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 is to break down the barriers to getting outside for kids and families.

We do this through:

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

Read our 2023 Annual Report!

Annual Report 2023.pdf

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 in our 2020 Strategic Plan here.

To achieve our mission, we are developing:

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.
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.
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.

Examples of what we do:

  • K-12 school year programs that take kids to local public lands to enjoy hands-on science and outdoor experiences
  • Low cost 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 and Confluence Park in Delta.
  • Family Events 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 offer paid jobs for young people in camps, trail crews and internships throughout Delta County.


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