Earth Corps Field Studies Course

Looking to advance your career in natural resources and environmental leadership? Consider Earth Corps, RMFI's award-winning, college-accredited field studies course. Live, work, learn, and play in the beautiful Colorado wilderness for 21-days.
Basecamp at 11,500 feet in the Willow Lake Basin

Earth Corps 2019

Field Studies in Geography from the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs
21-Day Backcountry Environmental Service Program

Adventure • Education • Service

July 8th - 28th, 2019 



Course Fee: There is a course fee of $1,500 to cover program costs including tuition, staff, and all project equipment, food, supplies, and course materials. What you get:

  • 4 Geography/Environmental Studies credits from UCCS
  • All food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks) for the duration of the program.
  • All course materials including handouts, readings, daypack, and field notebook.
  • Technical training in hands-on trail and restoration skills and techniques from industry experts.
  • Academic lectures from experts in the field of botany, ecology, hydrology, public lands management, and more.
  • Tuition costs through the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs (transferable to your university/college).
  • Use of all project gear, supplies, and equipment including tents, helmets, and tools for the duration of the program.  
  • Certificate as a Natural Resource Technician as recognized by RMFI
  • Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live, work, learn, and play for 21 days in a Colorado wilderness while gaining real-world experience, and making friendships and memories that will last forever.

Course Description: Earth Corps is a field studies program run by the Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) in partnership with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to provide motivated, environmentally conscious students the opportunity to live and learn in the incredible natural classroom of the Colorado wilderness. The program began in 2002 and is designed to integrate key lessons in environmental studies with the completion of multiple critical environmental restoration projects. Earth Corps attracts exceptional students from across the nation to participate in this unique service learning opportunity.

In 2019, Earth Corps students will complete environmental restoration projects in Willow Lake Basin located at the base of Challenger Point and Kit Carson Peak, two iconic 14,000-foot peaks in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Students will gain field experience in restoration ecology through the completion of a highly technical trail reconstruction project. Visiting professors and industry experts will provide lectures in the field covering topics such as geomorphology, botany, hydrology, land/recreation management, environmental policy, ethics, and other aspects of environmental studies. Upon successful completion of the program, each student will receive 4 credit hours from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and a certificate as a Natural Resource Technician as recognized by RMFI.

For the duration of the program, participants will live, work, and learn in a backcountry wildland environment, complete long hours of very demanding physical labor at altitudes of 11,000-14,000+ 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 Challenger Point (14,081 feet) and Kit Carson Peak (14,165 feet). Students will learn and practice outdoor leadership, Leave No Trace ethics, backcountry navigation, alpine mountaineering, and risk management skills. There are no course pre-requisites to participate in Earth Corps. Previous backcountry experience is preferred, but not required. Earth Corps is a very physically strenuous program and participants must arrive in good physical condition.

2018 Earth Corps Lecturers (2019 lecturer list coming soon...):

  • Public Land Management, by Dr. David Havlick, Associate Professor, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • Land Management History of Rio Grande National Forest, by Mike Smith, USDA Forest Service Forest Planning Specialist
  • Land Management Issues Facing the Sangre de Christo Range, by Mike Smith, USDA Forest Service Forest Planning Specialist
  • 8 Flags Over Kit Carson, by Lori Nicholson, RMFI BOD Member
  • Managing Colorado’s 14,000 Foot Peaks, by Loretta McEllhiney, Peak Manager, United States Forest Service
  • Colorado's Public Lands, by Robert Seel, Trails Coordinator, Colorado Parks & Wildlife
  • The Front Range Pika Project, by Erica Garroutte, Conservation Outreach Coordinator, Denver Zoo, Lisi Lohre, Citizen Science Intern, Front Range Pika Project, and Megan Mueller, Senior Conservation Biologist, Rocky Mountain Wild
  • Colorado Water Law, by Bart Miller, Healthy Rivers Program Director, Western Resource Advocates
  • Geology of the Crestone Area, by Dr. James McCalpin, President, GEO-HAZ Consulting, Inc.
  • Sense of Place, by Joe Lavorini, RMFI Program Director
  • Managing the Sangre de Christo Mountain Range, by Tristram Post, U.S. Forest Service, District Ranger, Saguache Ranger District

2019 Program Dates: July 8th-28th, 2019

To Apply:

• Create a basic log-in and complete online program application form and $25 application fee (included in form). 
• Email current resume and cover letter detailing interest in program and qualifications to [email protected].

Please submit all application materials at the same time.

RMFI accepts applications on a rolling basis and will review completed applications immediately upon receiving them. Acceptance into the program is competitive, based on application and interview process. RMFI will select 10 students to participate. Upon receiving an application, RMFI staff will contact prospective students to arrange an interview.

Application Deadline: April 12, 2019.



Dabreon Darby, Bucknell University
Nicole Goodman, Middlebury College
Stephen Henderson, University of Colorado - Colorado Springs
Lexi Hudson, Texas State University
Isabella James, Brigham Young University
Daniel Nielsen, University of Northern Iowa
Becca Reberry, University of Colorado - Colorado Springs
Tom Zimmerman, Eastern Connecticut State University

Want to learn more? Read ALUMNI TESTIMONIALS  and watch this video about the program: