Cottonwood Institute (CI) addresses 4 primary challenges: 1. Many public school students are bored. They are told what to learn, they are not in the driver's seat of their own learning, they don't have a voice, and they don't see how what they are learning is relevant to the real world. 2. Many public schools are not teaching students the skills they need to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, leaders, or to have a strong work ethic to prepare students for college or the workforce. 3. So many students that CI works with see the mountains every day and have never been because there are too many barriers to get outside and explore the outdoors. We can't expect students to care about the environment if they never have the opportunity to explore outdoors. 4. There are so many environmental issues facing our communities, but many middle and high school students lack the awareness, knowledge, and skills to do something positive to address these issues.
CI collaborates with schools and youth organizations, primarily middle and high school students, to deliver high quality, high impact environmental education and service-learning programs during the school day for academic credit that are designed to: 1. Help students exercise their voice through its hands-on, student-centered programming model. 2. Provide students with an authentic opportunity to become leaders and to do something positive to address real world issues they are passionate about in their communities. 3. Remove barriers to explore the outdoors, including gear, food, transportation, and profession instruction.
CI is committed to investing in the next generation, especially underserved students in Colorado. While CI appreciates 1 time gifts, long-term, multi-year, unrestricted gifts help ensure CI's long-term sustainability as well as its program long-term sustainability and success.