Approximately 250 people and local businesses rallied together to donate money, silent auction items, food, and spirits to help make the 2013 Base Camp Bash our most successful event ever!
So how much money did we raise? We raised over $51,500 to help support our programs this year. The money we raised from the Bash will help support our programs with:
- Strive Preparatory Schools: Serving primarily low-income Latino(a) middle school students in Denver, CO
- Community Adventure Program: Serving public high school students in Boulder, CO
- Earth Task Force: Serving public high school students in Boulder, CO
- Learning Gardens: Serving public middle and high school students in Denver and Boulder, CO
- Operation: Military Kids: Serving youth of military families along the Colorado Front Range
To check out pictures from the event and re-live the magic, Click Here!
If you missed the best Base Camp Bash ever, you will have to wait until next year. But you can still help support our programs by making a tax-deductible donation to support our programs to connect underserved students to the outdoors and empower them to tackle local environmental issues by Clicking Here.
Finally, we can’t speak more highly of all of the amazing local businesses that contributed to the success of Base Camp Bash. Please support the folks who support local nonprofits in the community! For a full list of our sponsors and supporters, Click Here.
The 2013 Base Camp Bash is almost upon us on Saturday, April 20th, 2013 from 7-10pm at Artwork Network in Denver, CO.
What is the Base Camp Bash you ask? Only the most fun and exciting event the Cottonwood Institute hosts once a year to raise money to support our programs to connect students to the outdoors and empower them to tackle local environmental issues.
- The Best Food And Beverages Denver Has To Offer: We will be featuring “S’mores Pancakes” from Snooze, Cottonwood Organic White beer from Wynkoop Brewing Company, and great wine. For just a few more bucks you can come to the VIP party from 5:30pm – 7pm before the main event and enjoy a local cocktail tasting with mixologists from Ace Eat Serve and Steuben’s featuring spirits from Leopold Bros. and appetizers from The Kitchen restaurant.
- A Fabulous Silent Auction: We have adventurous auction items, including: A luxurious 4-night stay to one of 20 exotic locations courtesy of Portico, outdoor gear from Mountainsmith, restaurant gift certificates to the best restaurants in Denver like Root Down, and much more! To check out what we have so far and to start bidding, Click Here.
What’s that? You have another commitment that night you just can’t wiggle out of? Well it better be a good excuse…But seriously, you will be missed, AND there are still two ways you can help:
- You can Pre-Bid on our amazing silent auction items until Friday, April 19th, 2013 at 5:00pm. Pre-bids will open up the bidding at the main event on April 20th, so if you can’t come and you really want something, bid high! Remember, we all need to buy gifts for friends and family, so why not shop at our auction and support a great cause?
- You can make a Tax-Deductible Donation to help support our programs for underserved students. School budgets are still being cut and the Cottonwood Institute is providing life-changing programs for underserved students in the Denver/Boulder area. All donations from the Base Camp Bash help support our high priority programs with Casa de la Esperanza, New Vista High School, Operation: Military Kids, Strive Preparatory Schools, and more.
We could not pull all this off without the incredible support of our sponsors and VIPs this year. They support great organizations like the Cottonwood Institute, so please support them!
$5,000+ Level Sponsors
$2,500 Level Sponsors:
Dr. and Mrs. John M. Church, Jr.
$1,000 Level Sponsors:
Anonymous, Dr. and Mrs. Stefan Mokrohisky, Dr. and Mrs. William Conway, Linda Bjork, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Zook
$500 Level Sponsors:
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Waters
Johnson and Wales University (JWU) worked with the Cottonwood Institute for the third year in a row to offer another great Environmental Leadership Summit. Eyes were opened, ideas were hatched and questions raised as the day got underway with excellent speakers and hands on activities. By the end of the day, 21 students had participated in the summit and everyone had something to take-away and apply to their own lives and career paths.
The day started and ended at Fluid Coffee Bar. Owner Jeff Aitkens presented their environmentally conscious model for running a business and introduced the group to the “triple bottom line” of sustainable business practices. Ford Church shared the story of the Cottonwood Institute, the Action Project Steps, and the Cycle of Hope and Cynicism. Adam Brock, Director of Operations at the Grow Haus in Denver spoke about urban farming, education, local food sources and the many native alternatives to common cuisine here in Colorado. After a rousing game of Ninja and some time for reflecting, the group headed to Pizza Fusion to partake of another locally owned and socially and environmentally conscious business. One of the highlights of the day was the Sustainability Scavenger hunt which sent participants through the Uptown neighborhood of Denver finding sustainable businesses, bike racks, and bus stops, picking up trash, and answering questions about local shopping opportunities. Back at Fluid the group engaged with Jessie Fischer from Alliance for Climate Education (A.C.E.) and her fantastic presentation on climate change and it’s causes and possible solutions.
The group ended the day thinking about steps they can take to make a difference in their communities and lives. Each student shared a goal they could work on over their next semester at JWU to support a more locally fueled sustainable future for us all. From environmental action clubs, to burgeoning business plans and simple actions to take on an individual level, everyone had something truly unique and beneficial to add to the work we are all doing in creating community-led sustainability initiatives. After the summit, one student had this to say: “Innovative ways to be sustainable are constantly popping up, but we rarely notice them; being educated is only the first step and these community leaders have made it so easy that everyone can take part. It is truly an honor to take part and experience the rush of knowlege again.”
Many thanks to all of our speakers and partners for a fantastic day!
Last week we wrapped up an exciting quarter of CAP 36. After inspiration from one of our guest speakers from Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, we devoted our energy in the second half of the quarter towards the urban wildlife conflicts in Boulder. We spent several weeks researching and understanding human-wildlife conflicts with mountain lions, coyotes, and black bears. We learned why it is becoming more challenging for the three animals to coexist with humans in Boulder. Through three entertaining presentations, we educated the New Vista High School community about the issues. During a school-wide presentation, Johannes dressed up like a black bear! Towards the end of our Action Project, we took our knowledge outside to the community. We spent our final CAP class at Chautauqua, at one of the most traveled trail heads in Boulder. In pairs, we approached individuals and small groups of people to educate them about urban wildlife conflicts that affect Chautauqua users. Folks were most interested to learn what to do if they encounter a mountain lion on the trail. Many users were well aware of the issues surrounding bears in Boulder; however few people knew the depth of the coyote issues. If you’re interested in learning more about urban wildlife, check out the information and suggested guidelines from Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks.
We spent our second camping trip at Cheley Outpost in Allenspark, Colorado. We experienced the full spectrum of Colorado winter weather: warm 60 degree sun all the way to 20 degree snow! The weather allowed us to partake in all of our favorite camping activities, from basking on rocks in the sun, to tracking animals in the snow. Check out our pictures to get the full story of our overnight experiences!
One of the skills I gained [in CAP] that I value the most is my experience working with others throughout this class. I feel as if I have come a long way from the beginning of this class in the fields of intrapersonal skills and working in groups due to the emphasis on group building and problem solving in this class.
The Cottonwood Institute welcomes the newest member to our team, Melanie Goldbort! Melanie is taking on the role of Learning Garden Coordinator at New Vista High School. Melanie will work closely with students and staff to develop an integrated learning garden curriculum for the high school level. As the snow begins to melt, you’ll find her at the New Vista High School garden planting, watering, weeding, and teaching others all about gardening.
Melanie has been in the field of education for over 10 years. She received her Bachelors in Applied Psychology from New York University and her Masters in Teaching from Montclair State University. She is a licensed Special Education teacher and has taught in New York, New Jersey and Hawaii. In recent years, she has combined her passion for healthy food, outdoor education, and community-building to help start a farm with an educational focus. She co-founded Boulder Family Farms, a local food company dedicated to growing, providing access to, and educating about organically-grown produce and humanely raised animals. The 3 acre farm on Cherryvale Road, which is home to two friendly goats, has chickens raised for organic eggs, produces vegetables for a small Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA) and an on-site Farm Stand. The farm also provides educational opportunities for people of all ages.
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” – Eleanora Duse
Despite a mid-winter summer in the Front Range, the Cottonwood Institute managed to find blue skies and deep snow a couple of weeks ago. Upon meeting in Boulder on Saturday morning, our crew of 15 outdoor aficionados played games and got to know each other; we’re now able to recite each others names and favorite scar stories! Eager to get into the mountains, we loaded into a few cars and caravanned up past Ward to Brainard Lake Recreation Area for our annual Instructor Training weekend.
To escape the weekend crowds, we snowshoed off the main trail and found a more secluded space with deep snow drifts. We dove right into reviewing our winter survival skills and general curriculum. With an occasional wind howling down from the Continental Divide to our base camp, reviewing the laws of thermodynamics became timely and practical. We kept our bodies warm by digging out snow shelters like quinzhees and trenches (aka technical snow forts), and through the ever-entertaining “Tasmanian Toe-Tap.” We also practiced our winter fire making skills, warming our hands with one-match fires, strikers, and bow drills.The day provided us with a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with ourselves, fellow-instructors, and the natural world. With the sun starting to dip towards the horizon, we headed back to Boulder to the warm comforts of home.
On Sunday morning, we again started the day with more games! With a little energy out of our systems, we settled in to closely examine the goals and mission of the Cottonwood Institute. We studied course progressions, perused paperwork, reviewed the “cycle of hope”and the “cycle of cynicism”, brainstormed risk management scenarios, and shared new ways of debriefing. The morning proved efficient and effective, helping us all become better educators and instructors.
A big high five and thank you to all of the instructors who contributed to such a fun, inspiring, empowering, and educational weekend. The Cottonwood Institute is fortunate to have such an amazing group of instructors!
Check out more pictures from our instructor training weekend!
Are you a Cottonwood alumnus? We’d love to hear from you! What are you up to? Email Us!
We recently had the opportunity to reconnect with Brian Fauver, a Cottonwood Institute alumnus. Even as he enters a graduate degree program, he continues to use the problem-solving, critical thinking, and leadership skills he gained through CAP. Keep reading to learn how CI continues to impact Brian as a student, professional, and outdoor-connoisseur.
I am working two seasonal jobs: the first at the Denver Zoo, which is during the summer and fall. I help out with the Front Range Pika Project, which is a Citizen-Science project. The organization trains volunteers to collect data on pika habitat over time. I also work at the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at CSU, where I will be pursuing a graduate degree in the fall. My work there is about Citizen-Science, or Public Participation in Scientific Research/Community Based Monitoring. More specifically, I research the cultural differences in effectively managing a successful Citizen-Science program.
What do you remember most about your Cottonwood Institute (CI) experience?
I remember being a part of the CI community. After taking three CAP courses at New Vista High School in Boulder, I soon became at CI intern. While an intern, I went as a student on an Instructor Training overnight. I enjoyed looking at the organization from the several different perspectives: as a student, and as someone giving feedback.
What are the coolest skills you’ve learned from CI that you’ve been showing your friends or family?
Winter camping. Quinzees. And of course, friction fires.
How has your CI experience helped you create positive change in your community?
Before I took CAP, I wanted to help out with environmental conservation. I had interned at both the Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy. I couldn’t help feeling overwhelmed with my inability to change large national/regional scale problems. Taking CAP helped introduce me to the idea of local change and community organizing. This seemed like a much more attainable model.
Based on your CI experience, what piece of advice would you like to give to other students?
Since I took three different CAP courses, looking back, it is evident how much more effective the action projects that were group-inspired (rather than individually-inspired) were.
Try not to be too ambitious. Think big, but enact small tangible changes.
Edited by Katie Craig
We are wrapping up another incredible programming year with the Cottonwood Institute and have been blown away by the students we have served and the Action Projects they have taken on to improve their schools, the community, and the environment.
In 2012, we served over 375 youth, logged over 15,000 program contact hours, and recorded over 6,500 service-learning project hours “changing the world, one adventure at a time!”
So what were our students actually up to you ask? Here is a list of our Top 10 Inspiring Stories from 2012:
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation before December 31, 2012 to help make sure we have the resources to continue to deliver amazing programs in 2013 by Clicking Here.
Happy Holidays from the Cottonwood Institute!
The Explore Fund’s mission is to inspire and enable the next generation of explorers by funding non-profit organizations that are working to re-connect children with nature. By encouraging an active healthy lifestyle and protection of our natural landscapes, a stronger connection of youth to the outdoors can be nurtured.
Cottonwood Institute was selected from more than 900 applications submitted for the first of two grant cycles in 2012, because of our mission to connect underserved students to the outdoors and to empower them to tackle local environmental issues. Since The North Face Explore Fund was initiated in 2010, The North Face has provided more than $1 Million in grants to non-profits all over the world working to connect youth to the outdoors, with more than three quarters of that going to programs in the United States.
Funding from this grant will enable Cottonwood Institute to continue to develop our partnership with Casa de la Esperanza, a residential community dedicated to helping agricultural workers in Boulder County. The community is owned and operated by the Boulder County Housing Authority in the City of Longmont. This center provides educational and recreational services to Casa residents, including an onsite after-school program and academic center. According to Carlota Loya Hernandez, Program Coordinator for the Casa Learning Center, “For the last year, the Cottonwood Institute has partnered with our community to provide incredible enrichment opportunities for our youth. Crucial to the Casa Learning Center’s mission, the Cottonwood Institute compliments our program by focusing on enhancing the children’s educational opportunities. The Cottonwood Institute has benefited and enriched the lives of over 20 children of the Casa community this past year. This included hikes, environmental and sustainability classes on site, and overnight camping at Calwood Outdoor Education Center. These opportunities would not be available to our community without the support of the Cottonwood Institute and their high quality staff.”
“There can be so many barriers to getting kids outdoors, whether it be a disability, health resources or simply a lack of access. A large percentage of the grants went toward funding organizations that are addressing these issues by providing access and education,” said Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. “We believe that if you can get kids to love the outdoors, not only will they develop skills that will help them throughout life, but they will grow up to care about their natural world, protecting and conserving the wild places they explore”
Stay tuned for more information about our program with Casa de la Esperanza!
About The North Face®
The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in San Leandro, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company’s products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.
COLORADO GIVES DAY: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Cottonwood Institute is rallying downtown businesses and supporters for happy hour to “give where they live…and work” for Colorado Gives Day, Tuesday, December 4th from 4:30pm – 6:00pm at Wynkoop Brewing Company, Upstairs Bar.
We are encouraging folks to take off work a little early on Colorado Gives Day to make a donation to support the Cottonwood Institute, while networking with other downtown businesses and enjoying a much deserved happy hour drink.
Donations will help support our programs to connect underserved kids to the outdoors and empower them to tackle local issues in the community.
Companies that donate $500 or more will be listed as a sponsor for our Colorado Gives Day happy hour and we will help leverage media exposure generated that day.
Schedule your donation to support the Cottonwood Institute for Colorado Gives Day today by Clicking Here and join us for a fun happy hour at Wynkoop on Colorado Gives Day!
To RSVP for the happy hour, Email Us.
Colorado Gives Day is amazing because it is a great initiative to increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. For 24 hours, people will have an opportunity to give where they live. 100% of your donation to the Cottonwood Institute on Colorado Gives Day will support our organization because Community First Foundation and FirstBank have absorbed the credit card fees. As an added bonus, the FirstBank Incentive Fund was established to help increase the value of every dollar donated on Colorado Gives Day! For more information about Colorado Gives Day, Click Here.