2016-01-30 12.22.28


Fire Fury and Snow Flurries

The act of making a fire connects us back to our ancestors of more than 100,000 years ago. Huddling around a fire for warmth, sustenance and community is something that too few of us get to experience in our modern world. But on a snowy day at the end of January, in a sheltered grove… Read more »

Donovan Cordova


Volunteer Spotlight: Donovan Cordova

Cottonwood Institute recently had the opportunity to reconnect with rock star volunteer, Donovan Cordova, to find out what he has been up to: Tell us about yourself, where you are from, and what you are up to these days: I am from Pueblo, Colorado and a huge fanatic of volunteering in the community for over… Read more »



STRIVE Prep Sunnyside’s Creative Visionaries

The Middle School students at STRIVE Prep – Sunnyside are creative visionaries. Their interests in art, writing and self-expression have allowed them to cultivate an authentic experience through the Cottonwood Institute’s Community Adventure Program at their school during fall of 2015. After spending several weeks on team-building initiatives, nature awareness activities, and an exciting overnight camping trip… Read more »

Work for Cottonwood Institute


Best of 2015 Video: Watch. Give. Share.

2015 was an action-packed year, overflowing with student adventures!  We are excited to share our “Best of 2015 Video” to give you a glimpse into the wonderful experiences we provided thanks to our generous donors. Students were empowered to change their world and their communities one step at a time. This student sums it up well,… Read more »

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Top 10 Inspiring Stories From 2015

It’s been another incredible year and we are excited to announce Cottonwood Institute’s annual top 10 inspiring stories from 2015. Thanks to all who voted on our Cottonwood Institute Facebook Page! So what were our students up to this year? Check it out: Cottonwood Institute Programs Have Life-Changing Impact Cottonwood Institute Partners With Great Outdoors… Read more »



Earth Task Force Turns Trash into Tradition with “Trashy” Halloween Costume Competition

On October 30th Earth Task Force (ETF) an environmental club at New Vista High School, hosted the very first ‘Trashy’ Halloween Costume Contest event. The event was aimed at raising awareness and pushing students to think about the impacts people have on the environment. Advisories (community based classes that students participate in daily) competed against… Read more »



STRIVE Federal Backpacking Adventure

Over the course of two gorgeous days this fall, a small group from STRIVE Preparatory Schools Federal Campus experienced a Cottonwood Institute backpacking adventure at White Ranch Open Space. Students were amazed at how much stuff there was to pack up for two days, how heavy the packs were, and how long it took to get it all in… Read more »



Race to Reuse: New Vista Recycle Relay

During late October, the student-led New Vista High School club called Earth Task Force (ETF) ran a competition focused on creating student awareness about the school waste stream. Each of the school advisories (home rooms) participated in a race to sort out a bucket of various waste found around the school. This included Starbucks cups,… Read more »

Cottonwood Institute Community Adventure Program


CAP Class Saves a Drop, Saves a Liter, Saves the World!

Setting out from New Vista High School on our overnight trips with the Community Adventure Program (CAP) this quarter, the weather wavered between clear and sunny and cool and rainy.  It was officially the last hints of summer and the start of fall fully setting in. The energy was high, as students of all different… Read more »