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Students at Longmont’s Westview Middle School Build Fishing Line Collection Tubes at Lagerman Reservoir

March 20, 2019
Westview Middle School eighth-graders Riley Tengwall and Victoria Cordova hold a cedar post while a hole was being dug for it Tuesday at Lagerman Reservoir.

Fishing enthusiasts at Lagerman Reservoir near Longmont now can dispose of hooks and lines in handy collection tubes thanks to the efforts of about 50 Westview Middle School students.

Tuesday afternoon, students from the Longmont school circled the reservoir picking up trash and helping install three of the PVC tubes they built.

“We are trying to reduce waste,” said seventh-grader Jade Seamons. “We don’t want the fish to get strangled by fishing line. A lot of dogs and people walk around these lakes. The dogs are very curious. They could get tangled.”

The students are in two STEM classes at Westview, taught by science teachers Jayme Margolin-Sneider and Jason Helmus.

Darrin Cole, a member of the Parks and Open Space grounds crew, helped the students attach the tubes to cedar posts and dig postholes for them in three high traffic areas around the reservoir.

He taught them how to use a level and use various tools to dig and tamp down the soil, as well as helping them take measurements.

While the installation was more difficult than she expected, seventh-grader Jordan Johnson said, “it’s fun knowing you’re actually doing something to help.”

The project was created in the fall by Margolin-Sneider, who needed a conservation-themed class project as part of her work as a National Geographic teacher ambassador.

She said her class initially focused on how to improve Pella Crossing Open Space, which is near their school and was damaged in the September 2013 floods. They settled on reducing plastic pollution, including fishing line.

“The environment is where we live, so we have to take care of it,” said eighth-grader Riley Tengwall.

Margolin-Sneider partnered with Boulder County Parks and Open Space, funding the project with grants from the Parks and Open Space Foundation and National Geographic.

Students previously installed the collection tubes at Pella Crossing and are planning to install more at Walden Ponds east of Boulder and Stearns Lake in southeast Boulder County.

“It’s been a big success at Pella,” said Deborah Price, Boulder County natural history program specialist. “It’s keeping the property nice and clean.”

She said the county collects the fishing line and mails it to a company that turns the old line into fish habitat structures and other products.

“What the students are doing is a great gift to the community,” she said.

Along with researching the issue, making the collection tubes and designing stickers for the tubes that explain the project, students are mapping the trash left at the open space sites to study the effectiveness of the tubes.

“The students did everything,” Margolin-Sneider said.

Amy Bounds: 303-473-1341, boundsa@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/boundsa