What we do:

The Watershed Education Program (WEP) provides hands-on education for grades K-12 in the San Miguel, from its headwaters in the high alpine zone down to the confluence of the San Miguel with the Dolores River. Our main focus 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. We use the San Miguel River Watershed as the core element of a place-based curriculum that includes science, history, mathematics, language arts and art and offer different programs each season. 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. WEP raises the funding through grants, foundation donations, and private donations.


A commitment to contribute to the raising of a generation of informed stewards of place and community.

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To use the San Miguel Watershed as a non-arbitrary, place-based teaching tool of physical, ecological, hydrological, cultural, historical, and economic relationships. Exploration, study, and creative, hands-on learning within such a matrix is more interesting, vivid, and in the end, more meaningful and memorable.


“Progress does not have to be patented to be worthwhile. Progress can also be measured by our interactions with nature and its preservation. Can we teach children to look at a flower and see all the things it represents: beauty, the health of an ecosystem, and the potential for healing?”   (Richard Louv, Author of Last Child in the Woods)

Thank you to our ‘bridal veil’ supporters & grantors:

The Lifton-Zoline Family Foundation
Audrey Marnoy
Stuart and Joanna Brown Charitable Fund
Just for Kids Foundation
San Miguel County
Town of Telluride (CCAASE)
Telluride Foundation

For further information, please contact WEP Director, Garrett Smith at:
(520) 661-6260 or garrett@tellurideinstitute.org
PO Box 1770, Telluride, CO 81435​