Online students are not desk bound as far as GOAL Academy is concerned. On a couple of warm sunny days this past summer Cottonwood Institute teamed up with GOAL Academy, Guided Online Academic Learning, to host two one-day survival courses for their students.
Working with our amazing instructors and GOAL chaperones, the students used the surrounding resources to build natural shelters, learned a variety of ways to make fire, and realized that survival knowledge is beneficial in the wilderness and online. Students attending Cottonwood Institute courses not only learn shelter building techniques and fire skills, but they also learn patience, teamwork, leadership, and critical thinking skills.
After a day spent in the outdoors, GOAL students are now well-equipped with both academic and environmental skills. I would call that a successful endeavor!
Click here for a slideshow of the adventures!
Retaining steps, single jacks, short pick, crush, pinners, gargoyles…don’t know what any of that means? This year the Cottonwood Institute teamed up with Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) to work on the trail from Summit Lake to the summit of Mt. Evans. Our crew spent two beautiful days around 14,000 feet using these tools to improve this magnificent alpine trail.
The goal was to mitigate erosion on the highly used trail through fragile alpine tundra. With excellent guidance from the CFI leaders, the group built 11 new retaining steps from local rock to stop the flow of water down the trail and make the hiking easier. They also added rubble walls and rock siding to define the trail and put an end to social paths. These are side trails that crop up as people short cut the trail and walk around harder spots. In highly impacted areas, such as the Summit Lake trailhead, this can result in massive erosion and destruction of the alpine tundra.
The Cottonwood Institute volunteers had a great time getting to know the CFI crew leaders and spending two days camping and working outdoors at high elevation. They moved a lot of rocks and marveled at the many alpine flowers, big horn sheep, and mountain goats as they took in the views from this gorgeous work site! This was a great project and Cottonwood Institute looks forward to having an even bigger group next year to camp in this beautiful location and lend a hand to maintain the trails we love! A big thanks to Colorado Fourteeners Initiative for providing amazing leadership, direction, and tools on this project and for all the work they do on our beautiful mountain trails.
Click here to view a slideshow of all the rewarding work these amazing volunteers accomplished throughout one weekend!
This past May, while West Denver Prep students persevered through a rainy weekend camping trip, the South Platte River was lacking the water needed for a true rafting experience. Unfortunately, this resulted in the cancellation of a well-earned rafting trip for the students from this year’s Three Trees and a River Project with West Denver Prep.
However, the Cottonwood Institute, West Denver Prep, and City Wild, would not give up. By working together, the kids finally had an experience to remember for the rest of their lives. Teaming up with City Wild, another non-profit working to connect youth to the outdoors, West Denver Prep students, their teacher, and CI instructors alike, excitedly pushed the rafts into the river to finally begin their day on the water. While students learned about their watershed and the importance of rivers, they also learned how to comfortably explore the water and became experts at jumping into the river to engage in “water wars.” The trip was a positive experience for everyone who took part, and despite being somewhat belated, it turned out to be the perfect end to an exciting year’s worth of service learning.
To check out more photos from the trip, Click Here.
Ask yourself one question. Would you know how to skin a raccoon if stranded in the wilderness? Most of us would answer no. But for the the staff at Snooze A.M. Eatery attending this unique one-day survival retreat, their answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
On a warm summer day this past August, managers at Snooze participated in Cottonwood Institute’s one-day survival workshop as a part of their weekend staff training. While they learned the basics of survival from shelter building to fire skills, they also had the opportunity to learn more about primitive hunting skills and animal skinning.
While the group was quite competitive throughout the day, their humor and teamwork never once waned, and the quality of their restaurant business was evidenced in how hard they worked and how they never stopped encouraging each other. While working on one-match fires, one participant was heard saying, “You can do it, put your match into it!” This tone set the entire course.
Ford, our very own Executive Director, had the pleasure of instructing this group and stated, “I think you guys have an awesome team assembled at Snooze and it was great to see how everyone stepped up in different ways. Everyone was super positive and had a great attitude. I have to say, this is the first course we processed road kill and I thought that was really cool.” Adam Schlegel, Snooze Co-Founder and owner was ecstatic, “Such a great time, great experience, and you guys were fantastic. Congrats on the project, the great people, and the whole business… a very cool job. Hope to see you in Snooze soon, guarantee you’ll have a memorable meal. No raccoon!”
While the raccoons received all the talk, it was the memories that will live on forever with both the Snooze team and our amazing instructors, Ford and Clark. You all pulled off a unique and memorable course! Here’s to many more of these throughout the years to come!
Snooze re-energizes the way you think, feel, and ultimately eat breakfast. Visit one of their locations throughout Denver, Boulder, Ft. Collins, and soon in San Diego.
As the salamanders relaxed in the stillness of the early morning waters, and the plants soaked up the first rays of the morning sun, off in the distance there was a faint, yet distinct sound of children’s laughter and the crunch of twigs underfoot. Cottonwood Institute’s survival course was underway once again at Taylor Mountain.
Every year, Cottonwood Institute donates a one-day survival course to be auctioned off at our annual fundraising event, The Base Camp Bash. The brave families who made a bid on this action-packed course got what they expected and more. Throughout the day, they participated in a shelter building competition, learned about edible and medicinal plants, practiced knife and fire skills, played exciting games and activities, and the kids even created their own fishing poles!
While the day was humming with activity, one of the best moments was simply the stories each person had to share. Relaxing in, and connecting to nature brings out the story-teller and listener in each of us. From shelters to sit spots to stories – these activities, coupled with a beautiful warm summer day, made an unforgettable adventure for not only the families involved, but also the instructors.
“My whole family enjoyed this course. The way Ford made fire out of sticks so fast – amazing! Clark is very knowledgeable about the outdoors and knows a lot about plants and animals. Both instructors worked well with the kids and adults. After taking this course, I am more aware of how to build a shelter and about what I might need to do if alone and lost in the outdoors.” (participant, Christine Frank)
Click here for a photo slideshow to check out the adventurous day!
To schedule your customized survival course, click here for more information.