Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) offers science and conservation education, with consistent long-term mentoring by natural resource professionals, to culturally diverse urban youth and their families to ensure they become stewards to the natural resources of the State of Colorado.  Through classroom-based, educational programs, experiential field-based activities, and a college preparation and summer employment program, ELK reaches more than 4,000 youth and families each year with engaging science education and youth development programs.

ELK is a Denver-based, 501(c)3 organization established in 1996 by two wildlife biologists who saw a growing need to introduce and educate Colorado’s urban youth about science, leadership, and careers.  This need arose from the realization that all young people need strong educational support, good role models, and opportunities for positive community action in order to become engaged, productive, and successful members of society.  For the past ten years, ELK has successfully achieved its goals by providing both classroom and experiential field activities to more than 32,000 at-risk youth and their families across the Denver metro area.  ELK programs reach young people from ages 5 to 25 years old.  Most youth return year after year to stay connected to ELK’s highly-engaged learning community; many of whom continue to participate with ELK, as volunteer mentors after high school graduation and while attending college. ELK has secured over $45,000 in college scholarships to ensure that ELK youth complete their college educations.

Stacie Gilmore
Executive Director
Environmental Learning for Kids
14460 E. 50th Ave.
Denver, CO 80239
(303) 371-8658 phone
(303) 371-3009 fax


Environmental Professionals of Color (EPOC)

EPOC is a network of over 750 leaders nationwide who are often the only person or one of the few people of color working at their environmental institutions. It provides support, opportunities to grow and develop as leaders, and tools to be effective change agents.  EPOC members develop and implement projects that effectively utilize their unique and valuable roles as bridges between the environmental community and communities of color.  For example, the EPOC Portland chapter led the original Diversifying the Environmental Movement Forum in Portland, OR.  We currently have Portland, Seattle, and Atlanta chapters and are developing new chapters in New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Denver, Boston, North Carolina and Chicago.

If you are a person of color and would like to join the Environmental Professionals of Color network, please email Queta González at 

Outward Bound Adventures (OBA)

Since its founding in 1962, OBA has gained a strong reputation for delivering high quality environmental education programs for low-income, urban, and at-risk youth, including those with special needs.  OBA’s innovative programs have changed the lives of thousands of young people, many of whom otherwise might have never experienced the beneficial and restorative effects of time spent in wild places and open spaces.  The OBA experience compels participants to confront perceived societal and self imposed limitations and to consider the endless possibilities the world has to offer them.  Though participants are encouraged to enjoy themselves, OBA trips are not all fun and games.  Participants are challenged physically and mentally, resulting in upgraded academic performance and improved interpersonal skills.  OBA is committed to providing access to the outdoors for inner-city families; to develop an environmental ethic in at-risk and urban youth through challenging learning trips; and to promote and increase diversity in outdoor recreation and environmental careers.

The organizational seed of OBA was planted in 1959 when Helen Mary Williams, then a teacher at the Pasadena elementary school attended by baseball legend Jackie Robinson, recognized that her students could benefit from time spent away from the city and in the natural environment.       This inspired her to work with parents and local activists to begin a Junior Audubon Club as an after school program.  As the students, who were primarily African American, Hispanic, and Asian, gained more outdoor experience and knowledge, they gained more confidence, improved their school performance and strengthened their interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.  In 1964 the Junior Audubon Club became Outward Bound Adventures.  Two years later OBA officially incorporated.  In 1965, the Los Angeles Watts riots occurred. OBA founders instinctively knew that OBA programs would greatly benefit the youth of Los Angeles.  By 1966, OBA expanded its service area beyond Pasadena to include Watts and all of Los Angeles County.  Throughout OBA’s history, the mission has remained unchanged.

OBA is an organization of “firsts” and is a pioneer in the effort to bring diversity into the environmental field.  We work to engage youth from different socio-economic backgrounds in Ecoliteracy, environmental careers, and outdoor recreation opportunities.  Past OBA participants went on to become one of the first of many in their field including the following: one of the first Asians on a US Forest Service Silva Culture Crew; one of the first Latino California State Park Rangers; the first African American female on a US Forest Service Helitac Crew; and one of the first African American ecologist for the Department of Defense.

Eileen Carter
Office Manager
Outward Bound Adventures
2020 N. Lincoln Ave
Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 564-0844 phone


Center for Whole Communites

Center for Whole Communities was created in 2003 to build healthier communities through stronger, more enduring relationships to the land. We serve as a bridge connecting varied interests around land issues; a safe harbor where very different groups can vision together, find shared values, and move forward in unconventional collaborations. Our alumni include a great diversity of people who focus their lives and work on the land: community development practitioners, wilderness advocates, politicians, environmental justice activists, rural and urban farmers, conservationists, and businesspeople. They are working in over 300 organizations or communities across the nation.

Through our Whole Thinking and Whole Measures programs, we seek to help activists build whole communities through their work by building bridges across divides and strengthening collaboration. We are committed to reaching and serving diverse audiences and to addressing issues of race, class, privilege and power through our work. Our organizational statement on those issues can be reached through our website’s home page or at

We train activists in our theories of change through six-day Whole Thinking Retreats and two-day Whole Thinking Workshops. Those forums help participants to reframe their work within the context of values, to redefine what success means in their work, and to discover reflective, creative practices that build civic engagement, open the door for more authentic collaborations, allow for deeper dialogue, and offer new ways of leading.

Center for Whole Communities
700 Bragg Hill Road
Fayston, VT 05673
(802) 496-5690


African American Outdoor Association (AAOA)

The mission of the African American Outdoor Association (AAOA) is to encourage and support the efforts of African Americans to increase their fitness, health and wellness by pursuing vigorous outdoor activities that bring them into the natural environment.

The impetus for the creation of AAOA is the disproportionately high rates of deadly diseases among African Americans, including heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. Through safe, educational, and enjoyable group outdoor adventures, the African American Outdoor Association promotes physical activity and stress reduction, as well as encourages an appreciation of the Northwest’s natural beauty.

The AAOA was founded with the realization that outdoor and environmental education programs exist for youth, such as the mandatory Outdoor School Programs and summer/after school programs. In the mean time, African American adults are dying at a higher rate than the mainstream population, in part because of lifestyle choices. Sedentary lifestyle and poor diet lead to obesity, which increases the likelihood of diabetes and other diseases. The AAOA provides an opportunity for adults that do not currently have a habit of exercising to take easy-paced walks in small groups, which gradually increases their overall fitness and sense of well being. Youth have also participated in AAOA outings, and we encourage youth to begin early with an active lifestyle as a prevention measure.

AAOA activities include hiking, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Gregory J. Wolley
African American Outdoor Association
(503) 957-0024

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