A RiseUp Community High School student rafting on the Arkansas River during the Watershed Project trip


RiseUp Makes a Splash! A Week of Rafting, Reflection, and Recharging in the Colorado Mountains

From Fish Hatcheries to Fierce Rapids, RiseUp Community High School Students Navigate Nature and Themselves in Leadville. Written by CI Field Instructor Hailey Schmidt. A small group of RiseUp Community High School students spent a wonderful week with Cottonwood Institute, learning about watersheds, getting to know each other better, and experiencing nature’s joys in the… Read more »

AXL 8th grade student holding a bullsnake he found on the overnight trip


Bullsnakes, Bonfires, and Baby Salamanders: AXL Academy 8th Grade CAP Students Say Farewell with Epic Camping Trip!

AXL Academy 8th Graders Explore, Learn, and Make Memories on Unforgettable Adventure. Written by CI Field Instructor Caroline Paul. That’s a wrap on another great year of Community Adventure Program (CAP) Class at Aurora’s Expeditionary Learning Academy (AXL)! The 8th graders took their final camping trip before their big high school graduation, which was certainly… Read more »

A student poses with a plant as a moustache


Changemakers Challenge: From Backpacks to Bowdrills (and Back!)

Leadership, Nature, and Growth on a Transformative Trip. Written by Changemaker Program Students, Lahja Wise and Iona Kelly. How can a single trip be so exciting, introspective, and informative at the same time? The only thing we know for sure is that it would not have happened without our lovely mentors, Erin And Chelsea. This… Read more »


New Vista High School CAP Class Tackles Wildfire Preparedness

New Vista High School CAP Class Ignites Action! Written by CAP Instructor Sadie Norton. Wildfire Preparedness: Is Your Home Ready? Take the Test! The Prelude: This quarter’s CAP Class had quite the learning journey this Spring. Throughout the quarter, we spent time connecting to nature, gaining an appreciation for the beauty in the world around… Read more »

Jesse Holtshnider (’24) and Ignacio Precadio Gutierrez (’27) mess around while building the Quinzee.(Shira Nathan)


A Student Account of CAP Class in Centaurus High School’s Newspaper

In CAP class, students learn to connect with nature – and each other. Written by Shira Nathan, Centaurus High School CAP Class Student and Co-Editor-in-Chief for The Warrior Scroll. Note: Some of the students interviewed speak Spanish as their first language. An English translation will be included alongside their responses. Students filter into class, chatting… Read more »

Cottonwood staff and instructors posing as a group at spring training


Wild Winds, Wise Staff, and Hot Tub Support: Why Cottonwood Rocks!

How a Focus on Employee Wellness is Setting This Environmental Education Nonprofit Apart. Written by Cottonwood Instructor Alo McGarigal. As a new field instructor for Cottonwood Institute this spring, April has been a whirlwind of onboarding, training, and getting acquainted with the incredible team. Having worked for various environmental education non-profits, I’ve seen a range… Read more »

A Changemaker student practices ancestral skills at the ancestral skills gathering at Ollin Farms


Changemakers Spark Ancestral Skills Revival: Reconnecting Community Through Fire, Shelter & Crafts

Students Lead Frigid-Weather Gathering, Fostering Sustainability & Connection to Heritage. Written by Associate Director and Senior Instructor Chelsea Tossing. In a world increasingly dominated by technology, our Changemaker students have been craving to reconnect themselves and their community with ancestral skills. This past weekend, our Changemaker Outdoor Leadership Program welcomed 40 eager members of the… Read more »

NVHS student as work in the outdoors, examining something


From Fire-Building to Friendship: New Vista High School Camps Out at Camp Patiya

Students Encounter Wildlife, Build Shelters, and Learn Valuable Outdoor Skills on a Memorable Camping Trip. Written by Instructor M Tormasi.  Earlier in April, Cottonwood Institute had the wonderful opportunity to take New Vista High School students camping just 25 minutes northwest of their school. Throughout the trip, many students stepped into leadership roles, facilitating team-building… Read more »