The Nature Connection is the hub of outdoor recreation and education for Delta County and Olathe, supported by the Delta County School District. Our project began in 2018 and is also supported by Great Outdoors Colorado and the Generation Wild Initiative.

Our Mission:

  • Breaking down barriers through access to outdoor gear that is often prohibitively expensive
  • Providing programs in schools that get kids active and moving and building confidence to explore on their own
  • Empowering families with programs throughout the year so they can to weave a love for the outdoors into the fabric of their lives

Our Vision:

Kids & families trust The Nature Connection to provide high-quality, ongoing, school-based and summer programs that develop outdoor skills, a curiosity for nature and a love for exploring the “best backyard in the world.”

Read more about our 2020 Strategic Plan here.

To achieve our mission, we are developing:

PLACES
Our “place” developments include connecting trails, playground climbing boulders and other recreation opportunities that make it easier for families and children to connect their backyard to the backcountry.
PROGRAMS
We offer school-year and summer “programs” that get children out into nature, onto cross country ski trails,  and onto mountain bikes across the Western Slope. Each program is designed to inspire a lifelong connection to the outdoors.
PATHWAYS
Our “pathways” are job and internship opportunities that connect young adults with active, sustainable livelihoods in our community. We offer work in our summer camps and trail crews, with small farms and local outdoor industry partners.

What do we do?

  • K-12 school year programs that take kids to local public lands to enjoy hands-on science and outdoor experiences
  • Summer Camps in all of our communities focused on providing formative outdoor experiences for ALL children
  • Skis for Kids program offers cross-country ski lending and winter ecology  for local schools and youth groups.
  • Learn to Bike programs at local elementary schools and on mountain bike trails near The Nature Connection building in Hotchkiss.
  • Family Programs like paddle board lending, XC ski lending and more  that help families get outside in all seasons
  • Support schools in building outdoor classrooms and resources for teaching outside
  • Our gear library includes mountain bikes, camping and backpacking equipment, kayaks and stand up paddle boards! This equipment is used  in The Nature Connection camps and offered to teachers for outdoor programs year-round.
  • We host youth camps, jobs and internships throughout Delta County and they are consistently growing.

 

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Students scheduled for a day of cross-country skiing & nature education each winter
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sets of cross-country ski gear borrowed by Delta County School District staff, students & families
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youngsters enjoyed our summer camps & backpacking trips