GARNA's mission is to develop awareness of and appreciation for the resources of the Greater Arkansas River Area through educational activities, volunteer projects, community involvement and partnerships.
Operating for over 20 years, GARNA continues to serve the area by developing the awareness and appreciation for the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the Greater Upper Arkansas River Area. Through educational programs, volunteer projects, and community involvement GARNA is a primary connection to the area's diverse natural resources and colorful heritage.
Originally GARNA was created to assist the valley's public land managers, principally Bureau of Land Management; US Forest Service Salida Ranger District; Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Arkansas River Headwaters Area, by administrating their volunteer projects and community outreach efforts. Over the years, GARNA has not only continued to work closely with our agency partners through formal agreements and collaboration but has also become the 'go to' organization to administer county and state funded programs. Currently, GARNA administers both the Chaffee County Heritage Area and the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway.
GARNA is a membership association and serves the community by offering year-round adult and youth programming enabling visitors, full and part-time residents alike to connect with the land and community in ways that enrich their lives. Collaboration and cooperation with other non-profits and agency partners allow GARNA to tap into expert resources to enhance GARNA's programs and community outreach with professional experience and knowledge. GARNA continually strives to be an effective agent for conservation and stewardship of the area's rich and diverse resources.
"Loved the field trip…We are new to the area and are so impressed with GARNA and the variety of activities the organization sponsors. Thank you." - Beeyond the Hive Bee Program Participant
"We at Longfellow [Elementary] owe you all a very sincere, 'Thank You!!' for continuing to make available this great opportunity for kids to connect with their surroundings." -Mark, 3rd Grade Teacher
"My experience at the Community Garden was most enjoyable and definitely worth it. What a wonderful transformation. The people here put the COMMUNITY in this garden." -Trisha, Gardener
"Thank you for the field trip. I learned a lot about the different types of land areas and what lives there. My favorite thing was when we went down to the river and looked for different types of insects." -Savannah, 6th Grade Student
"GARNA is really great in teaching and every time I go out with you I learn something new. A new way of seeing my surroundings." -Monarch Mining Program Participant
"You guys were amazing! Super, super well organized, informative, fun, great exercise, great people and a perfect fit for 3rd grade." -Carol, 3rd Grade Teacher
"Thank you for the field trip. I really like collecting the little worms and fish because I got to be in the water." -India, 6th Grade Student