing trash into sculptures inspired by their imaginations and the Colorado River.

On our final day, we embarked on an adventure down the Colorado River, giving the students an up-close and personal experience of the water source they had learned about throughout the week. This immersive journey served as the perfect culmination of their educational exploration, solidifying their bond with rivers, and leaving a lasting impression on their young minds.

Watch the 2023 video here.


Applications due by May 17, 2024

Selected applicants will be notified by May 27, 2024.

Deadline for applicants to confirm their space is June 7, 2024.

For more information:

Email Nicole Cook at



Funders and Supporters 

Supported by:

The Wellspring Project is coordinated by RiversEdge West, with support from the City of Fruita Parks & Recreation, City of Fruita Arts and Culture Board, Banjo Cat LLC., TJ Smith, Ute Water, Lobato Farms, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Palisade Historical Society, EUREKA! McConnell Science Museum, the Hot Tomato, and local volunteers. 

Funded by:

Funding is provided by RiversEdge West, the Western Colorado Community Foundation, Alpine Bank, the Fruita Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Grand Junction, Horizon Sunrise Rotary Club, Colorado Riverfront Foundation, and Chevron.

girl rowing raft

Invest in the Next Generation

Become a Wellspring Donor:

We are looking for additional sponsors for this program! Are you interested in supporting the Wellspring Project?