Earth Corps

Adventure • Education • Service

RMFI's Signature Education Program

About Earth Corps

July 27 - August 13, 2020

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

The Course

2020 Program Dates: July 27 - August 13.

In 2020, 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 and develop key outdoor skills during the program and through their summits of both peaks. The projects entail long hours of very demanding physical labor at altitudes of 11,000-14,000+ 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.

What You Get

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 the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs (UCCS) (transferable to your university/college). 
  • All course materials including handouts, readings, Osprey 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.
  • Use of all project gear, supplies, and equipment including tents, helmets, and tools for the duration of the program.  
  • RMFI Natural Resource Technician Certificate.
  • Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live, work, learn, and recreate for 18 days in a Colorado Wilderness Area, while gaining real-world experience in the field of environmental stewardship.
  • Explore Colorado's highest peaks through the summits of Kit Carson Peak (14,170'), Challenger Point (14,081'), and Mount Adams (13,931').
  • All food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks) for the duration of the program.

      I just wanted to say thank you so much for giving me this awesome opportunity and the most amazing summer, I'm so grateful for the experience I had with everybody and all that I learned while being up there, it was definitely one of the best summers I've ever had.

      Eleanor Harrigan 2017 Earth Corps Alum

      2020 Lecturers TBA in spring 2020

      2019 Lecturers



      • 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
      • 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
      • 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

      Earth Corps 2019 Students

      • Clara Stein

      School: Colorado College

      Major: Environmental Studies

      What can you not live without for 3 weeks? My yellow fleece :)


      • Leslie Andros

      School: University of Colorado Colorado Springs

      Major: Environmental Studies, minor in Geology 

      What can you not live without for 3 weeks? Iced almond milk latte from Dutch Bros 


      • Riley de Ryk

      School: University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS)

      Major: Digital Filmmaking and Geography

      What can you not live without for 3 weeks? Is my 5 speed electric toothbrush. 


      • Matt Deyoe

      School: University of Colorado-Boulder 

      Major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 

      What can you not live without for 3 weeks? My beta fish Capfin America. 


      • Joseph Lococo

      School: University of Colorado-Boulder

      Major: Business

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