Staff Spotlights: Saphyre and Carmen

This week we are highlighting two staff members, Saphyre and Carmen! They have both been awarded our Super Estrella Empleado Del Mes award (Super Star Staff of the Month).

In September,  our super star staff member was Saphyre, who is from Aurora CO. She is also currently completing her 4th and final year at CSU, with a major in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and a minor in Global Environmental Sustainability. Her favorite past times are sewing, knitting, and painting. She currently is a member of CSU’s U-Chorus. The one thing she is most proud of is the lesson plan she created called Structure Detectives! With this lesson plan she developed some innovative activities she hope she can add to future programs. If she could have any super power Saphyre would like to have the ability to produce her own vitamin C, she feels that this would help her to get over being sick more quickly. 


In October, our staff star was Carmen! She is a junior in the Ecosystem Science and Sustainability major, coming to us all the way from Colorado Springs, CO. With this position she hopes to inspire kids to question the world around them, and also give them a sense of belonging and place within the outdoors. She believes if we can continue to educate kids about the planet then we will be continuing to create future scientists and big picture thinkers that can help our planet. Whenever she can, Carmen tries to spend her time rock climbing, playing music, and just being outside! With all her time spent outside this summer Carmen accomplished her first multi-pitch climb in Golden, CO. She said it was 6 pitches and 400 feet up! Plus,  her secret talent is that she is a musician. Carmen played in classical and jazz bands for 8 years and even played her freshman year of college.


We are so thankful for all their hard work and dedication. We can not wait to see what else they can bring to the ELC!

FAN (Families and Nature) Day

On Saturday, November 2nd, the ELC will be hosting it’s annual FAN day.

Families and Nature Day (FAN Day) is a fun, family friendly event for all ages. We will set up numerous activity stations on the short loop trail, for families to explore at their own pace. The ELC’s FANtastic student staff will be around to help with the activities as well as show you all what the ELC has to offer. This Saturday our activities will include animal track plaster cast making, a how-to of ecologist field work, climbing through “spider webs” and more! Taking part in these activities will teach the whole family about connecting with nature as well as help establish some fun outdoor learning skills.

Bonus: All written materials will be translated into Spanish and there will be free pizza at 12:30pm for all those who attend! Click here for more information about this event.

This event is free, bring the whole family! Feel free to drop in and join us as we explore the environmental sciences and have a day filled with hands-on activities in the outdoors. Come on out and play! RSVP required, click here to RSVP.

Girl Scout Day 10/12

image courtesy of Loveland troupe 76036

Last Saturday was Girl Scout Day out at the ELC! The theme of the day was how to be good stewards to the environment and work on leaving no trace. In the morning we had the Brownies and Daisies working towards receiving their Eco-friend badge with Kaili and Carmen. The girls were taught about the 7 principles of leave no trace, and how to practice fire safety. The morning finished with a nature hike around the ELC, where a great horned owl was spotted!

In the afternoon Emma and Anna were out with the Juniors  who were working towards their Eco-camper badge. The Juniors also learned about the seven leave no trace principles and how to have a minimal impact on the environment while still having fun! Emma and Anna then helped the girls make a safe camp fire and cooked up some banana boats. They finished off the afternoon with a conservation hike while looking at wildlife around the ELC.

Girl Scout Day was a great success! All the troupes left with knowledge of how to be better stewards to the environment, and the teachers had a wonderful time writing and teaching the lesson plans.

Science Saturday at Larimer County Farmer’s Market

This past Saturday, Kaili and Claire (some of our newer staff members) set up a booth at the Farmer’s Market to teach visitors about the ELC. The theme was Science Saturday, and our booth was inspired by our partnership with Great Outdoors Colorado. GOCO runs a campaign called Generation Wild to encourage young kids to play outside, they also have a list of 100 things to do before you turn 12.  This list is pretty chalk full with all the fun things you can do possibly do outside. Some of our staff members have even realized they haven’t even done all 100 things, so they are now on a mission to complete them before the end of the school year.

We decided to educate people about the ELC and get them started on their list of 100 things to do before your turn 12, (we want to inspire a generation of outdoor enthusiasts). Kaili and Claire decided to have visitors complete number 42 on the list without even realizing it. Number 42 on the list is “Make a crayon leaf rubbing”, Kaili and Claire spent a day gathering up different kinds of leaves, like Maple, Oak, and Aspen leaves. Kaili took charge of teaching visitors how to make a leaf rubbing as well as helping them to identify the different leaves, while Claire took charge of educating visitors about the different animal skins, bones, and Gerty (the Great Blue Heron, of course), helping kids learn about their defining characteristics.

The event was a HUGE success! Numerous visitors learned about their local environment and got started on their list of 100 things to do before you turn 12. We couldn’t be more excited to keep partnering with GOCO, to show parents that kids really do grow better outside.

Birds Without Borders

Photo courtesy of George Glarklavs

Last weekend we partnered with Trees Water People, Audubon of the Rockies, Gardens on Spring Creek, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to bring you Pajaros Sin Fronteras (Birds Without Borders), an innovative program that educates the community about bird migration and bird banding. One of our staff stars, Aaro,n had a few words to say about the event, “The program Pajaros sin Fronteras (Birds Without Borders) was a celebration of the beginning of Migratory Bird Season. As the fall rolls around many of our native North American and Colorado birds begin the long migration south to Mexico and Central America. There are many obstacles along the way, but every year many birds make the long trek south to warmer climates and over-wintering grounds (350 species in the US). The event itself featured organizations sharing knowledge about birds, and their habitats, migrations, and conservation.” It was a great success and brought awareness to our community about bird migration and bird banding.

Photo courtesy of George Glarklavs

Staff Spotlight: Anna Baize

This week we are highlighting one of our newest staff members……….ANNA BAIZE

Anna Baize is a “rock”star in every way. This summer Anna hiked 300 miles through 4 states, then back to Colorado where she spent the rest of her summer at the CSU Mountain Campus, learning about streams, plants, and trees. Which brings her here to us the ELC where she will be sharing her passion for inspiring children and adults to appreciate and connect with the nature all around us. 

Anna exhibits all the qualities of a hummingbird, like not being able to stay in one place for too long, and constantly moving around, which is not a surprise since this is the animal she relates to the most. 

When joining our staff here, Anna hopes to bring her creativity, humor, and a big smile! She is so excited to meet everyone at our programs throughout the year. 

We can’t wait to see her rocking her Tevas all around the ELC. 

Check out the About Us page to meet the rest of the crew!

Welcoming New Staff to the ELC

We can knot get over how much fun we’re going to have this year! The Human Knot, name games, and other team building activities are integral to the fun, supportive community we foster here at the ELC. As new and returning staff gather, we have been attending staff training to prepare for an awesome season ahead. We are all so excited to teach children about the environment and help staff members participate in human knotfoster a passion for nature in the next generation.

Silly and serious activities like drawing life-sized versions of what the ideal environmental educator looks like, as well as pouring over important policies and safety procedures have guided the past few weeks of training. Here at the ELC we want to have as much fun as possible while teaching about this beautiful place we call home. Our educational staff is made up completely of CSU students, most of whom are in the Warner College of Natural Resources. With this much knowledge, passion, and good humor, we know this is going to be a great season!staff members draw an environmental leader



Growing Young Environmental Stewards

In April, about 100 kindergarten students from Putnam and Cache la Poudre Elementary schools visited the Environmental Learning Center for a very special project. Together with Poudre High School students and with the help of our partner, Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, they planted over 300 willow stakes along the banks of the Cache la Poudre River. The willow stakes were cut from the plants already growing along the river, like those shown below, ensuring that the stakes were perfectly adapted to this micro-climate. We enlisted the help of our Carpe Diem volunteers, many of whom are Colorado State University students, to cut and store hundreds of willow stakes.

Willow bushes grow along the riverbank

Willows are a crucial part of river ecosystems. Their branches and leaves offer forage for deer and habitat for birds and their roots help prevent erosion. After learning all about plants from their high school buddies over the course of several weeks, these kindergarten students had the unique opportunity to actively help restore an ecosystem through planting.Eroded riverbank is planted with young willow

Now, two months later, the willow saplings are sprouting and growing roots, beginning the process of creating new habitat and stabilizing areas of the riverbank that have been eroding away. Over the years, these willow saplings will grow and branch out, taking on a life of their own and providing learning opportunities for generations of students to come. If you visit this spot on the river, please watch your step and enjoy all the hard work put in by these very young environmental stewards.

Small willow stakes sprout leaves

Feb 18th E-CAMP!

Happy almost Friday everyone!

On Monday, February 18th, we had our first E-CAMP of Spring 2019!  The cold weather didn’t bother these tough middle-schoolers, and we had a blast hiking the Shoreline Trail at Lory State Park!  At Lory we learned some very important outdoor skills like Leave No Trace, including how to reduce our impact when we need to “use the facilities.” It was truly an educational adventure in nature!


Register Now for our upcoming E-CAMPS on March 30th and April 12th!  On March 30th we will be learning about animal tracking at the ELC and fishing with Trout Unlimited, and on April 12th we will be learning about mountain safety and survival at Rocky Mountain National Park! Find out more about E-CAMPS here! They’re going to be a blast!

See you there!


Get To Know Our Staff With Updated Staff Bios!

Have you ever wondered about the people working at the ELC?! If you have ever been curious about the ELC staff, whether it’s our favorite ice cream flavors or our hometowns, the “About Us” page on the ELC website is the place for you! New staff biographies are now available for all ELC staff members on our “About Us” page. 

Here’s a sneak peek of the new bios, featuring our fabulous Anna Eick! (Pssst! Anna wrote all of these wonderful new bios. Feel free to give her a high five the next time you see her!)

Anna Eick, Environmental Educator
Majoring in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources
Minoring in Conservation Biology

smiling woman holding a camera stands on wooden bridge.

Anna is from Colorado Springs. She loves getting outside and working with kids, so working at the ELC has been a win-win. Anna describes herself as an introvert but believes that this secret power gives her the ability to connect with kids who are more shy or less inclined to jump into the programs’ activities. She hopes to show kids that science and nature are accessible to anyone and not restricted to certain personalities. Anna also hopes that as these kids grow up, they would become a voice for the natural places in their communities. Anna enjoys photography, reading, hiking, camping, and napping in her free time and would love to work as an environmental interpreter for the National Park Service someday.

Fun Fact – Anna’s favorite flavor of ice cream is grasshopper. Before you get grossed out, grasshopper is a mix of cookies and cream ice cream and mint chocolate chip ice cream – no bugs involved!