Cottonwood Institute and ALL Careers Overview

Cottonwood Institute connects students to the outdoors and inspires them to take action to improve their schools, the community, and the environment. We hope that many of our students will be inspired to continue making positive change long after they graduate from their CI program, whether they follow a traditional “environmental” career path or not.

The resources on this page will help you explore ways to continue making positive environmental change through whichever career path you choose.


“ALL Careers” Approach

NVHS Art as Activism // ALL CareersWhat is the “ALL Careers” approach to education? It is an effort to make explicit connections between environmental knowledge/concern and ALL careers–not just the small segment of the economy made up of “environmental careers” as presently understood. To create a sustainable, “green” economy, everything we do should be guided by an understanding of how living systems work and how human systems fit in.

How does an “ALL Careers” approach help you as you think about your future? If you are concerned about environmental trends and how they are and will continue to affect our world, you may want to be part of the solution! An “ALL Careers” approach can empower and inspire you with a solid sense of how you can contribute to the creation of a sustainable economy no matter what your skills or aptitudes, and therefore career direction. This approach then leads to specific knowledge and training on how you can put environmental principles and concern into practical use in whatever career direction you choose.

Learn more:

when people begin to consider the career possibilities of human restoration through nature, their eyes light up: here is a positive, hopeful view of the human relationship with the Earth, a way to make a living and a life.” – Richard Louv

Resources For Students: Leadership and Careers in the Outdoors

In addition to the “ALL Careers” approach, you may be interested in a career directly involved in natural resources, environmental action, and the outdoors. These links can help you get started:

Leadership & Job Opportunities (Denver Metro):

Leadership & Job Opportunities (North Metro):

Youth Councils: organized groups that help you raise your voice and take action with your peers. Most require a one or two year commitment.


Resources For Business Leaders and Policy Makers:

  • B Corporation: Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
  • Good Business Colorado: Good Business Colorado is a grassroots organization of values-driven business owners working to build a prosperous economy, equitable communities, and a sustainable environment.
  • Green 360 Career Catalyst
  • Green Latinos, a nonprofit addressing natural resources and conservation issues that affect the health and welfare of the Latino community in the United States.
  • Next 100 Coalition – Colorado: Next 100 Colorado is committed to the establishment of a just and inclusive parks and public lands system. An inclusive approach to public lands over the next 100 years must be driven by three guiding principles: reflect the faces of our country, respect all cultures, and actively engage all people.
  • Regenerative Recovery Coalition: (RRC) is a 300+ member collaboration of nonprofits, businesses, academic institutions, government agencies and individuals boldly working together to build Colorado forward towards a regenerative economy.
  • Blog by Richard Louv: “Want a Nature-Smart Career?
  • Youth Celebrate Diversity and the Colorado Youth Diversity Conference (January 2021)



Entrepreneural Earth
Boulder Rotary Club
Colorado Youth Congress
Good Business Colorado