Mission and History
Yampatika’s mission is to inspire environmental stewardship through education. Our main goal, broadly defined, is to develop environmental learning opportunities that serve the children and adults of Northwest Colorado. Established in 1992 as the “Yampatika Outdoor Awareness Association,” Yampatika continues to be the only non-profit organization that offers a continuum of educational services to children and adults ranging in age from pre-K to senior citizens in Routt, Moffat and Jackson Counties.
We recently opened the Yampa Valley’s first ever Environmental Learning Center at the City of Steamboat Springs’ owned Legacy Ranch. The historically significant ranch provides a rural backdrop for cutting edge environmental educational programs that are delivered to youth through summer camps, school field trips and service learning opportunities. Our growing program for at-risk youth provides Boys and Girls Club members unique winter camp programs to complement their indoor activities. Adults can visit the site for a self-guided walking tour, or join one of our talented Naturalists to snowshoe through the extensive hay meadows that are preserved in perpetuity through a conservation easement.
The Environmental Learning Center integrates “green” and “historic” through sustainable technologies like solar energy production, organic and heirloom gardening, composting and energy efficiency site improvements. Through model programs we strive to help people of all ages learn how to reduce their carbon footprint. Recent awards for these efforts include a 2009 recognition as a “New Pioneer of the Yampa Valley,” a 2010 State Honor Award, and a 2011 “Sustained Contributor Award,” recognizing Yampatika as an organization that leads by example in the field of environmental sustainability.
Yampatika is part of a statewide and national movement to create systemic change in our school system. Working with the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education, we intend to advance environmental literacy in our state. Our 20 year history of providing environmental education programming and teacher training to local school has uniquely positioned us to create a model environmental literacy program in Routt County. The program, “No Child Left Inside: A Curriculum for Place-based Education in Routt County” reaches four school districts and nearly 1,000 students per school year at the K-5 level. Results indicate that it is helping students achieve academically and increasing their propensity towards environmental stewardship.
Each year Yampatika’s environmental education programs reach nearly 15,000 youth and adults. Our programs provide people safe, enjoyable, and educational outdoor activities that instill a sense of environmental stewardship.
Yampatika’s offices are currently located in the US Forest Service Building in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where we have a small Nature Center. Center visitors can view displays of local wildlife and cultural artifacts.
We like to say that we are small but mighty. Our operations grow and shrink seasonally and at any given time we may have up to ten people on staff, or as few as five. Like many other non-profit organizations, we are forever indebted to the hundreds of volunteers who contribute thousands of hours to Yampatika each year.