The Cottonwood Institute is excited to be one of 10 amazing national organizations nominated for the 2011 Markham Vineyards Mark of Distinction Award and a chance to win $25,000.
The top two organizations with the most votes between August 29 – October 3rd, 2011 will each win $25,000. We need your help by Clicking Here to vote daily and to spread the word through email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media networks. If you would like a reminder sent to your calender, send us an Email.
- Give low-income students from Denver the chance to camp under the stars for the very first time.
- Connect children from military families to the outdoors through survival adventures, while their parents are away from their families serving overseas.
- Help public school students put together projects to address local environmental issues.
Please vote every day between August 29th, 2011 and October 3rd, 2011 by Clicking Here: http://www.markhammarkofdistinction.com
The 2nd Annual Cornhole Throwdown to benefit the Cottonwood Institute wrapped up last Saturday and we are happy to report that it was a success! 30 teams and over 70 spectators battled it out to show their support for the Cottonwood Institute. Despite a minor injury from Board Member Marley Steele-Inama, who developed a minor “cornhole strain” during the event, we were able to raise over $2,700 to help low-income students at West Denver Prep sleep under the stars for the first time in their lives this school year.
The competition was stiff, the sun was shining, and there was a slight breeze out of the Northeast, but in the end, Brian Wass and Aaron Rich from team Boiler Brewers emerged victorious. They earned the honor of displaying the prestigious 2011 Cornhole Throwdown trophy on their desks at work, in addition to sweet backpacks from REI and some serious bragging rights. Paul Keeney and Mike Atkins from team Park Hill Players took a close second and the coveted VIP Hanson tickets at the Fox Theater – Mmm Bop!
If you weren’t able to make it this year, you can still make a huge difference by making a tax-deductible donation by Clicking Here.
To relive the magic of the 2011 Throwdown, check out these stunning photos from the event by Clicking Here.
A special thanks goes our to our friends and sponsors for helping make this such a fun event, including: AOR, Chipotle, Denver Zoo, Fox Theater, REI, Scorzie, Two Knobby Tires, and Wynkoop Brewing Company.
On July 28th, 2011 a small group of students from West Denver Preparatory Charter School joined up with the Cottonwood Institute to participate in our week-long Endangered Wolves and Animal Tracking course held at Mission: Wolf. For a full week students were able to camp together in the mountains, spending their days in the company of one of North America’s most intriguing animal species: wolves.
During their stay at Mission: Wolf, students spent their time caring for and learning about the wolves that live at the reserve. They helped feed the wolves each day, and participated in a daily wolf visit where they interacted face-to-face with some of the friendlier wolves that belong to a group known as the Ambassador Pack. The Ambassador Pack consists of wolves that are taken on tours across the United States to help teach people about wolf behavior and encourage respect for wildlife and the natural environment.
“Hanging out with a wolf is an intense experience,” said Clark Patton, a Cottonwood Institute Instructor. “It’s not your average dog.” Visits with the wolves were supervised and lead by Kent and Kathy, two members of the dedicated staff who live and work at the wolf reserve. They taught students about wolf behavior, and showed how the behaviors of wolves can be connected to how humans behave as well.
When they weren’t busy helping the wolves, the students were learning how to build debris shelters and make primitive fires using bow drills. They also spent a few days learning about animal tracking in Carcass Canyon, where they learned how to identify different animal tracks and about how other animals tracked each other in the wild. Evenings were spent around the campfire, sharing thoughts and stories with each other and discussing the events of the day.
For a service project the students helped pick up bones in Carcass Canyon, as well as cut lengths of chain-link fence that could be used for future repairs on the wolf enclosures. They also helped label the wolves’ food bowls.
Coming into contact with wildlife can be a profound and life-changing experience. Many of the students who went on the trip had never gone camping before, nor had they ever come into such close contact with wild animals. “It brought a lot out of them,” said Clark. For the students who spent a week at Mission: Wolf, the experience not only garnered a deep respect for and new found understanding of the wilderness. It gave them a personal understanding of themselves, enabling them to see the relationship between humans and nature, and how we as people both differ and relate to the creatures that inhabit our natural environment.
A special thank you to the staff of Mission: Wolf for allowing us to hold our course at their reserve and for all that they do for the wolves.
It’s that time of year again and we are pumped! Cottonwood Institute will be teaming up with Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) to help complete much needed trail maintenance and ecological restoration projects on the beautiful and majestic Mt. Evans the weekend of August 12-14, 2011.
This free volunteer opportunity is for adventurous and mellow folks alike, who want to blend their passion for the outdoors with their passion for generosity, by giving back to the land that constantly gives to us. We will set up our base camp at Echo Lake Campground and drive up to our site on Mt. Evans each day.
While the days will be action packed, there will be plenty of time in the afternoons and evenings for relaxing at our base camp, hanging out, philosophizing, and having good old-fashioned fun. You will be able to work on projects at your own pace, so make this experience as mild or as wild as you want.
This course is limited to 12 participants and spots are filling fast so Register Today! This is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and for everyone to walk their talk and give back to the mountains that we all use and love. Click Here for a detailed itinerary and registration packet. To find out more about Cottonwood Institute visit us on the web at: CottonwoodInstitute.org.
This summer, the Cottonwood Institute and Operation: Military Kids teamed up for the Operation Military Kids Family Survival Skills Overnight. In July, a team of students, accompanied by a number of parents, ventured up into Colorado Lions Camp near Woodland Park, Colorado for a weekend of outdoor exploration and fun.
This trip equipped its participants with good, practical knowledge about surviving in the wilderness, and also gave everyone an opportunity to get to know each other in an environment that facilitated a sense of community and teamwork. Surviving in the outdoors alone was a new and enriching experience for most of the students and their parents. Some people seemed a little hesitant at first, but it wasn’t long before the group’s avid interest and enthusiasm for the outdoors became apparent, as well as their remarkable ability to connect and relate to one another from day one, despite having never met before.
Students, instructors, and parents alike focused their time and energy on learning new survival skills and discussing how to respect the land they were staying on. Course participants learned how to make one-match fires, and even got to try their hand at using bow drills. They also learned how to build debris shelters, an activity that some students found to be so enjoyable, they wanted to try constructing shelters in their own backyards.
For some, one of the best parts of the trip was simply having an opportunity to be alone in the wilderness. Finding sit spots, a reflective exercise where each participant finds a place to sit in the woods where they can be alone with the stillness of their surroundings, became an activity of special importance for many of the students. “My rose was the sit moments—just being able to sit and listen,” said TJ, one of the students who attended the course.
For others the most valuable aspect of the trip was being able to get to know other people. At the end of the weekend, one participant took time during their closing circle to mention all of the “roses,” or strengths, she had observed in each person attending the course. “Her words were a great example of how well this group got along, and they also showed how you can learn a lot from other people,” said Madeline Bachner, an instructor on the course.
“We so appreciated the opportunity to go out on a survival adventure sponsored by the Cottonwood Institute,” said Channon, a course participant, in an e-mail to the Cottonwood Institute. “Your founder and donors should be very pleased with how your organization is helping to nurture a love of the outdoors and the confidence to enjoy it as only a true camping experience can provide. My husband, who is deployed to Afghanistan, also wants me to pass on his gratitude for getting his girls up to the Colorado mountains this summer. It’s non-profit groups like yours that take up the slack when our troops are off serving and away from family.”
To view pictures from the course, click here.
Cottonwood Institute was honored to be invited to table at the Reverb Eco-Village during the Maroon 5 and Train concert at Red Rocks on Thursday, July 28, 2011.
What started out as clear sunny skies, quickly changed to clouds and gusty wind, but we persevered; papers, markers, and all! During the concert, we featured The Journal Project. Journaling is a crucial component in a child’s education, so we gathered old markers, crayons, and papers found around the office and asked concert-goers to decorate our recycled journal covers. This was a great start to our goal of getting journals to all of our students, encouraging them to document their adventures while learning how to change the world.
A special thanks goes out to Maroon 5, Train, and Reverb for making this opportunity possible and to Melissa DeVaney-Goss for volunteering at the event.