Archive for the ‘High Trails Outdoor Education Center’ Category

A Sense of Wonder

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Enjoying the sunset at Top of the World

Many of us can remember “a moment of wonder” at camp when time stopped as we watched a Red Tail fly through the sky, or when we witnessed a sunset so beautiful it took our breath away. Perhaps we were amazed by the stars glittering in the night sky, or by the colors of the wild iris in the field below Witcher Rocks. “To inspire a sense of wonder” has always been part of the mission of the camps, and we hope that everyone who comes to camp experiences many such moments at Big Spring and High Trails.

The importance of a sense of wonder for all of us, and especially for young people, cannot be over emphasized. Scott Barry Kaufman, author of “Wired to Create” recently spoke at an American Camp Association conference we all attended.  He provided research to show that a “sense of awe” as he termed it, greatly enhances curiosity and creativity, skills that are sadly diminishing among today’s youth. Other speakers at the conference demonstrated how the simple act of “noticing” in the natural world can lead to awareness, joy, and a deep connection with nature.

Use your imagination to build a fort like the Trappers would have done over a hundred years ago!

The term “sense of wonder” was coined by Rachel Carson in a 1956 essay. Though she planned to write a book on the subject, she died in 1963 before completing the project. However, her notes were used to create a book called “Sense of Wonder”, that was published posthumously in 1965.  When Carson wrote her essay, she was already seeing signs that many children no longer had access to the wild places that were abundant for our agricultural forbears.

Carson could not have predicted, however, the changes in society which have occurred in the past 60 years. In 2006, Richard Louv picked up Carson’s theme with his bestseller, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder”. The research is now significant and it all shows that children need time spent in the natural world in the same way they need food and sleep.  And, while we now understand the power of this need, studies also show that the amount of time children are spending in the natural world is decreasing each year.

Where will these seeds go?

Two significant, and simple, realizations have become clear through the research. One: it is through a personal connection to the natural world that a child experiences the most powerful benefits of a nature experience. This is the same emotional feeling described in the phrase “Sense of Wonder”. Two: young people are 90% more likely to experience this personal connection with nature if they explore the natural world with an adult mentor who also has a personal connection.

Rachel Carson was prescient in this; in her 1956 article she said “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”

“To inspire a sense of wonder” is still an important part of our mission and we are becoming ever more intentional about ensuring that each person who comes to camp leaves with a personal connection to the natural world. A sense of wonder can also be enhanced in a garden, a park, an alley, or just by looking at the stars. So go outside today, notice what is around you—and take a child with you.

News from Camp: October 1, 2015

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

We are enjoying spectacular Indian Summer days here at camp. The golden Aspen are at their peak and are stunning against the bright blue sky. We’ve been spying on the herd of elk at Potts Spring and have also seen deer, porcupines, wild turkeys, bobcats, and, of course, the fat black Abert squirrels. Many of our summer birds have headed south and the year-round bird residents are beginning to show up at our feeders more regularly.

Everyone at camp had a great time watching the lunar eclipse on September 27. It was a spectacular show from our location, and bugling elk in the background made it a night to remember!

Our outdoor education program with sixth graders from District 20 in Colorado Springs has been underway since mid-September. We also hosted a “No Child Left Inside” open house September 19 and were very happy to have many local families join us for a morning of hikes and nature-based activities led by our staff. We are very committed to doing everything we can to help young people connect with the natural world. The benefits are enormous—as Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder” says: “Children who have a personal connection with nature are happier, healthier, and smarter.”

At The Nature Place, Rob Jolly and his staff are busy working with the University of Denver on a team-building and leadership development program for DU’s MBA students. We have collaborated with DU on this program, where every MBA student spends a long weekend at The Nature Place, for over 15 years. The students rock climb, participate in an orienteering course, and work through many team-building scenarios, all of which teach values-based leadership.

The horses are grazing happily in Fishcreek where they are exceptionally appreciative of the lush green grass. They miss taking rides every day with their many friends but are already looking forward to next summer.

We are most excited about opening enrollment for another season of camp. The summer of 2016 will be our 68th and we are looking forward to sharing adventures, friendships and lots of fun. We have already begun enrollment, and additional enrollment information will be going out throughout the month of October. If you know of interested families, we’ll be happy to send our brochure and DVD. They can also request information from our website.

We hope you are having a fantastic Autumn!

News from Camp: September 1st, 2015

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Don't worry...This Window, That Window and The Other Window signs will be back!

It is much too quiet around camp   The fields, hills, and lodges are filled with great memories from the summer of 2015, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to spend this time with so many outstanding campers and staff.

One of our tasks during the weeks following camp is to collect and distribute all the lost and found items.  We have now mailed every major article which has a name to the owner.  We still have some jackets, boots, and other items of clothing which do not have names.  Please let us know if your camper is missing something and we will do everything we can to track it down and send it to you.

Our outdoor education program staff has arrived and we will begin welcoming sixth graders to High Trails Outdoor Education Center on September 8.  Among the summer staff who have returned to teach during this program are Mike Adler, Janie Cole, Melody Reeves, Jared Allen, Anne Ulizio, Nick Jordan, and Jalen Bazile. Patrick Perry, Carlotta Avery, Sarah Ulizio, and Jackson Blackburn will provide leadership for the program.

An outstanding hay crew consisting of Jim Larsen, Joe Lopez, Ian Stafford, Matthew Huffman, and Anne Shingler has been working hard to bring in our hay crop this year. The cattle and horses are very grateful for their work because the hay will provide their nourishment through the winter months.

Our maintenance crew has been busy since camp ended. They have completed a beautiful new over the road sign at the entrance to Big Spring and have almost finished a big job at the High Trails Lodge—installing new electricity, new paneling, and new windows. We think it will be a big hit with all the High Trails diners.

We have several exciting events this Fall in addition to our traditional schedule.  On September 4 we will be providing leadership training for students from School District 20 high schools.  We have developed this outstanding program over the past few years and are always excited to work with these motivated teens. And on September 19, we will again join with the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument to celebrate “No Child Left Inside Day” by hosting an open house.  We will be offering a program of nature-based activities and hikes for families who would like to get their children outdoors for the day.  There is no cost for the event.  We also have an Alum Reunion planned for October 15-18, and are looking forward to welcoming many old friends back to camp.

We are already thinking about next summer and have established our dates.  The first term at Big Spring and High Trails will be Sunday, June 12 – Tuesday, July 12, 2016. The second term will be Friday, July 15 – Sunday, August 14.  The four terms of Sanborn Junior will be June 12 – June 26, June 28 – July 12, July 15 – July 29, and July 31 -August 14.  We have sent this information to current camp families and will send additional information in October to camp families, former camp families, and prospective camp families. If you would like to receive our catalog and DVD or know someone who would, we will be happy to mail them at any time.

Each month we will post news from camp on the website, so keep checking it out!  Right now, a few gold leaves are showing on the Aspen, and the sky is incredibly blue.  A large herd of elk is hanging out at Potts Spring and the horses are wondering why no one comes each day to ride them.  We wish all of our camp friends a great beginning to the school year and hope that everyone will keep in touch.

News from Camp: April 1, 2015

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

The Pasque Flowers are blooming beautifully this year!

A few of our summer birds, including bluebirds and robins, have returned to the Ranch so we know Spring is on the way. We still have quite a few snow drifts scattered around, mostly on north-facing slopes, but the first Pasque flower of the season has been spotted. Temperatures have warmed up and the nice weather really inspires us to work hard on our many pre-summer projects. The summer staff will begin arriving in less than two months.

Speaking of staff, we have some great people returning for 2015!  At Big Spring, returning staff include Mike Adler, Hazel Coogler, Kevin Fernandez, Kevin Gassaway, Matthew Goodrid, Jake Gulliver, Peter Hoeller, Robert Hune-Kalter, Nick Jordan, Aaron Kilian, Jeremy Mabe, Evan Niebur, John Nowlan, Logan Parr, John Stewart, Alex Stoffel, Stephen VanAsdale, Ethan Wallgren and nurses Margot Cromack and Kristen Givens. Ian Stafford and Jackson Blackburn will once again be part of the Big Spring Leadership Team and Mike Mac will lead the staff, with the help of Assistant Director Matthew Huffman.
At High Trails, returning staff include Val Peterson, Gracie Barrett, Cade Beck, Megan Blackburn, Zena Daole, Shannon Gardner, Jenny Hartman, Jenna Howard, Maddie Jenkins, Avery Katz, Sarah LeBrun, Cara Mackesey, Annie McDevitt, Iska Nardie-Warner, Melody Reeves, Meghan Rixey, Kendra Shehy, Cheyenne Smith, Tully Sandbom, and nurse Molly Radis. Janie Cole will be Program Director, Carlotta Avery will take care of the camp kitchens and trip organization, Maren MacDonald will direct the riding program, Jessie Spehar will take photographs and Ariella and Elizabeth will keep everyone organized. We also have a great group of former campers returning as staff members, and some wonderful new staff who will join us for the first time.
We have begun our Spring outdoor education program and are excited to provide experiential, nature-based classes for 4th– 6th graders

The staff of High Trails Outdoor Education Center enjoyed learning and playing camp games out in the snow during the last couple days of March.

from 15 schools over the next six weeks.

Our April will be filled with putting the finishing touches on improved programs and trips for this summer, renovation projects to improve our facilities, hiring the last few summer staff and counting the days until camp begins.  We’ll be painting, cleaning, flying tents, and planting flowers in no time.
Our 2015 community is really coming together.  The First Term at High Trails is filled and there only a few openings left in the Second Term of High Trails.  Many grades in the First Term of Big Spring are filled, and Big Spring still has openings in most grades in the Second Term.  Some Sanborn Junior terms in both camps are filled.  Families interested for the summer of 2015 should call to check availability.  As always, we are happy to send our brochure, DVD and references to any interested families.
We can’t wait to begin creating the fun, adventure, and friendship of the Summer of 2015!

The Importance of Climbing

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Life is a gift, but some days it feels like a chore.  On those days, we can feel overloaded with the weight of responsibility, disappointment, and anxiety.  It’s important to push through those feelings because in the end, life is an adventure.  That’s one of the reasons it’s important to get outdoors.  More specifically, it’s important to climb mountains.

Climbing a mountain somehow resets your brain.  Ascending any peak, no matter its size, is an exhausting journey, a crazy trek.  It changes you as it challenges you.  Maybe it’s the lack of oxygen, but every time I climb a mountain I see the world in a new light.

I climbed my first mountain at camp many years ago.  School had ended, summer rolled around, I assumed I had three months of dullness to look forward to.  But then, my parents sent me to Sanborn.  Boredom went out the door.  I loved it.

It was that summer that I climbed my first 14er.   I’ll never forget that trip.  I remember getting dropped at the trailhead, our packs full.

At the trailhead, ready to climb

Counselors checked the maps, and we set out into the wilderness.  After many hours of hiking, we reached our basecamp.  Rising to the north was the cloud-covered mountain that we were driven to climb.  That night, we ate well, sang songs around the fire, and drifted to sleep in our little village of tents.

We woke long before dawn to find the counselors up and ready.  We crunched down some cold cereal and set out to climb the mountain.  The adrenaline was flowing, the spirit of adventure pushing us.  Hours passed, our line of headlamps bobbing up the steep trail, gaining altitude. I was exhausted and I wanted to give up.  But with encouragement from my counselors, I pushed on.

As early daylight broke on the mountain, we were able to see our progress.  I was encouraged by how high we had climbed.  In the valley below, our tents were so small they were hard to see.  And then we saw an eagle fly.  Not above us, but below us.  Looking down on that powerful bird as it soared across the sky was a shift for my brain.

We pressed on.  After a while, we could see the summit — it was only a few hundred yards away.  I was so excited I joined other campers and we ran… only to discover… it was a false peak.  We learned an important life lesson: don’t burn out racing up false peaks.  I was exhausted, but because of my counselors, because of how much they believed in me, I never gave up.  We pressed on.  It seemed like we were hiking across a lunar landscape.

Climbing a 14er

We were above tree line, no vegetation, the squeak of pikas all around us.  Hours moved like minutes.  We fought the wind and cheered each other on.  Finally, we scrambled over rocks that were billions of years old and reached the summit.  We did it.  There was a mystic silence as we stood on the peak and watched the sun rise over the Rockies.  I laughed with delight, bonding with my Big Spring brothers.  I couldn’t wait to climb again.

Standing on top is amazing, but the summit is not the goal.   The reason we climb a mountain is just that:  to climb.   One of my favorite climbs was years ago, when I was a counselor myself and our camp trip didn’t even reach the top.  A storm rolled in over Mount Harvard and pushed us down long before the summit.  We returned to base camp and took shelter from the cloudburst.  We still had a great climb.  It was an epic trip, long remembered, even though we didn’t make it to the top.  The goal is not only the summit, the goal is the journey, the strength you gain from the climb, and the memories.

Standing on top of the world

When we climb mountains, it clarifies our thinking.  The disorder of our lives — the argument with a friend, the bad grade in algebra — all of it is forgotten.  The mountain is all that matters.  It gives us perspective.  When we climb, the mountain speaks to us in geologic time, a slow-motion language, and it reminds us that that problems are fleeting and life is truly a gift.

~M.Huffman~

Jane Sanborn Receives Colorado College Spirit of Adventure Award

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Sanborn Western Camps and Colorado College have a long, storied history. The Admissions team used to hunker down at The Nature Place to finalize their annual freshman class; every summer (and many Outdoor Education seasons) we hire CC students and graduates as staff; we have relationships with many faculty members past and present; and we even have a few Colorado College graduates on our year-round staff. One notable Colorado College grad is our Executive Director, Jane Sanborn. Among other things, she credits Colorado College for her affinity for Shakespeare, for her witty editorial voice, and for her ability to solve multifaceted problems in creative ways.

This upcoming Saturday, October 11, 2014, Jane Sanborn will receive the Spirit of Adventure Award at Colorado College’s Opening Convocation Ceremony in Shove Memorial Chapel. The Spirit of Adventure Award is one of only four Alumni awards presented during Opening Convocation. 

This award “recognizes an alumnus/a, who exemplifies the unique CC experience through a life of intellectual, social or physical adventure. These attributes are characterized by Robert M. Ormes ’26, English Professor, Colorado College, 1952-1973 who was the inaugural award recipient.  He was an adventurer of the mind, body and the spirit which exemplifies much of what is special about Colorado College.”

The College profiled Jane in both a recent Alumni magazine as well as in the Homecoming registration materials and shared this biography and description:

“An adventurer’s spirit has guided Jane McAtee Sanborn ’70 throughout her career at Sanborn Western Camps/Colorado Outdoor Education Center, a nonprofit that focuses on teaching and practicing teamwork, perseverance, responsibility, independence, and critical thinking. As executive director, Jane leads Sanborn Western Camps, which involves 700 young people each summer in an active outdoor program. She oversees the High Trails Outdoor Education Center, which provides residential outdoor education programs for sixth graders. Through the Nature Conference Center, Colorado Outdoor Education offers programs for adults and families, in addition to providing outstanding team and leadership development programs for MBA students, educators, and corporate groups. Jane served two terms as president of the American Camp Association (ACA)-Rocky Mountain Region, and as a member of the ACA National Public Policy Committee. She currently serves as chair of the ACA National Conference and chair of the ACA National Children, Nature, and Camps Committee. She is a recipient of the Rocky Mountain ACA’s Distinguished Service Award, and the ACA’s National Service, and National Honor awards. Jane, who was a Boettcher Scholar at CC, served two terms on the Colorado Governor’s Advisory Committee for Child Care Licensing. Prior to serving as executive director of COEC, she was director of the High Trails Ranch for Girls Summer Camp for 30 years.”

At 11 a.m. on Saturday morning, Colorado College President President Jill Tiefenthaler and Alumni Association Board President Chris Moon Schluter ’65 will present the Benezet, Worner, Riley, and Spirit of Adventure Awards. Everyone is invited to attend this special ceremony that honors our distinguished award recipients and will feature remarks from President Tiefenthaler. Shove Memorial Chapel is located on the west side of Nevada Avenue between E Cache La Poudre and Uintah Streets.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday and to celebrating Jane’s adventurous accomplishments in both the community and in the world!

Building Interview #2: Quick’s Homestead

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

The gate is open and the wire and wooden post is covered in snow. Where are the juniors running around the campfire waiting for their chili mac to finish? I’ve seen a lot of light saber duals around this house, not to mention the amount of shady deals gone down in the feed-store-turned-saloon in front of the homestead. Soon school groups will be here. They will move from the tool shed to the caved-in potato cellar, across the wooden boards to the barn, and out to see the old carriages and plows rusted out and wood bleached from the sun in the field.

I interviewed the stove.

WM: What’s cooking?

S: Heh, not much.

WM: It was only a question, don’t get overheated!

S: Wow, that’s great.

WM: Thanks. You ever get to read the books in here?

S: Sometimes, but I’m not a big reader.

WM: What do you want to be when you’re older?

S: A Stove.

WM: Ha, good one. Uh… [WM shuffles through his pad of paper.] Ever heard of television?

S: Nope.

WM: A Jet Boil?

S: No.

WM: You hear how many retweets Ellen DeGeneres got at the Oscars?

S: Nope.

WM: Like over 2 million.

It’s hard to imagine, this winter flying back and forth home to Massachusetts, driving down to Colorado Springs to see a movie in 3D, driving to Crested Butte to ski for the weekend, that Quick’s is always here. That it always smells like this. That at 2pm the sun looks like this. The tools are lying just so, waiting for us to find them in the Spring and hand to wide-eyed children. I sometimes think the ground squirrels always hide in the rafters of the tool shed until I walk up, exploding across the wooden boards and vanishing with a flip of their tail out of sight.

WM: A microwave?

S: [She shakes her head.]

WM: It’s really neat, it’s got these buttons and you can make a hotdog in 45 seconds. 1 minute if you want it to split—

S: Look, can we wrap this up soon?

WM: Wait! Sorry I’m so nervous, it’s just… you’re my favorite stove.

S: [Stove brightens up.] OK. Let’s try again, then.

WM: Sorry about before. I didn’t mean to grill you.

Building Interview #1: High Trails Kitchen

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

High Trails Dish Room

Ian and I pull into the snowy High Trails “parking lot” after deciding not to do the Speedwagon as our first interview, or the High Trails Craft Barn, and that we probably didn’t have enough time to get out to Quicks and back before Ian’s interview, and so I roll down the Suburban’s window to open the door because there’s no handle inside the car, and realize I have no idea how one even conducts a building interview. I guess I figured we’d take an artsy picture, and I’d write some insightful, nostalgic stuff about how it looks in the wintertime.

WM: I really appreciate you taking the time out to do this.

HT Kitchen: Sure, no problem.

WM: So: is it lonely out here?

HT Kitchen: Excuse me?

WM: I mean, without all the kids.

HT Kitchen: It gets quiet, but no, I’m not lonely. I don’t mind the quiet.

WM: How many squirrels live inside here?

HT Kitchen: No squirrels.

WM: Alright… Well, you know, I actually heard—

HT Kitchen: Sorry, but what is all this about?

WM: [WM puts his hand over the microphone] Off the record, OK?

HT Kitchen: …OK.

WM: How many squirrels?

An Artsy Picture

None of Vicki’s tools hang from the bakery hooks. The cookie jar isn’t even out on the table, with a few careless crumbs at the bottom. There is no reason to be here, and it is colder inside the kitchen than in the bakery. The stainless steel of the dish machine looks like we’d just sprayed it with vinegar and wiped it with dishrags hung from our aprons. A Nalgene and red mug sit next to the faucet, and sump buckets and fork and knife and spoon buckets and the kitchen’s serving spoon/whisk/colored nonstick paring knife/soup ladle bucket all lie downside-up in what we affectionately call the other window.

WM: What’s your opinion on net neutrality?

HT Kitchen: There’s no wi-fi here over the winter.

WM: Great! I think that’s all I need.

HT Kitchen: That’s it?

WM: [WM stands and they shake hands] Yep. See you March 27th!

HT Kitchen: I mean, but if you want to come by before then, if you’re in the neighborhood or something, you could… I mean to say, if you had nothing else to do.

[WM stands, silhouetted by the setting sun behind him, and with enough orange afterglow to light his slow smile and his almost imperceptible, yet fully sincere, head-nod, he gathers his things and leaves.]

Winter Is Here…What Do We Do?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Fly-tying during Stalking Education in the Wild 2012

There are two questions a camp director dreads: 1. Why does toilet in Kinnikinnik look like a Yellowstone geyser? 2. What do you DO in the winter?

Both questions require thoughtful responses (but the first question might also require a plunger and a biohazard suit).  Beyond hiring the 120 broadly talented seasonal staff members, recruiting 600 unique and fantastic campers, connecting with our alums, designing new programs like the Sanborn Semester, organizing mission-centric educational opportunities like Stalking Education in the Wild or our annual No Child Left Inside Family Fun Day, hosting the ACA Rocky Mountain Section regional conference, sending birthday cards (over 10,000 annually), and operating The Nature Place and High Trails Outdoor Education Center, we are committed leaders and educators in the field of youth development and in the camp profession.

As the culture shifts, camp is taking its rightful role as an important component in the year round education of every child.  COEC Board Member Rod Lucero said in a recent article in Camping Magazine, “One concept that emerges from most every camp activity schedule is the idea of “fun.” While “fun for fun’s sake” is a worthy goal, I would contend that fun with an articulated focus on education transcends the camp experience and extends to the pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade classrooms.”  Sandy and Laura Sanborn believed in “fun and adventure with a purpose.” And we, like Rod, believe that “the purpose is education, and as the camp has evolved and grown, this mantra has remained fundamental to every aspect of the good work being done there.”

One of the 101 Nature Activities: Find a Tree Hike

Everything begins at home and we are committed to professional development of our year round and seasonal staff.  Through conferences, training sessions, and skill development workshops, our staff not only represents a seasoned group of camp professionals, we actually lead, teach, and design many training sessions for others in the camp community.

The National Convention of the American Camp Association was held in Atlanta in mid-February, and we participated in full force.  Executive Director, Jane Sanborn, was the program chairperson for this year’s conference (as well as for the upcoming 2013 National Conference in Dallas, TX) and worked on an outstanding educational program for many months.  Chris, Elizabeth, and Ariella led educational sessions at the conference. Mike, as President of the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Camp Association, participated in all of the leadership events held at the conference. COEC Board member Rod Lucero presented one of the keynote addresses, and Julie, David, and Carlotta attended the conference.

Additionally, Jane, Elizabeth, and Ariella have written curricula and participated as webinar panel experts for the ACA’s e-Institute.  The ACA just released a 15 hour online Certificate of Added Qualification for Middle Managers, and Ariella was one of the four writers of the curriculum.  Jane is the chair of the ACA’s Children, Nature and Camps Committee and co-authored the best-selling, “101 Nature Activities for Kids” with Elizabeth.

Then there is the hard skill training: BC is a AMGA (American Mountain Guide Association) Certified Top and Bottom Managers and supervise our rock-climbing staff; we train using the most current ACCT Ropes Course certification model; all of our summer trip leaders have WMI/NOLS Wilderness First Aid certification; we have an on-site Red Cross Lifeguard course; we require our peer supervisors (ridge leaders, wranglers, kitchen coordinators) to attend a specialized Supervisor Workshop; and all of our trip leaders go through a comprehensive Trip Leader and 15 Passenger Van Driver Training…plus all staff are certified in CPR and Standard First Aid and participate in our 10 day Staff Week training. This training includes everything from the latest in youth development research to experiential teaching techniques.  Whew!

Winter=Time to Turn Our BIG Dreams into Reality!

We are invested in the experience and our own continued growth and development.  We are actively involved in building a more professional camp and educational experience for ALL children through our staff development and the variety of outreach and educational sessions we lead.

This is a big part of our “purpose” and it is one we take pride in.   And with Jane repeating as program chair for the 2013 American Camp Association National Conference, we will continue to take a professional lead in the camping and youth development industry.

So we actually do work in the wintertime…maybe that is why summer is so darn incredible!

October News Update

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Follow the Yellow-leafed Road

We are enjoying spectacular Indian Summer days here at camp.  The golden Aspen are almost at their peak and are stunning against the bright blue sky.  We’ve been spying on the herd of elk at Potts Spring and have also seen deer, porcupines, wild turkeys, bobcats, and, of course, the fat black Abert squirrels.  Many of our summer birds have headed south and the year-round bird residents are beginning to show up at our feeders more regularly.

Our High Trails Outdoor Education Center program with sixth graders from District 20 in Colorado Springs has been underway since mid-September. We also hosted a “No Child Left Inside” open house last Saturday and were very happy to have many local families join us for a day of hikes and nature-based activities led by our staff.   We are very committed to doing everything we can to help young people connect with the natural world.  The benefits are enormous—as Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder” says:  “Children who have a personal connection with nature are happier, healthier, and smarter.”

On October 12-14, we are looking forward to hosting “Stalking Education in the Wild”, our outdoor education workshop for teachers, camp staff, naturalists and others who work with young people.  The workshop includes sessions on everything from geology and outdoor teaching techniques to creative writing and international folk dance.

At The Nature Place, Rob Jolly and his staff are busy working with the University of Denver on a team-building and leadership development program for DU’s MBA students.  We have collaborated with DU on this program, where every MBA student spends a long weekend at The Nature Place, for over a decade.  The groups rock climb, participate in an orienteering course, and work through many team building scenarios, all of which teach values-based leadership.

The horses are grazing happily in Olin Gulch and High Tor, where late summer rains helped to produce some tasty green grass.  Soon, they will head out to winter pasture at Fishcreek.

We are most excited about opening enrollment for another season of camp.  The summer of 2013 will be our 65th and we are looking forward to sharing adventures, friendships and lots of fun.  We have already begun enrollment, and additional enrollment information will be going out throughout the month of October.  If you know of interested families, we’ll be happy to send our brochure and DVD.  They can also request information from our website.  We hope you are enjoying the photos from the summer of 2012 which are appearing each month on our website.

We hope you are having a fantastic Autumn!