Earth Corps

Adventure • Education • Service

RMFI's Signature Education Program

Earth Corps Field Studies

July 26 - August 12, 2021

2021 Application Period Now Closed. 

Earth Corps is an 18-day field studies course that provides motivated, environmentally conscious undergraduate students the opportunity to live and learn in the incredible natural classroom of the Colorado mountains. The program began in 2002 and in 2014, it won the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education Higher Education Award.

What is Earth Corps?

In 2021, Earth Corps students will live at the Crags Campground near Divide, CO for 18 days and will help construct the new Devils Playground Trail to the top of Pikes Peak - America's Mountain! In addition to gaining experience in trail construction, students will develop key outdoor skills throughout the program and through excursions to the summit of Pikes Peak and other outdoor pursuits. Academic and industry experts will also provide lectures in public lands management, geography, cultural history of the Pikes Peak Region, botany, and other related topics. The program entails long hours of very demanding physical labor at altitudes of 10,000+ feet. Students will learn and practice outdoor leadership, Leave No Trace ethics, backcountry navigation, 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 physically strenuous program and participants must arrive in good physical condition.

Program Dates: July 26 - August 12, 2021

Devils Playground Trail


The 2021 Application is now closed. Check back this winter to apply for our 2022 program. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have additional questions after reaching through our FAQs, please email [email protected]!

RMFI's Earth Corps field studies program is an 18-day, immersive educational program for undergraduate students! The program will include:

  • Trail construction at 10,000+ feet
  • Outdoor leadership development
  • Leave No Trace ethics lessons
  • Backcountry navigation experience
  • Lectures from academic and industry experts covering public lands management, geography, cultural history of the Pikes Peak Region, botany, and additional topics
  • A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live, work, learn, and recreate for 18 days in the Colorado mountains, while gaining real-world experience in the field of environmental stewardship
  • And more!

Students will camp at the Crags Campground near Divide, CO, about an hour west of Colorado Springs. You will be working on the reroute of the Devils Playground Trail, which leads to the tops of Pikes Peak, as well as learning from academic and industry experts (and your fellow program participants) throughout the 18 days!

Yes! We happily offer need-based scholarships thanks to Tom & Carol Huber Scholarship Fund and Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO). Follow these links to learn more and apply to the Tom & Carol Huber Scholarship and GOCO Generation Wild Scholarship!

Earth Corps will take place from July 26 - August 12, 2021!

Undergraduate college students can participate in the program! In some instances, we are able to accept graduating high school students into the program who demonstrate a passion and desire to participate. RMFI aims to accept 10 students into the program in 2021. 

The fee for this course is $1,500. This will cover program costs including tuition, staff, and all project equipment, food, supplies, and course materials. 

Nope! All food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks) will be provided for the duration of the program.

No worries! RMFI will provide all project gear, supplies, and equipment including tents, helmets, and tools for the duration of the program.

In addition, we will provide all course materials including handouts, readings, a daypack, and a field notebook!

Fantastic! We can't wait to review your application. To apply, complete the following three steps: 

  • Complete the online program application.
  • Visit this webpage and create an account by clicking the "Log in to Register" button (or log into your existing account) to pay our $25 application fee.
  • Email your current resume and cover letter detailing interest in the program and qualifications to [email protected].

Please note the 2021 application is now closed. Applications for 2022 will open this winter.

Students will earn 4 Geography/Environmental Studies credits from the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs (UCCS). These credits are transferable to your university or college!

And over the duration of the program, you will complete 50 hours of on-the-ground stewardship work and will receive a certificate on completion of those hours! This certificate, RMFI's Natural Resource Technician Certificate, represents your experience in stewardship and restoration techniques and can boost your resume!

We will offer an early bird special next year in 2022! After the special, students will have to pay a $25 application fee.

In previous years, we've hosted the program in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness where students worked on the Kit Carson-Challenger Peak Trail. This year will be our first year hosting the program in the Pike National Forest where students will work on the new Devils Playground Trail!

On Earth Corps, each day can vary while you're out there, which is the exciting part of the program! 

However, a typical day can look like waking up in the morning at the campground and making some breakfast. Then, hiking up to the worksite and working until the early afternoon. On other days, there will be a lecture in the morning!

After the workday, there is free time for exploring or catching up on readings and then dinner and a student-led discussion at the end of some nights!

The lecture and discussion times may vary based on each lecturer and leaders' schedule!

Scholarships for 2021 Earth Corps Students

Need-based scholarships will be available thanks to the Tom and Carole Huber Scholarship Fund and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO)! Learn more about these scholarships below:

Tom and Carole Huber Scholarship Fund: 

The Tom & Carole Huber Scholarship fund provides vital financial assistance to students enrolled in RMFI’s signature educational field studies program, Earth Corps, which provides motivated undergraduate students the opportunity to live and learn in the natural classroom of the Colorado mountains. To learn more and apply, click here!


GOCO Generation Wild Scholarship:

Thanks to a generous grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), we are offering a full scholarship to RMFI's Earth Corps field studies program to an eligible college student or graduating high school senior from Southeast Colorado Springs. The scholarship will include tuition and necessary gear purchases. To learn more and apply, click here!


I am about as happy as I've ever been in my life. If someone had told me 3 weeks ago all of the things that I would experience, I probably would have been too scared to do it. But, standing on the other side of all these hurdles, I have never felt more capable or connected to the outdoors. 

Elena Costa-Smith 2020 Earth Corps Alum

2021 Lecturers

Below is a snapshot of 2021 lectures planned for the Earth Corps program:

  • Public Land Management, by Dr. David Havlick, Associate Professor, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • Managing the Pike National Forest, by Oscar Martinez - District Ranger; Samantha Gooch - Recreation Planner; and Josh VonLoh - Recreation, Partnership and Volunteer Coordinator, Pikes Peak Ranger District 
  • Place-based Education in partnership with the Catamount Center, by Julie Francis and Howard Grossman
  • Managing Colorado’s 14,000 Foot Peaks, by Loretta McEllhiney, Peak Manager, United States Forest Service
  • Colorado's Public Lands by Lucas Svare, Southeast Region Trails Coordinator and Fletcher Jacobs, State Trails Program Manager, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • Geology of Southern Colorado, Eric Billmeyer, Senior Instructor, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • Design and Development of the Pikes Peak Summit House, RTA Architects 
  • Managing Pikes Peak - America's Mountain by Sandy Elliott and Jack Glavan
  • Managing Wildlife on Pikes Peak, Frank McGee, Law Enforcement Training Manager, Colorado Parks and Wildlife 
  • Restoration Ecology, by Maggie Gaddis, Ph.D., Lecturer, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs  

Earth Corps Class of 2020

Emma Aspelin, Colorado Mesa University
Liliah Boatman, Northern Arizona University
Nicole Box, Pikes Peak Community College
Bree Horner, Pikes Peak Community College
Courtney Johnson, University of Northern Iowa
Austin Kent,  UCCS

      Hannah Mooney, UCCS
      Adam Paquette, UCCS
      Chris Pirovano, University of Dayton
      Valerie Stander, University of Kansas
      Tanner Walsh, UCCS
      Carlee Wilson, Clarion University of PA

      Application Information

      RMFI is no longer accepting applications for 2021. Please check back this winter to apply for the program in 2022!