Nature Kids/Jóvenes de la Naturaleza

Thorne Nature Experience; Boulder Valley School District; Cal-Wood Education Center; City of Lafayette Parks, Recreation & Open Space; CU Science Discovery; and Cottonwood Institute

2018 Advancing Environmental Literacy Award Recipient

Nature Kids

Nature Kids/Jóvenes de la Naturaleza (NKJN) is an innovative, 5-year, $10M collective impact project that has 2 primary goals: 1. To connect Lafayette, CO youth and their families to nature and the outdoors through a continuum of pre-k to high-school, backyard to backcountry, and family integrated environmental education and outdoor recreation programs. 2. To ensure all Lafayette youth live within a safe 10-minute walk to nature. This project primarily serves Lafayette’s low-income Latino community, including Sanchez Elementary School, Boulder Valley School District’s highest poverty school.

NKJN brings together 32 community partners that will implement a scaffolded, whole child, K-12 approach to environmental education, implementing the E Movement Environmental Education Guidelines, which incorporates the latest research and best-practices for high quality, high impact environmental literacy. This project also addresses barriers the Lafayette community has to accessing nature, including unsafe social paths, barbed wire, unsafe street crossings, and missing trail connections. A capital project includes a gazebo at Waneka Lake for multi-generational families, an outdoor nature play park at Sanchez Elementary School, and a Connector Trail, a safe east west trail that will connect the numerous trailer parks, Sanchez Elementary, and the new nature play park.

Fully implemented, this project will deliver 82 programs, log 500,000 participant contact hours, improve nature play areas, street crossings, miles of pathways, and gazebos over 5 years. This project is a model for the nation and is made possible with funding from Great Outdoors Colorado, Thorne Nature Experience, and 32 NKJN community partners.