I really get fired up about our work because we are addressing two really important issues in our community:
- So many kids along the Front Range see the mountains every day and either never have been to the mountains, don’t have access to the outdoors in terms of gear or transportation, or don’t have positive role models that recreate outdoors. We believe that we can’t expect kids to care about the environment until we give them an opportunity to explore the outdoors.
- So many kids see local environmental issues affecting their communities, but don’t know how to help or think the problems are too complex for one person to do anything about. We believe that every student has the power to be a changemaker to do something positive to address the issues that they are passionate about in their community.
To address these issues, the Cottonwood Institute collaborates with schools and youth organizations in the Front Range to put together fun and engaging programs that connect kids to the outdoors and empower them to tackle local environmental issues to help improve their schools, the community, and the environment through our high quality, high impact environmental education and service-learning curriculum.
2011 has been a phenomenal year in terms of the new partnerships we have created, the students we have impacted, and the projects students have addressed in their communities. We are getting kids outside, inspiring students to become leaders, problem solvers, critical thinkers, and engaged in their community instead of sitting on the sidelines and feeling powerless.
Here are a few successes from 2011:
- CI served over 350 youth, over 1,200 total participants, delivered over 13,000 program contact hours, and completed over 6,000 environmental service project hours through its educational programs, outreach programs, and volunteer projects.
- CI students were the recipients of the 2011 National Environmental Education Foundation Green Prize and received $10,000 to continue the sustainability initiatives they pioneered at their public school.
- Cottonwood Institute works primarily with schools and community groups that serve low-income students. While individual demographics vary based on each specific project, overall, 65% of our students were eligible for free or reduced lunch, and indicator of poverty.
To download a full copy of the report, including information about our Top 5 Programming Stories, New Partnerships, Testimonials, Demographics, Program Evaluation Data, Financials, and Top Supporters, Click Here.
The Cottonwood Institute would like to thank all of our students, parents, staff, instructors, board members, educational partners, donors, supporters, and cheerleaders for making 2011 such a success!
Ford Church, M.A. Founder and Executive Director