"Earth Corps was hands-down one of the best experiences of my life."
"Thank you to RMFI and my new friends for making Earth Corps wonderful and life changing."
"I feel so lucky to have been introduced to such amazing leaders and lecturers in this field."
"I will make sure to use this experience to promote the conversation of conservation."
"Earth Corps was a great experience and I see a difference in my daily routine. I'm so excited to pay it forward in my education."
You don't have to take it from us the impact that stewardship has on people of all ages, and especially young adults. The above quotes are attributed to this year's Earth Corps students who wrapped up three weeks of trail work, education, and adventure in the Sangre de Christo Mountain Range in late July. But those quotes could have been from any one of the hundreds of young adults that participate in RMFI programming every year. In addition to Earth Corps, RMFI partners extensively with youth corps organizations like Mile High Youth Corps and Southwest Conservation Corps to accomplish weeks-long projects, often in the backcountry. This year, we partnered with MHYC for 49 days of work on the Devil's Playground project, and with SCC for 45 days on Kit Carson. Not only do youth crews help us to meet our stewardship objectives that are in hard-to-reach places for volunteers, RMFI also helps to develop the next generation of conservation leaders.
Our effort to engage with the next generation doesn't stop with youth corps. School groups, from elementary to collegiate, make up a large percentage of our volunteer workforce. We have a very strong partnership with Colorado College and UCCS. RMFI was recently named a Colorado College High Impact Partner, or HIP, which recognizes the many ways that the two institutions work together to leverage student involvement in the community. Students are involved with RMFI through fellowships and work-study internships, as well as through volunteer activities like alternative spring break and New Student Orientation.
RMFI teamed up with the Colorado College NSO program and MHYC to work on a reroute of the Gray Back Peak Trail. This U.S. Forest Service Trail climbs about 1,000-feet in elevation over 1.75-miles to gain the summit of Gray Back Peak. The views from the top offer a unique perspective of the southern front range, and you're likely to have the trail to yourself. The existing trail is eroding quickly, and when we're done constructing the reroute in the next couple of seasons the trail is sure to be one of the best day-hikes in the area.
In other news, we finished what we set out to do on the Dixon Trail with 3 days of work in early August. Major thanks to the Friends of Cheyenne Mountain for their contribution to the workdays, and for supporting RMFI's role in the project. If you haven't had a chance to hike the 14-mile round-trip trail to the summit of Cheyenne Mountain, now is the time to go as raspberries bear fruit and the aspens begin to turn. Excuse us while we hit the trail...
Join us next month for more cowbell!