Earth Corps

Adventure • Education • Service

RMFI's Signature Education Program

Earth Corps Field Studies

July 17 - August 3, 2023

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.

Applications for 2024 will open in December!

Earth Corps Class of 2023!

Welcome CJ, David, Kaori, Mac, Maddie, Hailey, Luca, Mya, and Isabella! We are excited to have you with us!

What is Earth Corps?

In 2023, Earth Corps students will live in Pike National Forest 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 living in the backcountry and participants must arrive in good physical condition.

Program Dates: July 17 - August 3, 2023

Applications for 2024 will open in December!

Applications for 2024 will open in December!
Devils Playground Trail

How to Apply to Earth Corps

The 2023 Application is open!

Earth Corps is an 18-day for-credit environmental studies program that takes place in the Pike National Forest on Pikes Peak - America's Mountain, located outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The dates of the 2023 program are July 17 - August 3. Earth Corps combines an immersive environmental education curriculum, outdoor adventure, and an environmental stewardship project with a backcountry public lands magnet area – a Colorado “14er." Students will be exposed to a variety of ecological principles, land management methods, and restoration techniques during the course.


To apply, complete the following three steps: 

1. Complete the online application.

2. Email your current resume and cover letter detailing your interest in the program and qualifications to

3. Applications for 2024 will open in December!

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the close working conditions and interactions of our staff and program participants, RMFI requires all participants to demonstrate proof of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination (or certificate of exemption) as a condition of their participation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have additional questions after reading through our FAQs, please email!

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 in the Pike National Forest 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 top 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 a need-based scholarship thanks to Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO). Follow this link to learn more and apply for the  GOCO Generation Wild Scholarship!

Earth Corps will take place from July 17 - August 3, 2023.

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 will accept 10-12 students into the program in 2023. 

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 application.
  • Email your current resume and cover letter detailing interest in the program and qualifications to
  • The application deadline is April 30, 2023.

Applications for 2024 will open in December!

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!

There are currently no application fees! Please note, the application period closed on April 30, 2023. If you missed this deadline and you are extremely interested in participating, please email to apply.

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 third year hosting the program in the Pike National Forest where students will work on the new Devils Playground Trail!

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 campsite 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 leader's schedule!

We will begin reviewing applications as they are submitted. You can expect an interview within a few weeks of applying. 

Scholarships for 2023 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:


GOCO Generation Wild Scholarship:

Made possible with support from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) for graduating high school seniors and eligible college students residing in or previously from Southeast Colorado Springs. Please contact us at with any questions regarding eligibility. This scholarship will cover full tuition costs 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

2022 Lecturers

  • Loretta McEllhiney – Colorado 14ers Program Manager, United States Forest Service, Managing Colorado’s 14,000 Foot Peaks
  • Eric Billmeyer, Senior Instructor, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Geology of Southern Colorado
  • Skyler Rorabaugh, Manager, Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, Managing America’s Mountain
  • Dr. Maggie Gaddis, Geography and Environmental Studies Department, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Native Plants and Restoration Ecology in the Pikes Peak Region
  • Andrea Hassler, Field Coordinator, Access Fund, Recreation Management and Community Based Public Lands Advocacy
  • Dr. David Havlick, Professor and Chair, Geography and Environmental Studies Department, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Public Lands as Therapeutic Landscapes
  • Janelle Valladares, Fisheries Biologist, United States Forest Service, Balancing Recreation and Wildlife Conservation
  • Jennifer DeWoody, NEPA Planner, United States Forest Service, Seeing the Forest for the Trees - Land management before and after implementation
  • Dr. Howard Drossman, Professor of Education, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Co-Founder of Catamount Institute, Eco Identity and Cultivating Stewardship
  • Lucas Svare, Southeast Region Trails Coordinator and Fletcher Jacobs, State Trails Program, Manager, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Managing Colorado's Public Lands

      Application Information

      2023 Earth Corps Field Studies Program applications are open!


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