Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) announced that the Nature Kids/Jovenes de la Naturaleza (NKJN) Coalition in Lafayette, CO, which Cottonwood Institute is a lead partner for, won a $2.8M Inspire Initiative grant!
NKJN will focus on a one-square mile area, in a network of public schools serving the lowest income children in the Boulder Valley School District. Youth living in these neighborhoods lack nearby outdoor spaces to play, safe routes to walk or bike to school, and outdoor programming tailored to their community, where more than half the population is Latino.
NKJN engaged more than 200 individuals of all ages to design the vision funded by this GOCO grant, benefiting youth and families whose children attend Sanchez, Pioneer, and Ryan Elementary Schools; Angevine Middle School; and Centaurus High School. Nearly 40 organizations, led by Thorne Nature Experience, will work together to take a scaffolded approach to providing a spectrum of outdoor experiences from the backyard to the backcountry.
Just over $1.2 million of the grant will be dedicated to building a new community park at Sanchez Elementary along with a trail to connect this park to nearby neighborhoods. Eighty two environmental education, outdoor recreation, and pathway-to-employment programs will be used to connect youth to nature and the outdoors and to enable them to build a career in the outdoor recreation or natural resource industries.
Cottonwood Institute will provide its core program, the Community Adventure Program (CAP), for middle school students at Angevine Middle School and for high school students at Centaurus High School in Lafayette, CO beginning in the fall of 2017.
NKJN won the grant with the leadership of Keith Desrosiers, Executive Director of Thorne Nature Experience, Cottonwood Institute, Boulder Valley School District, Cal-Wood Education Center, City of Lafayette, and CU Science Discovery. This is a big win for the youth of Lafayette! A huge thanks goes out to the Great Outdoors Colorado Board who chose to invest in the vision of this project and the youth of Lafayette!