Earth Corps

Adventure • Education • Service

RMFI's Signature Education Program

Earth Corps Field Studies

July 26 - August 12, 2021

Accepting applications now through April 26, 2021! 

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

Apply to Earth Corps!
Devils Playground Trail

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, click here!

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 are offering an early bird special! There will be no application fee until March 1st, 2021! After March 1st, all applicants 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 Earth Corps

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

2021 lecture list coming soon! Below are 2020 lectures for an example of academic topics:

  • 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 Cristo Range, by Mike Smith, USDA Forest Service Forest Planning Specialist
  • Managing Colorado’s 14,000 Foot Peaks, by Loretta McEllhiney, Peak Manager, United States Forest Service
  • Colorado's Public Lands by Joshua Stoudt SW Regional Trails Coordinator and Fletcher Jacobs, Colorado Parks & Wildlife
  • Geology of Southern Colorado, Laura Wray

Earth Corps Class of 2020

1. Elena Costa-Smith

  • School: University of California - Santa Barbara
  • What will you miss the most during the 3-week program? "Music"

2. Prudence Crawmer

  • School: University of Colorado - Colorado Springs
  • What will you miss the most during the 3-week program? "Washing my hair"

3. Archie Fruehling

  • School: St. Olaf College
  • What will you miss the most during the 3-week program? "My saxophone"

 

     

      4. Bri Herder

      • School: University of Colorado - Colorado Springs
      • What will you miss the most during the 3-week program? "Climbing"

      5. Jackson Kresse

      • School: High school student
      • What will you miss the most during the 3-week program? "My keyboard"

      6. Victoria Miller

      • School: Reed College
      • What will you miss the most during the 3-week program? "Chocolate"

      Application Information

      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 a minimum of 10 students to participate. Upon receiving an application, RMFI staff will contact prospective students to arrange an interview.

      We are offering an early bird special! There will be no application fee until March 1st, 2021! After March 1st, all applicants will have to pay a $25 application fee.