As Cottonwood Institute (CI) enters our third year of programming for Nature Kids / Jovenes de la Naturaleza (Nature Kids) Program in Lafayette, CO, it is time to look back on what we have accomplished the previous two years.
Nature Kids is a five-year, $10 million collective impact project led by Thorne Nature Experience that provides pre-k to high school, backyard to backcountry, and family integrated environmental education and outdoor recreation programming to underserved Lafayette, CO youth.
Cottonwood Institute is glad to be a lead partner running two CAP classes, one at Angevine Middle School and one at Centaurus High School. We are proud of our work in this community and excited to be part of the leadership in co-creating this amazing project in Lafayette.
Cottonwood Institute is eager to share some of the outcomes from Nature Kids Year 2 Program Evaluation Report. Total Nature Kids programming hours delivered increased by 8% over Year 1, and Nature Kids reached a total of 1,698 unique participants, with the average participant engaging in 6.3 programs. Beyond outputs, Nature Kids evaluative efforts are starting to show some strong correlation between program participation and community/social cohesion and health and wellness benefits. More specific to CI programming, Angevine Middle School and Centaurus High School saw more in-depth programming for youth who chose to opt in to Nature Kids programs both during the school year and during the summer. Unique participants in Year 2 opt-in programs increased by 18%.
Some important things CI already knows about our participants that are further supported by the Nature Kids Year 2 Report:
- Time in nature through Nature Kids programming has positive impacts on social cohesion for participants.
- Participants’ actual and perceived access to nature is positively impacted by Nature Kids.
- The benefits of outdoor programming and time in nature through Nature Kids programs has impacts on health and wellness.
- Outcome data corroborates what research shows is developmentally necessary along an age continuum for time outdoors to have meaningful and lasting impact on an individual.
Read the Year 2 Program Evaluation Report to learn more about Cottonwood Institute’s part in this collaborative effort and how we are all helping to change lives for Lafayette youth and their families!
And a huge thank you to our funding partners, including: Community Foundation Boulder County, Enterprise Holdings Foundation, Great Outdoors Colorado, Larrk Foundation, New Belgium Family Foundation, Patagonia, and Thorne Nature Experience for their generous support!