The Watershed Education Program is one of the Telluride Institute’s most impactful programs. Help us get kids and teachers into the living classroom right outside their door; become a supporter of the Watershed Education Program.

“Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for Nature. Properly cultivated, these values can mature into ecological literacy, and eventually into sustainable patterns of living.” (Zenobia Barlow, Confluence of Streams)

Nuts & Bolts Donor
Supply Needs: $50 – $500

Keystone Gorge Donor
Sponsor one Full-Day Trip: $400

Norwood Canyon Donor
Sponsor one Multi-Day Trip: $700

Tabeguache Creek Donor
Sponsor one Overnight: $800

Confluence Donor
Sponsor one Snowshoe Overnight: $1200

Bridal Veil Donor
Sponsor Multiple Trips

What Goes Into the Cost of a Program?

Planning/Curriculum Prep: One of the core elements of WEP field trips is the fact that the programming is tied directly to the classroom teachers’ curriculum. The process begins with personal visits to each participating classroom teacher, follow-up emails and phone calls. Once a subject area and topic are decided upon, the WEP staff create a field program and curriculum and present it to the teacher. The program is then worked and tweaked until it exactly fits the needs of the teacher and their students. Once the program is finalized, a date is chosen and booked. Prior to the trip the WEP staff then must contact and book all guest experts, field researchers, site visits, and any other aspects of the trip. If the trip is a snowshoe overnight, the WEP staff also books and collects all gear necessary for the trip and shops for and packs all the food for the trip.  * Some field trips require a pre-teaching visit to the classroom to provide solid groundwork and to maximize effectiveness the day of the trip.

Field Work: The day of the field trip the WEP staff accompanies the class on the entire trip. This usually involves meeting the class at their school, traveling with them on the district provided transportation and returning to the school at the end of the day. On trips where the class size is less than 40 WEP provides one staff member; on trips where the class size exceeds 40, WEP provides two staff members. (This is why the dollar amounts are approximate. Larger classes require more WEP staffing the day of the trip.) On overnights the WEP staff stays with the class the entire time, including the night of camping. The WEP staff also books the camping site.  The WEP staff conduct the entire trip, with complete interaction between the students, guest experts, field staff and site staff. The WEP staff also conduct any field research, data collection, writing and art lessons, and any other elements of the curriculum.

Follow Up: Once a field trip is completed, the WEP staff provide the classroom teacher with a survey. These surveys ask what worked, what did not, and for future suggestions.  The WEP staff then analyzes the surveys, reviews the trips and records all suggestions. The WEP staff also fills out complete trip documentation that includes the curriculum outline; all field experts, guest lecturers, site visits; number of students served; any other pertinent information. The WEP staff also keeps a photographic record of each trip. These are uploaded into a WEP site, labeled and dated. Finally, the WEP staff sends a personal thank you to each guest expert that participated or presented during the trip.

WEP offers all services FREE OF CHARGE to the schools. WEP raises the funding through grants, foundation donations, and private donations.

Additional WEP Programming:

  • WEP conducts the summer program San Miguel Nature Rangers. For one morning each week for 10 weeks of the summer WEP provides free programming for children ages 6-9. The program is in conjunction with the Telluride Open Space Commission and is based in the Bear Creek Preserve and on the Telluride Valley Floor. It includes nature walks, art projects, natural history, flora and fauna lessons and games.
  • WEP works in conjunction with the Telluride Academy to provide weekly educational programming for their summer camps from June through August.
  • WEP provides educational and environmental puppet programs for every pre-K through 1st grade class in the watershed.
  • WEP works in conjunction with Dine College to conduct a regional week-long summer camp for Navajo youth ages 9 – 15.
  • WEP conducts the Watershed Expedition Series for adults several times a year. This series highlights local adventurers and their experiences and travels to watersheds the world over.

You are always welcome to send your tax-deductible donations using a check or money order made out to The Telluride Institute, Inc. at:

P.O. Box  1770
Telluride, CO   81435

To donate to WEP online, go to our “Donate Page“. From there, you can specify that you would like your donation to go to the Watershed Education Program. Thank you again for your support!