South Colony Lakes Basin Restoration Project
Field Studies in Geography (GES 446)
Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, Colorado
Adventure • Education • Service
“[Students] wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold.
Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger.
Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”
The London Times, 1911
Earth Corps is a selective field-based program that offers motivated, environmentally conscious students the opportunity to live and learn in the incredible natural classroom of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. The program is designed to integrate key lessons in environmental studies with the completion of a critical environmental restoration project. Run by the Rocky Mountain Field Institute in partnership with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Earth Corps attracts exceptional students from across the nation and the world to participate in this unique service learning opportunity.
Earth Corps was created to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to directly address a critical environmental threat while immersed in a backcountry wildland environment. This hands-on program combines environmental education with environmental stewardship through an intensive 30-day field study. For the duration of the program, participants live and work in a remote setting, complete long hours of very demanding physical labor at altitudes of 11-14,000+ feet, work effectively as a team, exercise the highest level of commitment and perseverance, and make enduring friendships. Students will develop key outdoor skills during the program and through their summits of Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Peak, and Humboldt Peak. They will practice and learn Leave No Trace, backcountry navigation, alpine mountaineering, and risk management. Upon successful completion of the program, each student will receive 4 hours of credit from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (GES 446: Field Studies in Geography).
Earth Corps 2013 students will help complete the South Colony Lakes Basin Restoration Project. Crestone Needle (14,197’), Crestone Peak (14,295’), Kit Carson Peak (14,163’) and Humboldt Peak (14,064’) tower 6,000’ above the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado. Thousands of backcountry enthusiasts are drawn to this area each year to summit these peaks, especially Crestone Needle, regarded as one of the top 50 climbs in North America. The basin and surrounding peaks have been atop the Forest Service’s list of management priority areas for many years. RMFI began working in partnership with the Forest Service in 1996 to establish the basin as a model for how high-use locations within a Wilderness area should be cared for. RMFI’s work to date includes the construction of summit routes to the Needle and Humboldt, major repairs to the basin’s trail system, and the restoration of visitor created social trails and campgrounds.
The Rocky Mountain Field Institute is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental stewardship and education organization dedicated to the conservation of stewardship of public lands in the Southern Rocky Mountains. The Institute accomplishes its mission through key environmental projects developed in partnership with federal, state, and municipal land management agencies. These projects are completed through education, research, and public stewardship programs.
2013 Program Dates: July 8 - August 6
To Apply: Go to our website, www.rmfi.org, or contact our office for more detailed information and an application form. A complete application includes:
- Completed RMFI Program Application form
- Cover letter detailing interest in program and qualifications
- Current resume
Course Fee: There is a course fee of $2,000. Please do not let the fee deter you from applying for the program, as scholarships are available.
Application Deadline: Early deadline March 4, final deadline March 21. Outstanding early applicants will be awarded placement in advance of the final deadline. Early applications are, therefore, strongly encouraged. Final decisions will be announced by April 5.