Our Mission: Inspire community support and advocate for the Outdoor Lab Schools.
Our Vision: Enduring program, inspired students, cherished sites.
The Outdoor Education Laboratory Schools (OELS) have been enriching the lives of sixth grade and high school students in Jefferson County since 1957.
Mount Evans and Windy Peak Outdoor Education Laboratory Schools allow students to explore and experience earth science, wildlife, biology, astronomy, and ecology in a unique mountain setting. By engaging the student in problem-solving, team building, decision-making, and social participation, the OELS program helps to prepare Jeffco students for successful futures.
Outdoor Lab develops stewardship of self, community, and environment in students. A distinct program within Jeffco Public Schools, Outdoor Lab exposes youth to the outdoors and develops passion and competencies in environmental awareness and conservation. It engages over 6,000 Jefferson County sixth-grade students per year in an immersive, residential, environmental, and civic education experience.
Moreover, Outdoor Lab recruits approximately 1,000 high school leaders and another 40 high school graduates as interns each year, making the overall experience one that is scaffolded and positively develops young people over multiple years in myriad respects. There are very few programs like Outdoor Lab in the country, and, as citizens, we are fortunate in Jefferson County to have it tied to our public school system.
The Outdoor Lab Foundation was established as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization to ensure the preservation and continuation of the OELS program. Our purpose is to support, enhance and advocate for the Jeffco OELS program. The foundation is forging relationships with businesses, community, and non-profit organizations to support the Outdoor Lab Schools. Through relationships with all interest groups, the Outdoor Lab Foundation advocates and inspires community support for Jeffco Public Schools' Outdoor Lab Program.
"What Colorado has to offer is Colorado. That time in the mountains, that time in nature, that time with animals-and the hands-on experience-is something kids can't duplicate anywhere else" OELS principal
"I cannot tell you how influential Outdoor Lab was in my life. I began taking pictures in the photo class that was offered in Outdoor Lab and I now have a passion for photography. I cast animal footprints with my son because I learned how in Outdoor Lab. Outdoor Lab is such an effective way of teaching that I didn't even realize I was learning. I look at my life today and I see what one week of Outdoor Lab has done for me." Jeffco graduate
"I find myself unable to handle the thought of my children missing out on the opportunity to attend Outdoor Lab. I believe that this is perhaps one of the most profound growing and learning experiences that these children will experience. It is a bonding experience between generations of Colorado families. " Jeffco parent