Collaboration among Local Nonprofits Helps Connect Youth to the Land
by Bergen Tjossem
Eagle County, Colo. July 13, 2016 – Eagle Valley Land Trust (EVLT) and Walking Mountains Science Center have entered into an agreement to collaboratively connect youth with conserved land. This partnership leverages EVLT’s conserved properties with Walking Mountains’ outdoor natural science programs for children. With the goal of reducing redundancy, playing to organizational strengths, and working together to serve the community, this agreement helps EVLT deliver its Future Conservationists youth education program and helps Walking Mountains deliver a more robust curriculum to its youth participants in their programs like Girls in Science and Summer Science Camps.
Walking Mountains’ youth programs provide a variety of field science and after-school programs for local and visiting youth. Working in conjunction with the local school district and private schools, Walking Mountains serves children in Eagle County through natural science programs that take place in nature, complement classroom curricula, and help narrow the achievement gap by enhancing scientific and environmental literacy. After-school programs such as Girls in Science, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Leadership Academy, and summer science camps provide opportunities for greater exploration for students interested in science and the environment. These programs serve more than 4,400 youth annually.
EVLT’s programs include land conservation, annual monitoring of conserved lands, and educating the public about the importance of land conservation, which also attracts visitors and supports public health. Conservation easements held by EVLT on 30 properties, forever protect over 7,700 acres of outstanding scenic open space, sensitive wildlife habitat, productive agricultural land, and important recreational access in Eagle County. EVLT’s Future Conservationists Program, sponsored by Vail Resorts Epic Promise, seeks to instill a strong land conservation and stewardship ethic by teaching youth about our choices regarding the future uses of our lands, a limited resource.
Walking Mountains will assist EVLT in delivering the Future Conservationists program by highlighting within their curriculum the role of EVLT’s work in land conservation and stewardship. Because of EVLT’s unique access to private property, extensive relationships with landowners, and access to conserved lands, they will provide Walking Mountains with access to new and varied places to run their programs.
The intention of this agreement has far wider implications for the community. It will provide a model for EVLT and Walking Mountains to partner collaboratively and creatively in the future. The agreement also creates a model for other environmental nonprofits to engage in formal partnerships to further reduce redundancy and increase community environmental impact.
About Eagle Valley Land Trust
EVLT’s mission is to preserve forever our scenic vistas, open space, historic lands, waterways, and wildlife habitats that represent the uniqueness of Eagle County and the central Rocky Mountains for the enjoyment, education, and benefit of all who experience this special place. Visit evlt.org or call 970.478-7654 for more information.
About Walking Mountains Science Center
Walking Mountains Science Center’s mission is to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education. Visit walkingmountains.org or call 970.827.9725 for more information.