El Paso County Nature Centers connect people to their natural and cultural resources and inspire them to become stewards for our parks and the environment.
The Friends of El Paso County Nature Centers has provided outstanding volunteer service to El Paso County citizens and visitors for over 40 years. The volunteers are made up of college students, young professionals, and retired citizens, including teachers, nurses, and doctors. After extensive training, the docents lead environmental education programs at Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Centers and serve as information specialists at the reception desks.
Over the years, millions of visitors of all ages from all walks of life, including more than two million school children, have regarded our nature centers as very special places. These visitors have enjoyed countless programs from our volunteers to learn about our natural, cultural, and outdoor recreation heritage. Known to our citizens as county-wide community treasures, Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Centers offer meaningful programs and activities that remain affordable for everyone, encourage wise use of our natural resources, and attract visitors from all over the nation and the world.
In 1993, the Friends incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For the past 15 years, the Friends have expanded their mission beyond leading outdoor educational programs to include providing financial support. During recent years, the Friends has been successful in raising funds to assist in supporting new exhibits at Bear Creek Nature Center following an arson fire in May, 2000, and in providing educational program funding support for Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Centers. The current economic downturn combined with El Paso County's financial crisis has created an urgent need for the NDO. The organization stepped up in 2008 and contributed an additional $85,000 to keep the Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Center doors open!
"We can't say enough about the kindness and professionalism of the staff and young volunteers. The excitement shown by staff excites the kids!"
"We definitely plan on signing up for this camp again next year!" "This is a top-notch program…a truly magical and memorable experience for my kiddo."
"The staff makes each camp special: they remember the children." Kathy
"As a former teacher and current mother, I am impressed with the staff, programs and setting for the camp."
"Thank you so much for the great experience at the nature center. We had a wonderful, educational time. I was extremely impressed with how you interacted with our students and involved them in so many activities. I know they will always remember their encounter with the deer!
Principal, Lorraine Middle School
" I appreciated the small environment, high staff ration, and ability to keep siblings together, and the great combination of structure and fun."
Thank you so much for the wonderful tour of the center and nature hike. The kids will be talking about it for a long time. The moms also got a lot out of the hike. Thank you for your terrific patience and gracious attitude! It is obvious that you enjoy the outdoors.
The Vight Family