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Connecting students to nature. Inspiring them to protect it.

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Inspiring the next generation of Changemakers

Since 2004, CI has engaged students in innovative programs that support confidence-building outdoor skill development, immersive environmental learning, and student-directed community action.

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CAP Class

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Multi-Day Environmental Programs

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Latest Blog Posts

A CAP student participating in activities on the field day at Betasso Preserve
April 18, 2024By Teagan Papke

New Vista High School CAP Students Get Wild – Learning by Becoming the Wild

Coyote or Kangaroo Rat: New Vista CAP Students Experience the Thrill of the Hunt (and the Joy of Play) at Betasso Preserve Field Day. Written by Instructor Amy Atkins. Do you ever wonder what it feels like to be a…

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A RiseUp student cooks on a camp stove
April 9, 2024By Teagan Papke

RiseUp Community High School’s Pilot CAP Experience: Thriving and Surviving!

From Survival Skills to Community Impact: A Journey of Growth and Connection at RiseUp Community High School. Written by Logistics Manager Maeve O’Meara. This January, in the heart of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood, RiseUp Community High School welcomed Cottonwood Institute…

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A student speaks at the Outdoor and Environmental Opportunity Fair
March 27, 2024By Teagan Papke

Together for Tomorrow: A Cottonwood-ELK Collaboration Sparks Youth Enthusiasm for Environmental Careers

Inspiring the Next Wave of Environmental Stewards: How This Collaborative Event Is Helping Shape the Future of Outdoor and Environmental Advocacy. Written by Associate Director & Senior Instructor Chelsea Tossing. With a shared vision of empowering young people and fostering…

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Featured Event

Base Camp Bash

The Base Camp Bash is our main fundraising event! This is our annual excuse to get together in person, have fun, and celebrate our students and successes. The Bash is where we present the coveted Ripple Effect Award, which honors one student from each of our schools who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in their Cottonwood Institute programs.

The Base Camp Bash helps raise the critical funds we need each year to connect students to the outdoors and empower them to take action to improve their schools, the community, and the environment for future generations. Join us next year!

Support Cottonwood Institute

Your support allows us to offer free programs that break down barriers to the outdoors. Help us connect students to nature and inspire them to protect it – make a tax-deductible donation to Cottonwood Institute today.

Donate Today