The passion and ingenuity of students was awe-inspiring at Cochrane High's ROAMS Fest.

The grade 10 students of the Rivers, Oceans and Mountains School presented their Explorers Engagement Projects on June 4, first with displays in the school's common area, then to a packed house in the auditorium.

The projects were required to answer three questions.

  • What does a healthy community look like?
  • How can I contribute to a healthy community?
  • Where do my passions, curiosity, and gifts meet the needs of the world (my community)?

Each student/s answered in their own unique way. Here's a few of them.

ZanderZander Mullen constructed a flat-bottomed paddle mainly out of discarded wood.

Zander Mullen was disturbed by the waste wood building in our landfills and combined it with his passion for the outdoors by creating a flat-bottomed paddle largely constructed with waste product.

"A lot of it would have just gone to landfills because the ends were broken or there were holes in it, so I decided to repurpose it. It got me 32km down the Red Deer River, so I'm quite proud of it."

JakobJakob Churchman has launched a fitness channel on YouTube.

For Jakob Chuchman, it was a chance to share shares his passion for fitness.

"I created a fitness website for everyone in the community to access for free with versatile fitness programs in order to help them on their journey to getting in shape and be overall healthier," he explains.

On his YouTube Page R.O.A.M.S. Fitness he leads his viewers through different ways to train for calisthenics, body buildings and strength or flexibility.

"I have an Exercise of the Week where I nominate a certain exercise and movement, explain it and try and encourage and motivate community members to participate in activitities."

You can check out the YouTube Channel here

KaidenKaiden Wilson and Noah White (not pictured) introduced a group of youth to fishing.

Kaiden Wilson and Noah White taught a group of 10 Mitford students over the course of two how to fish and along the way explained Cochrane's ecosystem.

"It was mostly trout fishing, mostly with spinners and we taught a couple of kids how to flyfish."

ClaireClaire Lindquist made a bird bath out of repurposed materials and also created the water collection system for the "Courtyard Comeback" project.

Claire Lindquist created a bird bath out of repurposed materials, plus she created the water collection system for the "Courtyard Comeback" project.

"It's basically rainwater that is collected in barrels and goes through pipes and hoses which goes into a guidance that my classmates made," she says.

The system has a timer to program watering durations. She continues to monitor it.

She says there's reason for all of the students celebrate what they have accomplished this semester.

"I think everyone is really proud of how far they've come because there has been difficulty in staying motivated and overcoming the challenges we've all faced with all of our projects."

A presentation on the Courtyard Comeback kicked off the auditorium presentations. The massive project was lead by Max Becker, Colson Rivett, Barrett Wennekamp and Ayron Davis.

For about 22 1/2 years, a courtyard at Cochrane High has been neglected. The students were determined to clean it up and transform it into an outside classroom space. Thanks to their "Courtyard Comeback" it's now a green space with a wandering pathway, garden boxes and some seating. 

Courtyard cleanupThree of the four students completing the "Courtyard Comeback." Barrett Wennekamp suffered an injury in the rugby zone finals and wasn't available for the photo, but he's pictured below.

comeback 1

comeback 3

"When the students were digging things up, they found a John Lennon memorial from around 1985 and some old bricks and old Pepsi cans from about the same time era," says ROAMS teacher Jander Talen. "In a sense, they were digging up a time capsule."

Hannah Deitz wrote and Indiana Carlyle-Biford illustrated a children's book on experiencing the outdoors in the Cochrane area. It was released at ROAMS Fest and 31 of the limited print of 50 were purchased that night.

They are also arranging for copies to be made available at local schools and possibly the Cochrane Public Library.

"We're not sure how big this could go," says Talen.  "It's really high quality, a beautiful story and a great message so we're hoping we can maybe encourage others to get outside by using this book."

An order is being built for a second printing. Should you wish to purchase one, email 

Ben NatureBen Dunse's campy 50s take on advertising nature is a hoot. 

Ben Dunse created a fun-loving advertisement for nature in his campy b&w "1950's Guide to Getting Outside" video.

You can view it here. You can also check out some of his other videos, including some from ROAMS trips, here.

Talen says the annual evening offers parents a chance to see what their children have been learning. Friends, members of the community, and even some alumni from the program also came.

"It was nice to see students for every year in the past also coming through and engaging and saying, wow, it's so cool what these students are engaging in, what they're taking on and how they're improving projects from the past. Yeah, it's just exciting to hear the positivity from everybody."

"I'm looking forward to see what comes next," says Tander.  "Even students from next year were there, and they're starting to think about what they're going to take on. It's kind of a neat cycle of events." 

ROAMS is a popular one-semester outdoor education academy for grade 10 students at Cochrane High. While developing essential skills for life, they receive credit for ELA10, Social Studies 10, Environmental and Outdoor Education, PE10, CALM, and Photography.  The application process has already been completed for the 2024-25 school year, and like, always it's sold out.

Check out more on ROAMS here.