Youth Ecological Literacy Program (YELP)

GARNA strongly believes that all students deserve access to outdoor experiences to learn and build skills while gaining a personal connection to nature, at no or low costs to students and school districts.  9 out of 10 YELP programs are free to participants and funded through GARNA memberships, grants, and sponsorships.

Participation in YELP strengthens young people’s connectedness to the natural world and inspires them to practice taking care of the environment and communicate these concepts to peers and family.  YELP energizes school curriculum by adding a hands-on outdoor learning component to enhance teachers’ curriculum while addressing state standards.

Through environmental education, GARNA envisions a generation that is environmentally literate and makes choices to support the well-being of healthy ecosystems in the Upper Arkansas Valley.


YELP History: 

YELP was developed from a grant from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2010.  Now in it’s 8th 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.

In 2018, YELP received funding the US Forest Service,  BLM, Town of Buena Vista, City of Salida, Salida Rotary,  Get Outdoors Leadville (GOCO Inspire Initiative Recipient), Monarch Community Outreach, Chaffee Marijuana Excise Tax Advisory Board, the Collegiate Peaks Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), and New Belgium Brewing. We have also received financial support from many local businesses:  Thanks to Salida Mountain Sports, Soulcraft Brewing, 50 Burger, Moonlight Pizza, and High Country Bank.

Want to help?

You can provide financial support by joining GARNA and/or by providing a cash donation. An individual membership at $35 pays for one student to go on 2 all day field trips and benefit from 2 classroom visits with the GARNA Youth Ecological Literacy Program.

Do you have a background in the natural sciences or just find it rewarding to work outside with kids? Contact Youth Ecological Literacy Coordinator, Emily Henderson, to connect! or call 719-539-5106.