Dear ELC supporters,

These are challenging and stressful times for everyone, and we hope you and your loved ones are doing well and staying healthy. Whether you are a volunteer, have participated in our programs, or like to enjoy the trails on your own, we know that the ELC is special to you and we wanted to give you an update on how COVID-19 is affecting our organization.

In the interest of protecting public health, we have cancelled all programs scheduled through May 22. But that hasn’t dampened our commitment to helping families connect with nature. We have posted Daily Nature Challenges, adapted our field trip lesson plans for use at home, and worked with teachers to connect their students to outdoor science activities. We’ve also been busy preparing for the time when we can work with students in person again, updating our programs to align with the new Colorado Educational Standards.

In addition, following public health guidelines, our trails have remained open, providing much-needed natural respite for over 2,000 visitors in March. In fact, our visitation rates are up about 70% from this time last year. Spending time in nature can reduce stress and improve mental and physical health and we are proud that our trails can provide a space to do so during these trying times.

Throughout the spring, we have remained committed to keeping our administrative and student staff members gainfully employed. This is despite a significant reduction in revenue as a result of canceling spring programming. Much of the revenue that supports our volunteer programs, low-income scholarships and even pays our student staff comes in during our summer camp season. The future of our summer season is uncertain, but will likely bring in less revenue than anticipated.

We ask those that are able to, be as generous as they can during these challenging times. Giving Tuesday Now is a global day of giving coming up on May 5, 2020 and is a great opportunity to consider how you can give. You can show your generosity in a variety of ways – from helping a neighbor to sharing a skill to financial contributions. First and foremost, consider helping vulnerable populations and those impacted the most by COVID-19. If possible, also consider supporting your most beloved nonprofits like the Environmental Learning Center. We have been serving our community for decades and, with your support, we will remain strong after the COVID-19 crisis has ended. If you are interested in and able to make a donation, please visit the Colorado State University Foundation and search for “Environmental Learning Center Educational Endowment” (47855).

Now more than ever, we are called upon to make a difference. Let’s make a difference together.

Thank you.