Delta OUT (Outdoor Understanding for Teachers)
Colorado Parks & Wildlife and Friends of Youth & Nature
2023 Innovative EE Program Award Recipient
Delta OUT reaches teachers and schools in Delta, Montrose, and Ouray counties surrounded by canyons, rivers, and mountains as a jeweled resource for place-based outdoor learning opportunities. CPW staff and partners provide four 1-day OUT trainings a year focusing on different outdoor, conservation, recreation, and/or cultural topics. Trainings provide teachers with the experiential background knowledge, curriculum, and resources to increase confidence in teaching students about the outdoors and at local outdoor sites.
This ongoing structure aims to engage teachers throughout the seasons to keep schools and their students familiar with CPW’s mission, Project WILD, our partners, resources, staff, and sites. The program also offers equipment loans and matching bus funds to support field trips to related sites for the students of OUT-trained teachers. Twenty-five OUT workshops have been offered within these mountain town communities since program implementation in 2016, with nearly 100 outdoor school field trips supported. For the 2021-2022 school year and summer, the program’s education kits served 3,936 youth through its local check-out program with Friends of Youth and Nature.
Co-facilitators Catherine Brons, SW Education & Volunteer Coordinator, and Anita Evans, Friends of Youth and Nature are inspired to share how the structure of Delta OUT is adoptable as an innovative approach for any community outdoor education program wishing to make an impact in the way it designs and offers fun and meaningful professional development for teachers.