Steamboat Springs She lives in an expensive real estate market, but Steamboat Springs High School junior Meghan Hanrahan found a way to purchase land.
She bought in Costa Rica.
Hanrahan, 17, is president of the high school's Rotary Interact Club, a local chapter of an international entity that has about 200,000 members in 110 countries around the globe.
"We are a high school version of Rotary International," Hanrahan said. "We do service projects for the community and also internationally."
The Steamboat Springs Rotary Club sponsored the creation of a Rotary Interact Club at the high school last fall. The Interact Club held its first meeting in October 2007 and received its official charter Monday from Rotary District Governor Nancy Pettus of Jackson Hole, Wyo. The Interact Club includes about 30 students, Hanrahan said, and is planning a trip to Carpenter Ranch outside Hayden this spring to help paint a barn and conduct an early-morning bird survey.
The club also owns 5 acres of rain forest in Costa Rica, purchased for $50 an acre.
"We did tree sales with the Lions Club, we did bake sales, and we also sold roses on Valentine's Day and delivered them," Hanrahan said of fundraising for the project, which will protect the land from ravaging by tree harvesters and preserve habitat for wildlife.
"We're going to keep it as an annual project and probably buy 2 to 4 acres every semester," Hanrahan said. "We kind of wanted to start small - we're also thinking about sponsoring a child in a Third World country."
Rotarian Holly Larson coordinates the Interact Club.
"Interact offers students the opportunity to develop leadership skills and helps them to develop tools and skills necessary to become responsible, productive members of society," she said.
Students Matt McIntosh, Meghan Lukens and Hannah Ogden also are officers in the club.
Hanrahan said the Interact Club fits perfectly with her future goals.
"I'm in EPYCS (El Pomar Youth in Community Service) and Culture Club and I help out with Comunidad Integrada," said Hanrahan, an avid photographer who hopes to one day travel to Africa and the ancient Pompeii site in Italy. "I want to take this beyond college and I want to work with nonprofits : (the club) is all about interacting with our community and our world and doing community service, and that's what I really want to do."