The Telluride Institute collaborates with leading artists, scientists, and educators to make change happen through freethinking research. We are an innovative non-profit organization that fosters the transition to a sustainable world.

SUPPORTING THE HEALTH OF ENVIRONMENTS & CULTURES

The Telluride Institute was founded in 1984. Crossing continents, politics, and disciplines, our programs demonstrate innovative and practical methods for building and sustaining healthy communities and environments. We work to create and advance real solutions that support the well being of environments, cultures, and communities.

PROGRAMS

Working both locally and globally, the Telluride Institute creates and advances a variety of programs to support the health of cultures and environments. We inspire and inform a growing group of citizens to turn them into stewards who care for their surroundings and do business with the health of the San Miguel Watershed in mind.

(Use your mouse to hover over or click on the program images to learn more.)

  • Assisting classroom teachers in planning and executing full day and overnight field trips that are tied directly to their classroom curriculum and the Colorado State Standards.

  • TIES is an umbrella organization that provides a unique resource center for scientists, STEM educators, schools, students, and local citizens.

  • Inspired by Silverton climber, skier, author and deep ecologist, the late Dolores LaChapelle, Talking Gourds has become a poetry program sponsored by the Telluride Institute.

  • A new program of the Telluride Institute, Native-American legal scholar Walter Echo-Hawk has called out five parts to reconciliation - the incident, an apology, the acceptance of an apology, reparations or restitution of some kind, and finally a state of reconciliation.

  • Promoting dynamic change within the Telluride region, from big global themes we’ve refined and narrowed our sights and recent festivals have dealt with pressing local issues.

  • Dedicated to promoting sustainable development in the world’s mountain regions.

  • Held annually in Telluride, TMF celebrates all things mycological, from the newest advancements in mushroom science to our famous mushroom cook-off.

  • The library contains nearly 12,000 volumes comprising the most important books in the field, from the early nineteenth century until the present, almost all of them in first edition.

PROGRAMS

Working both locally and globally, the Telluride Institute creates and advances a variety of programs to support the health of cultures and environments. We inspire and inform a growing group of citizens to turn them into stewards who care for their surroundings and do business with the health of the San Miguel Watershed in mind.

(Use your mouse to hover over or click on the program images to learn more.)

  • Assisting classroom teachers in planning and executing full day and overnight field trips that are tied directly to their classroom curriculum and the Colorado State Standards.

  • TIES is an umbrella organization that provides a unique resource center for scientists, STEM educators, schools, students, and local citizens.

  • Inspired by Silverton climber, skier, author and deep ecologist, the late Dolores LaChapelle, Talking Gourds has become a poetry program sponsored by the Telluride Institute.

  • A new program of the Telluride Institute, Native-American legal scholar Walter Echo-Hawk has called out five parts to reconciliation - the incident, an apology, the acceptance of an apology, reparations or restitution of some kind, and finally a state of reconciliation.

  • Promoting dynamic change within the Telluride region, from big global themes we’ve refined and narrowed our sights and recent festivals have dealt with pressing local issues.

  • Dedicated to promoting sustainable development in the world’s mountain regions.

  • Held annually in Telluride, TMF celebrates all things mycological, from the newest advancements in mushroom science to our famous mushroom cook-off.

  • The library contains nearly 12,000 volumes comprising the most important books in the field, from the early nineteenth century until the present, almost all of them in first edition.

EXPLORE.

Our environmental education programs are offered throughout the San Miguel Watershed, creating a passion for nature and preparing students to excel in science, critical thinking, and civic responsibility.

CONNECT.

We provide a context for community-based conversations focused on issues ranging from housing, to energy, to cultural identity, through our “Ideas Festivals.” Participate in the dialogue…

DEFEND.

Join us as we fight to help defend our embattled natural world, reaffirm the right to voice our opinions and spread our grassroots activism. We provide a platform for new ideas and voices.

THE LATEST NEWS & EVENTS

THE LATEST NEWS & EVENTS

  • VIEW POST
    Mushroom Festival 2018 Schedule Now Available
    June 13, 2018
    The 2018 Mushroom Festival takes place August 16th-19th, 2018 in Telluride, Colorado. The schedule has been released and tickets are on sale,...
  • VIEW POST
    Explore Water Resources with Local Experts on June 20, 2018
    June 6, 2018
    A citizen science opportunity, free and open to the public! The Telluride Institute’s Watershed Education Program will host the second session of the...
  • VIEW POST
    Valley Floor Living Classroom Launches May 22, 2018
    May 15, 2018
    High school students and adults are invited to participate in hands-on science on the Valley Floor through a free and open-to-the-public series...
  • VIEW POST
    MycoLicious MycoLuscious MycoLogical Poetry Show August 18th, 2018
    May 14, 2018
    Shroompa and Wild Rose invite you to the MycoLicious MycoLuscious MycoLogical Poetry Show Saturday, August 18th, 2018, at 9 p.m. at the...
  • VIEW POST
    2018 Fischer Prize Winning Poems
    May 10, 2018
    First Place: Michelle Bitting, “Everything Crumbling Becoming Something New” Bitting Everything Crumbling Becoming Something New When my baby told me she wanted to be a boy...
  • VIEW POST
    2018 Fischer Prize Winners Announced
    May 9, 2018
    We are delighted to announce the 2018 Fischer Prize winners selected by our final judge, Joan Logghe of New Mexico. First Place:  
 Michelle...
  • VIEW POST
    Telluride Literary Arts Festival, May 18-20, 2018
    April 24, 2018
    For readers, writers, poets, and lovers of books! In May the Telluride Literary Arts Festival will be co-hosted by Talking Gourds in collaboration...
  • VIEW POST
    Letter from WEP Program Directors
    April 20, 2018
    Telluride Institute Launches 2018 Summer Program. Greetings to our Watershed Folks and those Beyond! The Watershed Education Program (WEP) staff is finishing up a...
  • VIEW POST
    2018 LitFest Schedule of Events
    April 19, 2018
    May 18-20, 2018 5th Annual Telluride Literary Arts Festival FRIDAY  •  May 18 7:30 pm / Spotlight featuring Diné poet Esther Belin and Colorado Mesa University poet John Nizalowski / Open mic...
  • VIEW POST
    Jake Burchmore Featured on Telluride Inside…and Out
    April 15, 2018
    Western State Colorado University students in the School of Environment & Sustainability plan a trip to the Himalayas to build a mountain partnership...
  • VIEW POST
    Guest Gourds with poet Claire Blotter
, April 19-24, 2018
    April 4, 2018
    Bay Area poet kicks off 
new Guest Gourds Tour The Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds poetry program announces a new Guest Gourds Tour bringing an...
  • VIEW POST
    Welcome Our New Friends: Ute Indian Museum in Montrose
    April 3, 2018
    Please welcome our new friends at the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose, Colorado. The Ute Indian Museum is a local history museum administered...

THROUGH THE YEARS

Rocky Mountain News called Telluride Institute “the World’s highest altitude think tank.”  Others have called us a “think-and-do-tank” because of the practical, hands-on, results-oriented nature of our programs.  We work both locally and globally. Learn more on our About page.

1984

Telluride Institute Established

Founded in 1984 to create strong local environmental and cultural activities in our corner of Colorado we're making change happen through freethinking research that has crossed continents, politics, and disciplines, our programs demonstrate innovative and practical methods for building and sustaining healthy communities and environments.
1985

First TI Ideas Festival

Promoting dynamic change in the region, our first Ideas Festival, “Reinventing Work,” saw the beginning of Telluride Institute with participants including British politician Shirley Williams, the Julliard String Quartet’s Robert Mann and then-Senator Al Gore.
Learn more about the Ideas Festival.
1987

Glasnost (Ideas Festival)

"Glasnost" (Ideas Festival), with participants contemplating the future:  Leonid Dobrohotov (Soviet Historian), Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute), John Naisbitt (Futurist),  and Tankred Golampolski.  Photograph by Richard Lowenberg.
1988

Perestroika (Ideas Festival)

"Perestroika" (Ideas Festival), the first event in the United States to be co-sponsored by a NGO and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR  (the only political party permitted in the USSR at the time).
1988 - 1993

Composer to Composer

"Composer to Composer" Experimental music festivals including John Cage, Morton Subotnick, and others.
1989

Housing the Community (Ideas Festival)

"Housing the Community"  (Ideas Festival), which inspired an ongoing effort by the local governments in the Telluride region to provide deed-restricted housing to the local workforce.
1991

Native American Writers and Artists Forum

Native American Writers and Artists Forum
1992

Water: The Upper San Miguel Watershed (Ideas Festival)

"Water: The Upper San Miguel Watershed" (Ideas Festival)  gave birth to the San Miguel Watershed Coalition, now an independent nonprofit group whose 2006 Watershed Report Card inspired the Institute to hold a lecture series addressing the issue that summer.
1992 - 1997

Radio Futures Project

Radio Futures project, which over five years saw more than 75 original Radio Plays performed on Telluride’s community radio station, KOTO.
1993

TeleCommunity (Ideas Festival)

"TeleCommunity" (Ideas Festival),  spawned the InfoZone, a project which made Telluride the first small town in the United States not affiliated with a university or corporation have direct dial-in to the Internet through a dedicated Internet POP tied to a pervasive community tele-computing network.  https://www.tellurideinstitute.org/infozone.html
1993 - 2000

Info-Zone

The InfoZone was one of the ground-breaking community networks world-wide, just as the Internet was being born.  Starting in the late '80s, it used the First Class BBS community networking platform, with many early users and online exchanges with other CNs. In 1993 it provided local citizens access to information technology and helped to direct this technology for community purposes. At the InfoZone's inception, Telluride became the first small town in the world to have direct local dial-in to the internet. The InfoZone provided free email, local and national news, conferences, and other community information.
2000

A Town Without Locals

"A Town Without Locals" explored the challenges of building a truly vibrant community without housing and economic opportunities for Telluride's full time residents.
2004 - present

Watershed Education Program

The main programming of the Watershed Education Program (WEP) is assisting classroom teachers in planning, preparing and executing full day and overnight field trips that are tied directly to their classroom curriculum and the Colorado State Standards. The programming uses the San Miguel River Watershed as the core element of a place-based curriculum that includes science, history, mathematics, language arts and art. WEP works in all the schools of the San Miguel River Watershed, including Telluride, Norwood, Nucla, Naturita and Paradox Valley.  All programming is provided FREE of charge to the schools.
2005

Black Bear Awareness Week

Black Bear Awareness Week helps people understand that bears are part of life in Telluride and the surrounding areas. There is always cause for concern regarding the safety of people and black bears in the area. So in an effort to educate about bears, Bear Awareness Week seeks to help people be safe.
2006

Centre for the Future Established

Centre for the Future established in Slavonice, Czech. The Center for theFuture’s mission is to improve both the human condition and the health of the planet by bringing together the multidisciplinary skills of scholars, educators, artists, scientists, business people, entrepreneurs, researchers, activists, organizers, community leaders  and politicians to bridge the gap between ideas and action, and speed the transition to a sustainable future.
2006 - present

Mushroom Festival Established

The Mushroom Festival has hosted Nobel Prize laureates, anthropologists, medical doctors, professors, psychonauts, writers, chemists, thought-leaders, religious leaders, and others famous in their respective fields.
2011

Atlas of the San Miguel

Atlas of the San Miguel:  Art, Education, and Community Engagement addressed the shifting ecological, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of the San Miguel Watershed. Organized by Dan Collins and Pam Zoline of the Telluride Institute, the project used art and technology as dual lenses for investigating the San Miguel river basin. The Atlas continues to grow and draws on local knowledge, scientific findings and creative response to craft an artful dialogue specific to the watershed. It is a springboard for visualizing and contemplating water as a cultural reflection, water as energy, as a connecting agent, the control of water, the complexity of water rights, public vs. private water, and water as aesthetic inspiration.
2011 - 2013

Compassion Festivals

Distinguished neuroscientists and representatives of wisdom traditions such as Tibetan Buddhism, Indigenous Native American, and Religious scholars have met to examine and discuss the nature of compassion.  Stanford University's CCARE Center and the Telluride Institute continue to work together to investigate the science,  the cultural practices, and the educational potential of compassion.  
2014

Talking Gourds Launched

Talking Gourds, a poetry program of the Telluride Institute, created and co-directed by Art Goodtimes of Norwood and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville.
2015

Valley Floor Living Classroom

Launch of the Valley Floor Living Classroom (building on the significant legacy of BVLC--Bridal Valley Living Classroom). High school students and adults can learn about the science of the Valley Floor through a free and open-to-the-public program called the Valley Floor Living Classroom.
2015

TIES (Telluride Institute Environmental Studies)

TIES (Telluride Institute Environmental Studies) serves as an umbrella for all of the Telluride Institute's environmental studies programming including the Fen Prospect Basin Project, the Watershed Education Program (WEP), the Valley Floor Living Classroom (VFLC), the Bridal Veil Living Classroom (BVLC), Diné Camp, Nature Rangers, the Watershed Expedition Series, the science and field studies components of the Mushroom Festival, the high mountain initiative called VERTEX, and our partnership with Arizona State University and the EPA called SCAPE.
2016

Housing Our Community (Ideas Festival)

After a hiatus, the Ideas Festival is back.  On September 9-11th, 2016, we convened a conversation on Housing our Community, echoing the 1989 Festival that helped spur on the region’s initial affordable housing programming.  Since then, the region has constructed more than 1,000 units of deed restricted housing that house more than 50% of the local workforce.  And yet, many still consider workforce housing to be our biggest issue locally.
2017

Clute Science Fiction Library

Launch of the new Clute Science Fiction Library based on the collection of long-time TI supporter, John Clute.