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, recognizing it as a positive environmental education model for other entities in the state. The Changemaker Program is an environmental education and community leadership program for high school students who have completed our CAP Class, and provides them with a chance to dig deeper into topics like sustainability and ecology. The program supports them to become leaders in their own communities, and to participate in outdoor experiences like overnight camping and hiking. Changemakers also includes an apprentice pathway from student to paid staff/instructor; opportunities to purchase necessary outdoor gear; and free professional development opportunities like Wilderness First Aid certification training. We are so proud of the students, staff, supporters, and everyone who makes this program possible, and we are excited to share and celebrate this accomplishment.
If that wasn’t already exciting enough, we also had the chance to congratulate our Senior CI Instructor, Erin Angel, on receiving a 2022 Outstanding Educator Award! Erin teaches two of our core programs in Boulder County, CAP Class and Changemakers. Erin helps students expand their definition of nature to create equitable access to the outdoors. By bringing awareness of animals, plants, ecosystems, and natural resources in urban areas immediately surrounding their neighborhood and schools, Erin helps show students that nature is accessible and available on their city block. Erin is hyper-aware of equitable access to nature and is committed to busting down barriers to make sure her students always had access to the gear, transportation, instruction, and translation they needed to comfortably and competently explore nature and the outdoors. There is no doubt that Erin Angel has a life-long impact on her students, many of whom have received Cottonwood Institute’s coveted Ripple Effect Award. Now Erin is the one receiving an award and we are thrilled to acknowledge har and the team’s hard work.
These two awards will be presented at an awards luncheon on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022 from 12:15-2:15 p.m. at the Tivoli Turnhalle at the Auraria Campus in Denver, with registration opening in September. A huge thanks again to CAEE for this recognition!
Written by Program Relationships Manager Teagan Papke.