A student speaks at the Outdoor and Environmental Opportunity Fair


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 a deeper connection with nature, Cottonwood Institute and Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) brought together… Read more »

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 »

Woods Boss invite


Ford on the Craft Beer Travel & Adventure Pod

Cottonwood Institute Founder and Executive Director Ford Church recently joined April and Ken Pishna on the Living A Stout Life Craft Beer Travel and Adventure podcast! April is a former Cottonwood instructor and Program Director. She and Ken are living their dream traveling the country, sampling craft breweries, and mountain biking. Read a repost from… Read more »


Buy 14ers Art. Help Kids Get Outdoors!

Are you looking for a unique gift to commemorate a special summer weekend, or your recent trip to Colorado? Cottonwood Institute’s 14ers Art Store hosts beautiful watercolors of 53 Colorado 14,000-footers (“14ers”), available as prints, canvases, or framed images. Created by local Denver artist Mile Wilson, the watercolors are painted from unique perspectives inaccessible to… Read more »


Cottonwood Institute Receives Two Awards from CAEE!

In 2022, Cottonwood Institute (CI) received not just one, but TWO awards from the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE)! Our Changemaker Program was selected to receive a 2022 Innovative Environmental Education Program Award! The Awards Selection Committee announced that they are very impressed with the caliber of the work taking place through this program,… Read more »

Happy students!


Fall 2021 CAP Class Impact Report

Find out what students thought of CAP Class during fall 2021! Written by Curriculum Manager Chelsea Tossing (Escrito en español más abajo) Our 2021 CAP classes have wrapped, and it’s been an eventful semester here at CI! After COVID put a pause on our field experiences during the 2020-21 school year, we were thrilled to… Read more »


Help us unlock a $20,000 match by December 31, 2021!

Giving Tuesday and Colorado Gives Day are coming up quickly! Your support during these local and international giving days can help Cottonwood Institute unlock a $20,000 match from three generous families. When you set up a Seedling Monthly Giving Donation at any level by December 31, 2021, you will help unlock a $20,000 match to… Read more »


Buy Art. Help Get Kids Outdoors!

Local Denver artist Mike Wilson did something extraordinary. He painted watercolors of 53 of the highest peaks in Colorado, known as “14ers” for their height of over 14,000 feet above sea level – and donated the entire collection to Cottonwood Institute. Our online 14ers Artwork Store is now open so that outdoor enthusiasts in Colorado… Read more »

Spring Instructor Training 2021


CI Instructors Complete (Wintry) Spring Training

As Cottonwood Institute prepares for the next season of trips, CI instructors and staff spent a training weekend building community, skills, and a shared mission. Bright and early Saturday morning, we loaded up in the CI van and drove into Bear Creek Lake Park. We spent the day at the Sunset Amphitheater where the clouds… Read more »

Base Camp Bash invite


Register Now for the 2021 Base Camp Bash!

Mark your calendars and dust off your best Zoom backgrounds—it’s almost time for the Base Camp Bash! Our annual fundraiser and community celebration will be held on Saturday, April 24th, and this year you can join us from the comfort of your own home. Click here to register! The Base Camp Bash is our annual… Read more »