School Year Programming

GARNA’s Youth Ecological Literacy Program (YELP) brings teachers, natural resource agency representatives, and volunteers together to provide science-based activities through school field trips, internships, enrichment programs and summer camps. The program currently reaches over 900 students.

The YELP program also reaches young people outside of school at after school programs, on Fridays in the Salida district and on the weekends.

GARNA’s goal is to expand the program to additional school districts and communities and is currently seeking funding to do so.

2017 Extra-Curricular and Friday Enrichment Programs

2016-17 GARNA Friday Enrichment – in partnership with Salida Recreation Department

Friday, September 23, 2016
Friday, October 21, 2016
Friday, November 11, 2016
Friday, January 27, 2017
Friday, February 3, 2017

Students will use the outdoor classroom and learn about wildlife and wildlife habitat through crafts, journaling and games. Participants must register through Salida Rec, 539-6738.

Natural Kids Series at Boys and Girls Clubs of Chaffee County

See our calendar for more information. Next date:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

GARNA and Boys & Girls Club of Chaffee County are working together to offer Natural Kids, a series of nature-based experiential learning sessions designed to foster environmental stewardship in our Upper Arkansas River Valley community. The sessions build from an introduction to sensory awareness activities in nature with the purpose of building a platform for more deeply experiencing and connecting personally to nature, then expand to teaching skills needed to be comfortable, confident and safe stewards and outdoor recreators. Later sessions will offer hands-on stewardship learning activities, culminating in the invitation for families to join their Natural Kids to forge relationships to one another through a Natural Families Nature Club, a community-driven group that gets out in nature together. Natural Kids will be held at the Boys & Girls Clubs in both Salida and Buena Vista. The program will include 6 sessions, offered once per month for 6 months between November 2015 and April 2016.

2016 Fall school field trips

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 –  (Salida) Longfellow Elementary 3rd graders – Maysville and Monarch Pass
Thursday, October 6, 2016 – Salida Middle School 6th graders – Mt. Ouray State Wildlife Area
Friday, October 14, 2016 – (Buena Vista) Avery Parsons Elementary School 4th graders – Browns Canyon National Monument

Read more about these great field trips on our news page.

Stream Explorers – GARNA/Collegiate Peaks Anglers Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Middle schoolers

Spring 2017 dates to be announced

GARNA and Collegiate Peaks Anglers Chapter of Trout Unlimited invites middle school students to “experience the natural world” as part of its FREE Stream Explorers program. The program typically takes place on four consecutive Fridays starting in April at the Scout Hut at Riverside Park in Salida. The program is co-sponsored Salida Rec as part of the Friday Enrichment program. In addition to learning about river creatures and doing aquatic experiments with fish and shrimp, students will learn to tie flies, learn basic fly casting, and go fishing with flies they tied themselves. At the first session, students will don borrowed wading gear and head into the Arkansas River. They will use nets to collect insects from under rocks and on sticks in the river. After examining what they find, students will record data, utilize microscopes, discuss and store samples for the next week.  The second session will focus on science, and students will use the samples of the organisms they collected in a variety of experiments to learn whether the critters like warm or cold, dark or light and the effects of gravity. At the third session, students will learn basic fly tying techniques, and at the final session they will put their flies to the test after practicing some basic casting. Students who attend all four sessions will receive a FREE fly rod, reel and line set up, Stream Explorers certificate, and a youth membership to Trout Unlimited. No experience is necessary.


3rd graders learn from a CO Parks & Wildlife instructor

3rd graders learn from a CO Parks & Wildlife instructor

6th graders work on a trail restoration project

6th graders work on a trail restoration project

10th graders experience multi-use examples from BLM instructors

10th graders experience multi-use examples from BLM instructors


GARNA is the Arkansas River Valley’s only local broadly focused conservation and educational institution with non-profit status. GARNA is supported by membership fees…will you join us?

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