Yampatika is a non-profit environmental education organization serving residents and visitors in NW Colorado. We are the only organization in the Yampa Valley focused on common sense environmental stewardship for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.
Our promise is a community of environmentally literate and engaged citizens. We accomplish this through programs that provide science, outdoor, and place-based information that helps individuals better understand and experience the world around them and inform their decisions.
Our programs seek to have participants experience a wondrous sense of connection. We want participants to leave our programs connected, inspired, and empowered. We create and deliver engaging, science-based environmental education experiences that connect people and their sense of place in the natural world.
• Youth Camps - Yampatika hosts its summer camp program for kids ages 5 - 11 years for 10 weeks of the summer. This summer was the first year in many that we were able to host campers between 9 - 11 years of age. We had a total of 319 camper weeks and 179 individuals participate in our camp. Camps were at or near capacity the entire summer with sizable waitlists. By providing interactive environmental education and focusing all activities outdoors, we can immerse our campers in positive outdoor experiences and grow their love for the outdoors. Yampatika offers close to $20,000 in scholarships each year to make our camps more accessible to all.
• School-based Programs - Yampatika’s school-based programs bring environmental educators into Pre-K- 12th grade classrooms to share science-based information about a wide diversity of topics from water conservation, watershed function and river health, bear awareness, geology, local flora and fauna, sustainability and much more. Much of our programming occurs outdoors and on field trips rather than in classrooms and we focus on hands-on, place-based, experiential learning. Currently we offer approximately 60 modules - all of which meet Colorado Academic Standards and are reviewed and updated on an annual basis. Yampatika offers school programming throughout Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Jackson Counties. In all our programming we aspire to cultivate the next generation of informed and engaged environmental stewards. During the 21/22 School Year, Yampatika provided programming to 2,579 students in 148 classrooms in the four-count area.
• Out-of-School/School Days Off - Yampatika also provides environmental education programming through school days off and after-school programming by collaborating with childcare providers in the region such as Boys and Girls Club, City of Steamboat Springs and local schools to offer environmental education in these out-of-school programs. Last year, 451 students participated in out of school programming, and 128 homeschool youth participated in these programs.
Adult and Family Programs
Currently, the majority of Yampatika’s adult/family programs focus on providing interpretative tours (often at no cost) at high-interest destinations in the Yampa Valley. For example, each year, we offer regular interpretative tours at:
• Fish Creek Falls
• Mad Creek (geology and historical hike in partnership with Tread of the Pioneers)
• Wildflower and medicinal herb hikes (various locations)
• Photography hikes (various locations)
• Wildlife ecology hike (various locations)
• Fall foliage (various locations)
• Uranium Mine Snowshoe Tour
• Moonlight Snowshoe on Rabbit Ears Pass
• Family Nature Hikes and Snowshoe Tours (various locations and seasons)
Each year, Yampatika hosts several community events aimed at raising awareness about the programming we offer and the groups with which we partner. These community-wide events offer fun avenues to share environmental education and stewardship information to families and adults.
• Fall Fest - In September each year we host a fun and interactive festival featuring environmental education and showcasing the work of our many partner their role in the community.
• Spring Festival - Each year we host a Spring Festival event, which highlights the seasonal change and shares lessons for gearing up for summer activities.
• Wild Edible Feast - Another Annual event is our popular Wild Edible Feast (WEF), which takes place each May. WEF is our largest fundraiser and has been taking place annually for 23 years. Every May our experts forage edibles in the Yampa Valley for chefs to curate into unique dishes highlighting the stunning diversity of our ecosystems and plant life - the result is a fun evening of thoughtfully prepared meals featuring foraged foods. This gathering not only highlights the natural and cultural bounty of our local flora but provides education about the local ecosystem.
• Other – Yampatika regularly participates in partner festivals such as USFS Family Nature Night (SOLE), Moose Festival, and Yampa River Fest.
These events serve to educate residents and visitors about the local ecosystem and cultural history.
Through all our programs combined we reach approximately 20,000 residents and visitors each year, which amount to hundreds of thousands of people over the past three decades. As we reflect back on how our programming has reached so many people and helped to plant and grow an interest in and passion for our natural systems and special places, we must also think ahead about the future challenges our local ecosystems will face, how we can better understand, manage and prepare for these impacts, and how we can reach an even wider cross-section of the community (e.g. Moffat, Rio Blanco, and Jackson counties, Spanish-speaking populations) to communicate how to steward these landscapes amidst this change.
As we navigate this unknown future, one thing is clear - environmental education is an important key in the puzzle of determining how we can work as a community to protect and manage our natural resources. Yampatika gladly solicits your input and asks for your financial support as we develop strategies for accomplishing this into the future.
Yampatika’s Wish List
$500 – Help us purchase books and materials for in-school programs.
$1,000 – Help us cover the cost of hiring a Spanish interpreter for four family-friendly interpretive hikes.
$2,500 – Help us establish a student-based year-round water quality monitoring program in the Yampa Valley.
$5,000 – Help us hire professional facilitation services and develop a strategic plan that integrates community input and sets out a vision for the organization for the next 5 years.
$7,500 - Help us cover a year’s worth of travel to South Routt, Craig and Hayden to deliver environmental education programming to pre-K-12 classrooms.
$10,000 – Help us offer retirement benefits to our hard-working staff for the first-time in the history of the organization.
$25,000 – Help us establish a scholarship fund for youth-in-need to be able to attend our Summer Camp.
$50,000 – Help us hire another full-time educator who can allow us to better meet the demand for in-school programming throughout Northwest Colorado.
$100,000 – Help us build up our reserves so that Yampatika can remain a financially solvent organization and weather future changes.
$500,000 – Help us establish an endowment that will provide ongoing support for critical programming and serve as a legacy fund for many years to come.
$1,000,000 – Help us build a Nature Center that will serve as a permanent facility for providing interactive and engaging environmental education for the Yampa Valley.