The 2019-2020 school year position has been filled, if you are interested for 2020-2021, its not too early to inquire!

Are you ready for your next adventure? Give a year of service to your country by becoming an AmeriCorps member with GARNA’s Youth Ecological Literacy Program through Alpine Achievers Initiative! 

Each year, 20 AmeriCorps members come from all over the country to join Alpine Achievers Initiative in their mission of serving youth of rural southern Colorado. This is an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, move somewhere new and unique, and get professional experience before your next step in life.

Meet the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA), one of Alpine Achievers Initiative’s member sites.  Serving with GARNA, you will help plan and lead school field trips, enrichment programs, and camps with GARNA’s Youth Ecological Literacy Program (YELP).

YELP energizes school curriculum by adding a hands-on outdoor learning component to enhance teachers’ curriculum while meeting Colorado Academic Standards.  Participation in the program strengthens young people’s connectedness to the natural world and inspires them to practice environmental stewardship and communicate these concepts to peers and family.  GARNA strongly believes that all students deserve access to outdoor experiences to learn and build skills while gaining a personal connection to nature.  Through environmental education, GARNA envisions a generation that is environmentally literate and makes choices that support well-being of healthy ecosystems in the Upper Arkansas Valley.

Serve with GARNA and support leading field work about topics like stream ecology, forestry, pollinators, orienteering, bats, fire ecology, and birds.  Our programs take place on public lands around the Upper Arkansas Watershed and help strengthen youths’ ties to these unique places.

The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1996, to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences. Our office is located in downtown Salida, but our geographic working region extends along the Upper Arkansas Watershed from Western Fremont County to Lake County.  GARNA has a staff of four, a 13-person working board, over 100 dedicated volunteers, and 350 members; you can read more about us at

GARNA’s Youth Ecological Literacy Program (YELP) was developed from a grant from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2010.  Now in its 9th year, YELP reaches over 1,700 students annually in Leadville, Buena Vista, and Salida with field work, enrichment programs, camps, and internships.  GARNA volunteers as well as representatives from the US Forest Service, BLM, CO Parks and Wildlife, Trout Unlimited, Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, Southwest Conservation Corps and others assist in implementing the program.


All work and no play? That’s not how it works here. AmeriCorps members with Alpine Achievers Initiative are provided with outdoor adventures such as rock climbing camps, backpacking trips, and other group excursions. There are also several retreats throughout the year with professional development trainings to assist you in your service and your future.