Earth Corps

An intensive 4-week, for-credit field study course for undergraduate students
Earth Corps students standing atop a summit

Earth Corps is a selective field-based course that offers motivated, environmentally conscious students the opportunity to live and learn in the incredible natural classroom of the Colorado wilderness. The program is designed to integrate key lessons in environmental studies with the completion of the Challenger Ridge-Kit Carson trail improvement project. Run by the Rocky Mountain Field Institute in partnership with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Earth Corps attracts exceptional students from across the nation to participate in this unique service learning opportunity.

"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir

Earth Corps was created to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to directly address a critical environmental threat while immersed in a backcountry wildland environment. This hands-on program combines environmental education with environmental stewardship through an intensive 4-week field study. For the duration of the program, participants live and work in a backcountry setting, complete long hours of very demanding physical labor at altitudes of 11,000-14,000+ feet, work effectively as a team, exercise the highest level of commitment and perseverance, and make enduring friendships. Students will develop key outdoor skills during the program and through their summits of project site peaks such as Kit Carson and Challenger Point. Students will practice and learn Leave No Trace, backcountry navigation, alpine mountaineering, and risk management.

Earth Corps is a highly selective and demanding environmental education and service course started in 2002 by the Rocky Mountain Field Institute. The program includes lectures from top-level experts in the fields of geography, environmental studies, and biology, as well as industry professionals.  Through student-led discussions, RMFI puts strong emphasis on developing critical thinking skills. Reading assignments, individual research reports, and a final examination complete the curriculum.  This program strives to take advantage of the tremendous educational opportunities that spending 4 weeks in the backcountry presents. The program is open to undergraduate students from colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

          To see Earth Corps Alumni click here.

Earth Corps Class of 2015!

  1. Kyle Anderson: Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas)
  2. Michael Beitner: Colorado College (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  3. Lauren Burgess: University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  4. Madison Cross: University of Western Florida (Pensacola, Florida)
  5. Marisa East: University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  6. Tyson Floersheim: University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  7. Max Gonzalez: University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (Urbana-Champaign, Illinois)
  8. Natalie Hein-Ferris: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Urbana-Champaign, Illinois)
  9. Gabby Hunt: Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas)
  10. Allie Peters: Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana)

Earth Corps Lecturers for 2015:

  1. Dr. David Havlick: Associate Professor, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs - Public Land Management
  2. Mike Smith: retired Forest Planning Specalist, U.S. Forest Service - Land Management History of Rio Grande National Forest, Land Management Issues Facing the Sangre de Cristo Range
  3. Bart Miller, JD: Water Program Director, Western Resource Advocates - Colorado Water Law
  4. Dr. Tom Huber, Professor, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs - Climate Change in the Alpine, Mountain Climatology and Soils, Glacial Geomorphology of Willow Lake Basin
  5. Dr. Catherine Kleier, Associate Professor and Chair, Regis University - Life Above the Trees - Plant Adaptations in the Rocky Mountains
  6. Dr. Emilie Gray, Professor, Colorado College - Bugs and Other Pollinators
  7. Loretta McEllhiney, Peak Manager, U.S. Forest Service - Managing Colorado's 14,000 Foot Peaks

To Apply

The 2015 application period has closed. Please check back in early 2016! 

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