Nature Knowledge Days
3rd graders are introduced to our public lands through fun exploration of the natural world and human interactions with it. This half-day event targets 3rd grade history and science standards and is held in the spring at Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and is hosted by Colorado Canyons Association and partnering organizations.
K-3rd Learn to Bike
Designed for elementary students in K-3rd grade, this brand new program (in 2020) helps students build confidence on bikes and teaches stewardship of our trails. Nature Connection staff and volunteers will bring a trailer full of bikes to a participating school and offer instruction to students during PE class.
Skis for Kids
4th graders are introduced to their first cross-country skiing experience on public land. The Nature Connection partners with the United States Forest Service to provide youth with an Every Kid in a Park pass as well as Junior Snow Ranger booklets. Winter wildlife and their adaptations are introduced as well as how to ‘dress like an onion’ while preparing for a day outdoors in the wintertime. At almost 11,000 feet on top of the Grand Mesa, youth learn to fall and get back up again on xc skis — in return they ‘grow their grit’.
National Public Lands Day
Every Kid in a Park celebrates National Public Lands Day with the U.S. Forest Service at Lost Lake on the Gunnison National Forest. Students build bird boxes, hang with Smokey, learn about geology, wilderness, forestry, how to use a compass and discover the forest on an exploratory hike.
Conservation Days is an outdoor experience for all 4th graders with our partner Western Slope Conservation Center and others at the Paonia River Park.
Explore Your Park
Colorado Parks and Wildlife hosts field trips to Sweitzer Lake State Park or Crawford State Park in the spring or fall. Students experience canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, archery and fishing at their local reservoir.
Cottonwood Days is a field trip event for 6th graders across the Western Slope to learn about the vital waterways that shape our landscape. Students learn to tie flies, handle native fish, collect invertebrates, and much more in this seriously fun event targeting art, history, and science standards. Hosted by the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Canyons Association and other partnering organizations.
Winter Ecology Days
Winter Ecology Days is a day-long event cross-country skiing on the Grand Mesa National Forest. Lessons are taught by professionals from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the United States Forest Service and educators from The Nature Connection. The day relates to science standards with hands-on watershed and snow studies, avalanche safety basics, plus winter ecology topics. Following a pre-trip classroom discussion, students are provided with a second opportunity beyond 4th grade to learn and ski in the winter as a school-based program through The Nature Connection.
Escalante Field Experience
Students will understand the deep natural history of Escalante Canyon by following dinosaur tracks and learning how wildlife biologists study animals. This educational experience is targeted at 7th grade history and science standards and is hosted by Colorado Canyons Association and partnering organizations.
Solar Energy International provides a hands-on outdoor solar lab experience targeting topics on energy conservation & human impact on the environment. Students will become excited to learn how to capture the energy of the sun!
Youth Outdoor Network
Students in all four grant area high schools are provided the opportunity to learn about careers in the outdoors. In the past, students have participated in stewardship projects with the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Colorado Canyons Association and Western Slope Conservation Center. Jobs and internships are available through The Nature Connection each summer. We help partner organizations recruit high school students for other outdoor positions throughout the county.
Students 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.
Mountain Bike Clubs and Teams
Stay tuned to learn more about the High School Mountain Bike Clubs and Teams.
Programs for All Ages
SKI FIELD TRIP
BIKE FIELD TRIP