Environmental Education Programs
for Schools & Community Groups
Click to jump down to these topics:
»Frequently Asked Questions
»Program Topic List
»Program Request Form
»Leading your Own Hike
»Creek Critters Puppet Show
»Kids' Fun Pages (Great downloadable resources)
»Online Resources & Learning Hub
"Good teaching is one-fourth preparation
and three-fourths theater."
Watch a video about free hikes on Open Space and Mountain Parks!
From Flagstaff Mountain to Sombrero Marsh, from Chautauqua Meadow to Doudy Draw, there are natural treasures to be found. The lands of Open Space and Mountain Parks contain the Flatiron formations, forests, prairies, wetlands, and abundant wildlife. We encourage educators and community members to take advantage of this outdoor classroom and the services provided free by Open Space and Mountain Parks staff. We are happy to help you in any way we can. Send us email at Environmental Education Programs,
, or call 303-413-7616 for more information.
Great resources and ideas for families to Connect Kids to Nature - visit the web page or download the brochure .
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do programs cost? Nothing! Open Space & Mountain Parks offers these programs free of charge as a community service, supported by City of Boulder sales tax. To pay for your program, shop in Boulder. Exception: For-profit corporations will be charged a fee of $200 per naturalist to cover operational costs.
How large a group can I bring? Classroom programs have no upper limit, hikes are limited to 75 participants based on naturalist availability. If you plan to bring your own group without an OSMP guide, you may need a permit.
Do programs align with Colorado's State Model Content standards? Yes! OSMP programs are custom created for each group and therefore easily comply with Colorado State educational standards.
How do I sign up? Email us the Program Request Form on this website or call 303-413-7616 to request a form in the mail. We need a minimum of four weeks advance notice to process your request at which time we will email you a confirmation if we can accommodate you.
How far in advance must I sign up? We require four weeks, more during busy months (April - June, September-October).
How often can I sign up? Please no more than two programs per group or class per year.
Are programs offered in Spanish? Yes! Be sure and specify this option when you register.
May I bring students with special needs? Our naturalists have no special training to work with children with special needs. You must bring an aide or assistant who is familiar with the children. Please specify this when you register.
Are programs only for schools? Scout groups, adult classes, church groups, community clubs and organizations are all welcome and will not be charged for programs.
Are there age limits on the group? Pre-school to infinity.
Must we observe park rules on our trip? Yes. Please familiarize yourself and your group with Open Space and Mountain Parks rules and regulations before your trip.
Do you have online resources for educators? Yes! Visit our E Learning Hub for an ever-growing selection of resources to help you plan classes, workshops, and activities. Download information and activities for geology, flora, fauna, and history.
Naturalist-led Programs and Hikes
Open Space and Mountain Parks staff and volunteers provide free hikes in the park and slide shows and talks in the classroom. We have been committed to providing quality environmental education and interpretation for over 25 years. Our programs are intended to instill respect and appreciation for the natural environment and encourage conservation-minded decision making.We want your experience with us to be a memorable one. Please see the list of program topics provided by Open Space and Mountain Parks. These topics may be tailored to meet the needs of your group. The more information you can provide on your curriculum needs and lesson planning, the better we can integrate your learning experience in the park. For more information or to receive a request form by mail, call 303-413-7616. If you are ready to register, please use the request form on this website.
Please register at least four weeks in advance.
You can request hikes and programs for any day except holidays. April through June and September are busy months; we appreciate if you can schedule at other times.
Many programs can be presented in the classroom. Let us bring open space to you!
For hikes, small groups are preferable. However, we understand that scheduling and transportation may dictate your group size, and we will do our best to accommodate hiking groups of up to 60. We strive to maintain a ratio of 15 participants per naturalist, hence we will divide large groups between several guides.
We offer programs in Spanish.
Participants with disabilities or special needs must be accompanied by a trained aide or teacher familiar with the any special requirements.
Creek Critters Puppet Show
Boulder's Water Quality Outreach also offers excellent free programs for teachers, including the hilarious Creek Critters Puppet Show. Follow along the Boulder Creek Watershed from the high mountain streams to the confluence with the St. Vrain. Learn why clean water is important to Boulder Creek Critters and how you can help protect and conserve water. Learn how you can bring the Creek Critters to your classroom.
Leading Your Own Nature Hike
If you wish to take a hike without a park naturalist, the following guidelines will help ensure an enjoyable experience with minimal impact to the environment:
- OSMP requires a Special Use Permit for all school visits by educational groups with 25 or more participants, except for OSMP-sponsored educational field trips. Please make every effort to apply at least 14 days in advance.
- Educational groups with between 25 and 49 participants are required to obtain a permission letter, and must notify OSMP at least two weeks before the trip. It is not necessary to fill out the special use permit application to obtain a permission letter. OSMP will check if the field trip site can support the group, and send low impact guidelines for you to follow.
- An educational group must be part of a curricular school activity; this includes non-competitive or training athletic activities, and before or after school activities, as long as they are related to regular school programming. It does not include clubs or camps; these need a commercial use permit. Competitive athletic activities are not allowed.
- Special Use Permits are free at www.osmppermits.org. Please try to apply 14 days before your trip to give us time for review, and for you to receive your permit.
- Outside organizations that are using school facilities and are charging a fee, receiving money for a service or require a donation, and operate on OSMP lands, are required to get a Commercial Use Permit (visit www.osmppermits.org for details).
Please direct your questions to
10-15 minute Welcome Talks by an OSMP naturalist are available upon request and strongly encouraged.
We also encourage you to design your curriculum before your trip to maximize educational benefits. We are happy to assist in any way we can. Come on a pre-hike visit to the park if possible, or explore this website to get acquainted with the area.
For inspiration and ideas, visit our E Learning Hub for a ever-growing selection of resources to help you plan. Download information and activities for geology, flora, fauna, and history.
Download Common Ground (a guide to exploring your home) 630.85 Kb. This guide contains many thought provoking activities and questions that can enrich a field trip.
Download puzzles and word searches to share with children. Visit our Kids'Pages to see what is available.
Familiarize your group with park rules and regulations before your trip. A copy of these regulations and a free map can be mailed to you upon request.
Send us email at Environmental Education Programs,
, or call 303-413-7616 for more information.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 January 2013 14:34