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Evaluation Report 2015: Cottonwood Institute Programs Have Life-Changing Impact

Cottonwood Institute (CI) is wrapping up another phenomenal programming year and is excited to report about the life-changing impact its programs are having on its students. Thanks to a generous grant, CI was able to work with Maggie Miller Consulting to help improve CI’s evaluation methods, measure progress towards its short-term outcomes, and share program successes with funders. Information from CI’s 2015 Evaluation Report include findings from evaluation methods, including student reflection papers and surveys.

We all make an impact, but it is up to the individual to choose what impact we make. Whether we make a positive difference or a negative one our attitudes make that distinction. We all have the potential to change the world and save it if we take advantage of one another’s specialties and recognize the beneficial distinctive features in ourselves. Community Adventure Program Student

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Here are a few key findings from the report:

  • Students desire to learn more about the environment: 92% of participants from field-based programs agreed with the statement that, “I want to learn more about ways to help the environment.”
  • Applicable knowledge of local environmental issues: 100% of Community Adventure Program students agreed that they learned about environmental problems or issues.
  • Students sense of responsibility towards the environment: 93% of participants from field-based programs agreed that it is their job to help the environment.

I wish all subjects caught and held my attention like this class did, because I feel like I learned things that are actually useful in real world situations. Community Adventure Program student

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  • Students’ sense of friendship and connection with others in the program: These people became my friends…I trust them and they trust me. There is a bond that many other classes don’t have.
  • Students’ feeling of empowerment after the program: I feel more comfortable in my school and in my own skin, which may as well increase the quality of everyday life for me. I am more confident in my ability as a student to make a change than ever.
  • Students recommend the program to others: 97% of field-based program participants said they would recommend the program to others.


It is obvious from these evaluation efforts that Cottonwood Institute is fulfilling its intended short-term outcomes with tremendous success. The numbers speak for themselves, and the student voices support the numbers.

Click here to download a full copy of the 2015 Evaluation Report.

A special thanks to Maggie Miller, Madeline Bachner, Taryn Longberry, Jessi Burg, Cascade Lawrence Yee, and Brian Fauver for all of their hard work collecting, inputting, and analyzing data from our 2015 programs.

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help set Cottonwood Institute up for success in 2016.


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