Bears, beetles, and bugling: teaching Colorado kids about nature and the environment

With the weather warming up and kids out of school for the summer, it’s a great time for Coloradans of all ages to get outside!

A group of kids and adults cross a floating wooden bridge in an autumn wetlands environment with tall mountains in the background.
Photo from Generation Wild.

Teaching kids about nature and the environment is a priority in Colorado because of our state’s outstanding natural beauty and our reliance on environmental resources. In 2010, state leadership recognized this priority by passing a bill establishing the Colorado Kids Outdoors Grant Program, which creates funding sources for outdoor education opportunities. The goal of this legislation is to improve young people’s knowledge of the environment through outdoor experiences that will help them grow into citizens who can make informed decisions about future environmental challenges. The bill also requires the Department of Education (CDE) to create a statewide plan for environmental education. Information about this plan can be found on CDE’s website and in the Colorado Environmental Education Plan.

Environmental education doesn’t only take place in the classroom. There are several resources available to help caregivers facilitate outdoor activities for kids:

After learning about Colorado’s environment, it’s time to head outside and experience it! Colorado Parks & Wildlife provides support to Generation Wild, a program that aims to get Colorado kids and their families to get outside more often. Generation Wild developed a list of 100 things to do before you’re 12, including activities ranging from hearing an elk bugle to splashing in a rain puddle. To help kids achieve the more wilderness-focused activities on the list, Coloradans can get a free state parks pass from their local library through the Check Out Colorado State Parks program.

Using these resources, everyone can have fun learning about and exploring Colorado’s outdoors!