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 »

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 »

Syah at our staff/ board retreat


Celebrating Black History Month

We’re halfway through Black History Month, and the team at Cottonwood Institute (Cottonwood) would like to highlight some incredible partners and local organizations we’ve worked with and connected with over the years.  Escrito en español más abajo People you should hire:  Parker McMullen Bushman is a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) consultant and founder… Read more »

Scenic Trees


Cottonwood Institute State of the Union 2020

With the US presidential election less than a week away — don’t worry, this is NOT a political post — I wanted to take an opportunity to share Cottonwood Institute‘s (CI) State of the Union in 2020. We are now 8 months into the COVID-19 pandemic and like many, CI’s world has turned upside down…. Read more »

CI Fall Team Retreat


CI Team Convenes for Fall Retreat

As we know at Cottonwood Institute, difficult times often present us with our greatest opportunities for growth. How do we show up when things get tough? How do we use struggle to deepen our connections to one another? Amid the challenges, this year has given us the chance to reflect on ourselves, our communities and… Read more »

CI Black Lives Matter Statement


CI Statement for Black Lives

Cottonwood Institute Condemns Anti-Black Violence and Harassment Dear CI Community, Black Youth Matter. Black Joy Matters. Black Lives Matter. Our hearts are heavy for our community. We acknowledge that our Black community members cannot move freely in their homes, communities, or the outdoors for fear of their lives and we condemn it. We stand in… Read more »

CI Spring Instructor Training 2020


Spring Instructor Training: Feeding our Fire for Learning!

Cottonwood Institute kicked off the upcoming trip season by convening new and returning staff for a spring training weekend packed with learning, community—and of course—good food. Like any great night, Friday started with pizza. Instructors met, some for the first time, and immediately hit it off over slices of ‘za and an amazing loaf of… Read more »

CI Instructor Training 3/2019


CI Spring Instructor Training: An Exercise in Adaptability

Every time we venture outdoors, whether for a day hike or for a month-long trek, we accept a certain level of uncertainty. Informed preparation and risk management are of course essential practices, but it is our ability to adapt to changing circumstances that more often determines the success of a trip. Even the most meticulously… Read more »