The Nature Connection works closely with incredible partners to bring outdoor learning and experiences to students throughout Delta County and Olathe K-12 Schools.

Over the course of the school year students in Delta County and Olathe will experience:


  • Visiting their local State Park
  • Learning about winter ecology and wildlife
  • Exploring local canyons
  • Riparian work on the Gunnison River
  • The vital waterways that shape our landscape
  • Seeing dinosaur tracks in person
  • Learning the human history of Escalante Canyon
  • Visiting the Grand Mesa National Forest
  • Cross-country skiing
  • How to prepare yourself for winter


  • Learning about snow science and snowpack
  • An introduction to avalanche safety
  • Learning water safety
  • Paddleboarding and kayaking
  • Rafting for a day down the Gunnison River
  • An overnight raft trip
  • How to ‘Leave No Trace’
  • Tying flies for fishing
  • Handling native fish
  • A cabin showing early American settlement in the Escalante Canyon
  • How wildlife biologists study animals

School Based Programs

3rd Grade

Nature Knowledge Days

Nature Knowledge Days introduces students to our public lands through fun exploration of the natural world and human interactions with it. This half-day event targets third grade history and science standards and is held in the spring at the Escalante boat ramp in Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and is hosted by Colorado Canyons Association and partnering organizations.

7th Grade

Escalante Field Experience

Escalante Field Experience is an all-day exploration of the human history of Escalante Canyon and the natural environment. From seeing dinosaur tracks to learning how wildlife biologists study animals, students will understand the deep natural history of Escalante Canyon. Students will also visit pioneer structures along the Gunnison River and up the canyon to the Captain Smith Cabin for a glimpse into early American settlement in the area. This educational experience is targeted at 7th grade history and science standards.

9th-12th Grade

Youth Outdoor Network

Students in all five grant area High Schools are provided with the opportunity to learn about careers in the outdoors. The students participate in stewardship projects with partners such as the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Colorado Canyons Association and Western Slope Conservation Center.

Raft Trips

Students are able to explore the Gunnison Gorge, Escalante Canyon and Ruby Horsethief Canyon on single day or multi day raft trips. These trips happen in the spring and fall and are available for all students participating in their High School’s Youth Outdoor Network.

Cross-country ski day

Our five high schools join together for a winter adventure on their national forest. Students are challenged to ski in different terrain on groomed nordic tracks. They also build their knowledge on avalanche safety from a professional, test the snowpack and understand how interconnected they are to the local landscape.