CI Staff play a game of of Nutty Squirrels


Cottonwood Winter Training: Connecting with Nature

A day of community building, thoughtful discussion, and hands-on learning to start the year intentionally. Written by Iona Kelly. On January 7th, 2024 Cottonwood Institute held an Instructor Winter Training day in the beautiful Camp Patiya. It was held with a focus on our various programs and how to support the creation of opportunities for… Read more »

A Centaurus High School student roasts a marshmallow on a fire they built with their class


Centaurus High School Students Take a Tasty Test

CAP Outdoor Class students at Centaurus High School learn to build fires and use them to roast marshmallows as part of their final exam to evaluate outdoor skills. Written by CAP Instructor Erin Angel. How do you like your marshmallow? Lightly toasted? Golden brown? Burnt beyond all recognition? The Centaurus High School CAP Outdoor Class… Read more »

An Angevine Middle School student measures lumber to help build a Gaga Ball pit at their school


Angevine Middle School Students go Gaga for Gaga Ball

Students at Angevine Middle School take action to promote outdoor play at their school. Written by CAP Instructor Erin Angel. Everyone who plays Gaga Ball loves Gaga Ball! After spending hours playing the game during our fall campout at Cheley Outpost Camp, the Angevine Middle School CAP Outdoor Class decided to share this fun game… Read more »

Elisha Roberts


Board Spotlight: Elisha Roberts

We are excited to introduce you to our newest Cottonwood Institute (CI) Board Member, Elisha Roberts, who joined the CI Board in October 2023. Read on to learn more about Elisha! What is your story? Where did you grow up and how did you get to where you are today? I was born and raised… Read more »

An AXL Academy 8th grade student picks up a rock while exploring Pelican Ponds Open Space


AXL Academy’s Adventurous Winter Days

Scaling New Heights and Navigating Nature: AXL Academy Students’ Adventurous Winter Field Days. Written by Cottonwood Field Instructor Kira Taggart. In early December, AXL 7th and 8th graders went on their winter field days to The Spot Climbing Gym and Pelican Pond Open Space. We had two fun days where students learned the basics of… Read more »

A Changemaker student sitting in a peaceful meadow


Nurturing Inclusivity in Education

Creating Affirmative Spaces: Advancing Understanding and Support for Gender Diversity in Outdoor Learning. Written by Cottonwood Field Instructor M Tormasi. Creating magical moments for students that promote nature connection, curiosity, and self-confidence begins with creating supportive and positive educational environments. Cottonwood Institute instructors utilize numerous strategies to establish safe spaces for learning, as they are… Read more »

A student hiding amongst the trees like a mischievous wood elf!


The Changemakers’ Enchanted Autumn Escape

How the Changemaker Outdoor Leadership Corps Discovered Magic Stewarding Colorado’s Land. Written by Senior CAP Instructor Erin Angel. The Changemaker Outdoor Leadership Corps spent two crisp, golden days together enjoying a break from the pressures of the “real world.” We gathered under the bright autumn sun at Reynolds Ranch to work with the inspiring Ranger… Read more »

Cottonwood Institute Founder and ED participates in an ELK community event


Building Community Through Engagement

How cultivating connections has strengthened our collective impact. Written by Director of Strategic Partnerships, Teagan Papke. At Cottonwood Institute, our passion goes beyond our core mission. We’re dedicated to weaving a tapestry of strong, authentic relationships within our community. This means proactively seeking volunteer opportunities, attending community events, supporting current collaborations and initiating new ones,… Read more »

AXL student picking up trash


AXL Academy’s Trash Roundup

Tires, bottles, and buckets are some of the things AXL Academy students cleaned up! Written by Cottonwood Field Instructor Eeland Stribling As part of their CAP Action Project, AXL Academy students went looking for places to clean up near their school. The community does a great job at keeping parks and trails clean, and students… Read more »

Student is tasked with making a fire, as small as possible and alive as long as possible


NVHS 1st Quarter CAP Class: An Extraordinary Journey

Unveiling Growth, Connection, and Environmental Awareness in a Quarter of Discovery. Written by CAP Instructor Sadie Norton. After CAP Class, in an anonymous survey, 92% of students agreed they are “more likely to make a positive difference in my community,” 92% “feel more connected to my peers,” and 92% of students “believe my actions can… Read more »