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Cottonwood Institute Partners With Great Outdoors Colorado Inspire Initiative Community Hubs

GOCO Inspire InitiativeCottonwood Institute is honored to partner with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Inspire Initiative and three community hubs that were just each awarded $100,000 planning grants to help get kids off the couch and out the door from the backyard to the backcountry.

The planning grants will help each community hub further refine their projects and develop specific plans and programs. The community hubs will return in a year to seek between $1 million to $5 million in grants to implement their plans to create or expand nearby parks and nature, improve access to existing outdoor parks or trails, and bolster youth programs.

While there is much to be discussed during the planning phase, Cottonwood Institute will directly serve its mission by delivering high quality, high impact environmental education and service learning programs for 6th – 12th graders for the following community hubs:

Lafayette. The Jovenes de la Naturaleza/Nature Kids Lafayette coalition will focus on a square mile area around the city’s core, which has three elementary schools and the highest poverty rate in the Boulder Valley School District. Their vision includes an “emerald necklace” network of trails and parks so that all of the city’s lowest-income youth will be within a safe, 10-minute walk of green space and have safe foot and bike access to all of the city’s park areas.

Denver’s Westwood Neighborhood: Denver Parks and Recreation and the Westwood Unidos coalition will work together on a plan for one of Denver’s most impoverished neighborhoods. The plan will focus on how to include safer trails, upgraded outdoor areas and the possibility of a “My Outdoor Colorado” youth programming curriculum. “My Outdoor Colorado” is an idea to build upon the “MY Denver” program that offers free access to Denver Parks and Recreation facilities and services.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge (Including portions of Commerce City, Aurora and Denver). The Northeast Metro Coalition’s plan will serve communities surrounding the refuge and will include increasing access to and opportunities at the refuge. Many physical barriers like highways and railroad tracks separate the refuge from those neighborhoods, which have high poverty rates and face transportation and language barriers. The coalition will also provide programs that will encourage local youth and families get outdoors more often.

A special shout out to Great Outdoors Colorado, Keith Desrosiers at Thorne Nature Experience, Jeff Lamontagne at Bluff Lake, Rachel Cleaves at Westwood Unidos and all the community partners involved for their vision, drive, and hard work to help make this happen.

To read more, check out the following articles:


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