Education and Outreach

Creating Connection to Nature

Through partnerships with local organizations, corporations, and aligned members of the community, Rocky Mountain Conservancy works to fulfill its mission promote stewardship of Rocky Mountain National Park and similar lands through education and philanthropy. It is our goal to connect individuals with our majestic public lands by increasing access through programming.

If there is an opportunity to partner to help us fulfill our mission and goals, please reach out to us!

Carlie Bangs
Education Director
(970) 586-0108 ext 100

Families and Children

Children in Estes Park, CO now have access to outdoor experiences through Outdoor Exploration Club in partnership with Estes Park Elementary School. Students enrolled in club are exposed to a wide array of outdoor recreation and environmental topics such as hiking, community garden practices, adaptations and ecology of animals, careers in the outdoor industry, nature photography, rock climbing and more. This program is offered for free to families as a way to help with after-school childcare, while also promoting environmental conservation and stewardship to students. Outdoor Exploration Club has also helped to inspire our “Families on the Trail” series, which aims to promote positive, inter-generational outdoor experiences for young children and their caregivers. These family outings incorporate hiking, observation, and exploration to help inspire families to recreate together.

Registration for Spring Outdoor Exploration Club sessions opens soon!

Check out Families on the Trail here.

Bettie and our Magnificent Mountain Women

We are excited to offer new and exciting courses for our community and members. Beginning this fall, Rocky Mountain Conservancy Field Institute began offering Bettie Courses. These courses are named after Dr. Beatrice “Bettie” Willard, who inspired the educational seminars in the park and was one of the first instructors of the Field Institute programs. Bettie initiated some of the first alpine environment research in the early 60s, and focused her research on the tundra in Rocky Mountain National Park. Her research ultimately was instrumental to mountain ecology and management of the tundra in RMNP, and her land protection advocacy throughout the state of Colorado left a legacy for all women who value land stewardship and conservation. To honor and recognize this remarkable woman, these Bettie Courses were created to encourage women, and those that identify as women, to learn about conservation efforts and get outside.

In honor of Jan Robertson, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy board has created a scholarship fund to assist these programs. Jan Robertson served on the Rocky Mountain Conservancy board for 20 years and retired from her service in October 2023. She first toddled in Rocky Mountain National Park 80 years ago. Since then, often with her husband, she’s hiked, skied, climbed and backpacked in it so often that it’s her home. In the early decades, she saw almost no outdoor women going manless. In 1990, her book, Magnificent Mountain Women came out, documenting the many women who had connected with the mountains in meaningful ways. While exploring Rocky or climbing all of Colorado’s 14ers or hiking the 460-mile-long Colorado Trail in 1988, when it was dedicated, she almost never saw people of color. These days, while she sees a few more, they certainly aren’t visiting the park in numbers that reflect their populations. Encouraging minorities is one of her primary goals while serving on the Conservancy board, as is another equally important issue in this park: helping to find solutions to the high-volume visitor-use problems now facing this small national park.

It is our honor to dedicate these initiatives to the work these devoted women began.