2015-2016 School Year Wrap-up by the Numbers

From a two-school pilot created for the 2013-2014 school year, SOLE has quickly increased capacity. During the 2015-2016 school year, 25 schools across Colorado participated in the program.

  • 25 Participating Schools
    • 19 School Districts represented
    • 69 fourth grade classrooms participated
    • 1,707 total fourth grade students
  • 36 Partner Organizations
  • 67 Field Trips
    • 19 State Park/Hatchery/Office field trips
    • 4 multi-day overnight trips
  • 24 Family Nature Nights
    • 2,647 participants – 1,625 kids and 1,022 adults
    • 28 partner organizations participated in these hands-on events
    • Wildlife officers, parks staff, hatchery staff, CPW interns, and education coordinators across the state supported events
    • Coleman and Cabela’s each donated $9,000-$10,000 in product as event giveaways
  • 45 In-class Programs
  • Other SOLE Happenings
    • 4 schools received archery equipment to participate in the National Archery in the Schools Program
    • 13 schools participated in the SOLE Art Contest and winners were displayed at all 3 Cabela’s locations
    • First SOLE/CPW Family event scheduled for July 16, 2016 at CPW Broadway Office!


The SOLE program would not be possible without  the amazing schools, teachers, and students that we work with.  We worked with two schools during the pilot year and expanded to ten additional schools throughout the Denver-metro area the following year. For the 2015-2016 school year, we have reached 25 schools all across the state.


Achieve Academy (Thornton)

Eagle Valley Elementary (Eagle)

Edison Elementary (Denver)

Eiber Elementary (Lakewood)

Kenneth P. Morris Elementary (Yuma)

King Murphy (Evergreen)

La Veta Elementary (La Veta)

Las Animas Elementary (Las Animas)

Longfellow Elementary (Salida)

McGlone Elementary (Denver)

Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment (Denver)

Murphy Creek (Aurora)

Milliken Elementary (Milliken)

Moffat Consolidated Elementary (Moffat)

Peiffer Elementary (Littleton)

Pennock Elementary (Brighton)

Pinnacle Charter Elementary (Federal Heights)

Pomona Elementary (Grand Junction)

Queen Palmer Elementary (Colorado Springs)

Roxborough Intermediate (Littleton)

Secrest Elementary (Arvada)

Sierra Grande (Blanca)

Thunder Valley (Frederick)

Vista PEAK Exploratory (Aurora)

Walden Elementary (Walden)

SOLE Highlights 2015-2016

First Annual SOLE Family Barbecue and Outdoor Adventure Day

July 16, 2016

For the first time ever, we hosted a day of adventure right here at our Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) office. SOLE families from near and far joined the CPW team to try their hands at an array of outdoor activities: fishing, archery, shooting, an obstacle course, crafts, and more.

Families, educators, hunters, anglers, District Wildlife Managers, volunteers, and even a furry companion all sat alongside one another… Under the same shining sun, one thing connected us all- a love for the outdoors. 

View photos and read more about it here.

Tell Us What You Think!

Tell us your thoughts on the SOLE program, suggestions for Family Nature Nights, and more. For helping us improve, you’ll be entered into a drawing for an annual state parks pass ($70.00 value)!

Click HERE to take the family survey!

SOLE Takes a Stroll through Staunton State Park

May 23-26, 2016

As the sun beamed down on flourishing plant life, SOLE students leaped, laughed, and learned their way through Staunton State Park. Humming birds buzzed through the sky and beetles crept along the forest floor. Flowers stood out brightly and lichen laid itself upon the rocks. Fish swam through the ponds as bald eagles patrolled the air above.

Edison and McGlone Elementary wrapped up the SOLE school year with a stroll through this beautiful ecosystem. Whether you prefer hiking, fishing, birding, or picnicking, Colorado State Parks are a fantastic place to enjoy the outdoors!

Thank you to all of our partners, schools, and CPW staff for a FANTASTIC year. We’ll see you again in the fall!

SOLE Schools Celebrate the Outdoors at our Final Family Nature Nights

May 2016

SOLE staff traversed the mountains, valleys, and plains this year to host 24 Family Nature Nights across the entire state of Colorado. Thank you to all who helped make this happen!

As the school year comes to a close, more families around the state celebrated the outdoors at SOLE’s final Family Nature Nights of the year! Peiffer, Achieve, and Thunder Valley helped SOLE wrap up by hosting these exciting, inspiring events at their schools.

SOLE staff traversed the mountains, valleys, and plains this year to host 24 Family Nature Nights across the entire state of Colorado. Thousands of individuals attended these events. Students, siblings, parents, infants, grandparents, teachers, and friends all joined together for nature-themed and outdoor fun.

None of this would be possible without our fantastic partners, statewide Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff, and participating school staff. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Roxborough Celebrates Their Certified Wildlife Habitat

May 19, 2016

With the help of SOLE staff, Roxborough Intermediate School had a celebration to honor all of the hard work students had put into building a nature trail and a Certified Wildlife Habitat according to the guidelines set by the National Wildlife Federation. The mission of SOLE is to connect kids to the outdoors and we are so proud of Roxborough students for taking the initiative to bring the outdoors to their own school for themselves and future generations of students. Read more about it here.

Pomona Conserves Endangered Species at Connected Lakes

May 12, 2016

Pomona Elementary students raised fish fry to be released in the Connected Lakes at James M. Robb Colorado River State Park, assisting in the recovery of an endangered native species- the Razorback Sucker. Students also went on a nature hike,assisted with restoration efforts, and played excited nature themed games. Check out photos and read more about it here!

Moffat Camps Out at Chico Basin Ranch

May 9-10, 2016

The sun shined through a blue sky when Moffat SOLE students arrived at Chico Basin Ranch for their overnight field trip. In collaboration with the Catamount Institute and Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, educators led their campers through an array of outdoor activities. As the sun set, stars filled the sky and crickets began chirping. The campers hunkered down in their tents for a good night’s sleep before the following day’s adventures. Read more about their adventures and check out photos here.

On the Road Again

May 5, 2016

SOLE staff hit the road again this week! After journeying to Yuma, we trekked Colorado’s eastern plains to Las Animas. On another beautiful evening, Family Nature Night overtook the school! With bright eyes and smiling faces, families explored the outdoors. Read more about it and check out photos here.

A Sunny Family Nature Night at Kenneth P. Morris Elementary

May 4, 2016

The sun beamed through blue skies for a fun-filled Family Nature Night at Kenneth P. Morris Elementary. The evening was filled with an array of exciting, educational outdoor activities: fishing, archery, bird identification, and more. Check out photos and read more about it here.

Thunder Valley Roars with Excitement at Rocky Mountain Arsenal

April 28, 2016

As snow fell from a dreary sky, Thunder Valley SOLE students refused to let the weather get them down at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Despite the cold weather, there was no shortage of wildlife to view nor exhibits to explore! The highlight of the day? The opportunity to view the most endangered mammal in North America— the Black-footed Ferret. Check out photos and read more about it here.

Outdoor Excitement at Eagle Valley’s Family Nature Night

April 21, 2016

The SOLE team has been on the road again! After weaving through mountains to Walden, our journey continued to Eagle Valley Elementary to put on yet another Family Nature Night. As the sun beamed down, fluffy clouds painted a blue sky while families enjoyed an evening with Colorado Parks & Wildlife and our fantastic participating partners. Check out photos and read more about it here.

A Wild Family Nature Night at Walden Elementary

April 20, 2016

Walden students, their families, and SOLE partners joined together for a wild night full of fun and nature! As our Red-tailed Hawk mascot soared through the school, families enjoyed an array of outdoor activities such as archery, fishing, bird identification, and trivia. Check out photos and read more about it here.

Milliken Explores Depths Unknown

April 14, 2016

Milliken SOLE students journeyed to the Poudre Learning Center on a beautiful day to explore all of the creatures that lurk in streams and lakes. As pelicans and herons soared through the skies above, other creatures swam within the waters below. Check out photos and read more about it here.

Achieve Experiences Life on the Plains

April 8, 2016

It’s 1887. Cheyenne camps grace the plains and tipis tower over the vast horizon. Homesteaders are heading west, trekking alongside their wagons and creating settlements from sod. Achieve SOLE students traveled back in time, walking in the shoes of both Native Americans and early settlers, with the Plains Conservation Center. What was life like on the plains? Find out here!

Murphy Creek Makes Memories at Family Nature Night

April 6, 2016

The SOLE team, along with our fantastic participating partners, brought the outdoors to Murphy Creek K-8 School for a fun-filled Family Nature Night. The evening was filled with an array of exciting, educational outdoor activities: archery, fishing, trivia, bird watching, Colorado history bingo, live snakes, wildlife biofacts, prizes, pizza, and more. Check out photos and read more about it here.

Peiffer Explores Chatfield State Park

April 6, 2016

Lurking beneath the surface,  a peculiar creature shapes the landscape and alters the river’s flow. Though elusive during the daytime, it leaves scattered hints of its presence: tracks, downed trees, teeth marks, lodges, and dams. Peiffer SOLE students explored unseen depths of Chatfield State Park in search of these clues. Read more about it here.

Boardwalks and Birds at Barr Lake State Park

April 1, 2016

Thunder Valley students bounced, skipped, and piggy backed their way through Barr Lake State Park on a beautiful day! Across bridges and boardwalks, birds could be seen flying high as their songs echoed through the trees. Where might their nests be? How can they make their nests safe? Luckily, there was no shortage of naturalists to guide us toward the answers. Check out photos and read more about it here.

Pomona Plays at their Family Nature Night

March 15, 2016

From Family Nature Nights (FNN) in Southeast and Southwest Colorado one week to hosting a FNN in Northwest Colorado the next, the SOLE team has been busy traveling around the state to bring the outdoors to our SOLE schools. Photos of our first FNN in the Northwest Region at Pomona Elementary in Grand Junction, CO can be found here.

Family Nature Night in Moffat

March 10, 2016

SOLE staff has been on the road, traversing the San Luis Valley to put on yet another successful Family Nature Night! Students, their families, Colorado Parks & Wildlife staff, and our fantastic participating partners enjoyed a beautiful evening full of fun outdoor activities at Moffat Consolidated Elementary. In addition to fishing and archery, families also got to throw spears! Check out the photos here.

 Fun and Laughter at Longfellow’s Family Nature Night

March 9, 2016

Colorado Parks and Wildlife, along with our fantastic participating partners, brought the outdoors to Longfellow Elementary for a fun-filled Family Nature Night. The evening was filled with an array of exciting, educational outdoor activities: archery, fishing, trivia, GPS navigation, and more. Check out photos and read more about it here.

 Peiffer Explores Prairies with Denver Botanic Gardens

March 8, 2016

Prairies, plants, and producers- oh my! These are just a few of the many topics covered during Denver Botanic Garden’s  in-class program with Peiffer SOLE students.

What species live on a prairie? How do they fit into the ecosystem? Students explored the answers with a variety of fun, engaging, hands-on activities. Find out what they learned here.

 Fun and Fishing at Sierra Grande’s Family Nature Night

February 25, 2016

Students and their families enjoyed an evening of nature themed fun at Sierra Grande School. As the sun set, families shuffled into the school for pizza and a spectacular round of activities. The auditorium was transformed into a fishing hole and archery range. An archaeology dig site appeared amidst the hallways. Families explored their creative side, embracing the outdoors inside the art room. Check out photos and read more about it here.

 A Day in Court with Pennock Elementary

February 22-23, 2016

When is the last time you actually wanted to go to court? Fortunately Pennock students were guilt-free and had nothing to fear. Instead of arguing a case, they spent the day exploring the wonders within the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center. Protecting the outdoors we love requires laws, policies, and the people that prepare them. Check out what Pennock SOLE students learned here.

A Fun-Filled Family Nature Night at Montclair

February 17, 2016

Students and their families enjoyed an evening of nature themed fun with Colorado Parks & Wildlife and our fantastic participating partners: Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, The Wildlife Experience, Cabela’s, History Colorado, Barr Lake State Park, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the City of Aurora Morrison Nature Center.

The evening was filled with exciting outdoor activities, fun, fishing, families, pizza, and prizes! Read more about it here.

 McGlone Students Roar with Excitement at The Wildlife Experience

February 12, 2016

McGlone SOLE students were eager to sprint past statues of elk, eagles, cranes, and beavers to The Wildlife Experience museum. They learned about biomes, came face to face with an elephant, and dove into the underwater kingdom of Asia. They even got an up close and personal look at a live Ball Python! We had a fantastic time exploring the world’s wildlife! Read more about it here.

Thunder Valley Soars into the World of Birds

February 5, 2016

Thunder Valley SOLE students enjoyed an in-class presentation by one of our cherished SOLE partners, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. Students were thrilled to learn about the unique adaptations of many different birds. After that, they got the opportunity to invent and create their own birds! Take a look at these SOLE students’ creativity and read more about it here. Laughs and giggles filled the classroom. It was joyous for students and educators alike. We can’t wait to see Thunder Valley again at Barr Lake!

A Spring Full of SOLE

Now that all the SOLE students, teachers, and staff have come back from a low-key holiday season, we have a busy, jam-packed spring schedule for the SOLE program!  Along with most of our SOLE schools having at least one, if not two or three more field trip experiences, in-class presentations, and Family Nature Nights.

With 20 Family Nature Nights throughout all the regions of Colorado, the SOLE staff will be traveling a lot! There are many opportunities to be involved with the SOLE program. If you are interested in learning how you can be involved with the SOLE program, you can contact:

Tracy Gripp
SOLE School Programs Coordinator

See how you can help connect kids to nature!

Pinnacle Plays at History Colorado

January 11-13, 2016

Pinnacle Charter Elementary SOLE students embarked on their History Colorado experience this week. Pinnacle is one of our largest schools, so they had to divide their classes over three days of field trips at History Colorado! The students were thrilled to explore the hands-on exhibits. This was Pinnacle’s third and final field trip experience for the 2015-2016 school year. Read more about it here. We will next be hosting their Family Nature Night…we can’t wait to connect with students and their families on that night!

Eiber SOLE Students: Receiving the Gift of the Great Outdoors

December 16, 2015

Eiber Elementary students were able to visit History Colorado…but this field trip had a unique twist on it. There has been a federal effort called Every Kid in a Park  with a misson to connect fourth graders and their family members to national lands. As many of our SOLE Partners are federal organizations, we thought Eiber students would benefit from meeting these great partners who can connect them with more outdoor opportunities. Upon meeting with the Every Kid in a Park federal partners, each Eiber student received their free pass to explore national lands! After receiving their free Every Kid in a Park pass, Eiber students continued with the regular History Colorado field trip visit. Read more about it here.

A Rendezvous with SOLE Educators at Pennock Elementary

December 16, 2015

For the second year in a row, educators from CPW and History Colorado joined together at Pennock Elementary for their annual 4th grade Rendezvous Day. This event is a whole school day set aside for fourth grade students to learn and explore about Colorado’s rich history of mountain men who settled the state and their interaction with Colorado’s wildlife and land. Read more about it here.

By making the connection between Colorado’s history of early settlers benefiting from our natural resources, we hope SOLE students will feel more ownership to the great state they call home.

Achieve Elementary Explores Colorado’s History

December 7, 2015

The winter months are a great time for our SOLE schools to visit the History Colorado center…and last week was when Achieve Elementary students were able to explore hands-on what makes our state so unique.

Filing off of the bus and into History Colorado, students were eager to visit each exhibit! As with most our other SOLE students who visit, the “Sunnyside Mine” and “Dust Bowl” were their favorites. By bringing SOLE students to History Colorado, we hope their fascination with Colorado’s history will connect with their love to our unique landscapes and wildlife. Read more about it here.

Yuma Indians Take A Trip Back in Time at the History Colorado Center…and set off some dynamite.

November 20, 2015

Students from Yuma’s Kenneth P. Morris Elementary ventured to History Colorado recently to take a trip back in time and explore some of our state’s story of yesteryear!

The group of 4th graders started their tour at Destination Colorado, an exhibit staged and modeled after the now mostly deserted settlement of Keota. But down at History Colorado Center, Keota is still a flourishing town (It is 1918 down there, after all!). SOLE students got the chance to trade goods at the general store, take some “old-timey” photos to add to the town yearbook, cruise in a Model T ford down a dusty two-track road, and…[read more here]


Peiffer Panthers Talk Riparian Ecosystems at Carson Nature Center

November 2015

SOLE students from Peiffer Elementary headed over to the South Platte Park Carson Nature Center (CNC) this November to explore a riparian ecosystem first-hand. The Panthers met up with CNC staff to discover the interconnectedness of the world around them—from living elements such as beavers and trees, to nonliving elements such as water and rocky inclines—students pieced together an ecosystem puzzle as a class to demonstrate how everything depends on one another. Read more about it here.

 Eagle Valley SOLE Students Soar at  Sylvan Lake State Park

November 10, 2015

Students from Eagle Valley Elementary ventured to Sylvan Lake State Park last week as part of their first trip within Colorado Park’s & Wildlife’s SOLE program. Two organizations, Sylvan Lake and Ute Springs Experiential Learning Center, partnered with SOLE to create a Colorado-class adventure for the 4th graders.

At Sylvan Lake State Park, they met up with Ranger Travis Long, where they learned [read more here…]

Welcome to SOLE!

The Schools and Outdoor Learning Environments (SOLE) program started in 2013 as a pilot program through Colorado Parks and Wildlife by funding from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) with one simple mission:

Connect kids to the outdoors!

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In 2013, the pilot program began with fourth grade classes in two schools: Pennock Elementary (Brighton, CO) and Roxborough Intermediate School (Littleton, CO).  In 2014, the program expanded to include the two pilot schools with an additional nine schools spanning the Denver Metro area…a total of 1,900 students.  These schools range all across the spectrum of demographics and location.

As a school participating in the SOLE program, funding provides for each fourth grade student to:

•3 field trips (1 of which will be a state park visit)•
•In-class presentations•
•Family Nature Night•

In the 2015-2016 school year, the SOLE program continues to expand throughout all the regions of the state, now reaching a total of 25 schools across Colorado. Interested in becoming a SOLE school next year? Contact us.

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