Connecting Kids to the Outdoors

Mission & history

For more than two decades Catamount Institute has been providing outdoor education and adventures to youth in the Pikes Peak Region.

A movement to get kids outdoors

Mission statement

Our mission is to connect kids to the outdoors. We connect kids to outdoor science education & adventures. It is here that kids learn they have the powerful ability to change the world around them & even as kids they can make a difference. Our programs are designed to use the natural curiosity of the child to spark a love of life long learning.

Numerous studies show that youth grades K-12 benefit physically, emotionally, and academically from environmental education. We believe that these benefits should be accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status. We strive to offer our state-recognized programs to all youth. strive to spark young minds to be leaders in protecting the environment, contributing to the next generation of citizens with the knowledge needed & motivation to address 21st-century challenges. Through outdoor science adventures, students gain skills in making a difference & an intrinsic belief that they can. That confidence and empowerment spills into all aspects of their lives.


Memberships that inspire us

Past & Present


Catamount Institute was born as a private foundation in 1997 when Colorado College professors Julie Francis and Howard Drossman purchased 177 acres of the old YMCA Catamount Ranch on the north slope of Pikes Peak near Woodland Park and created a mountain campus dedicated to ecological stewardship, research, education, and leadership.


Seeing the need for environmental education in the more urban areas of the region, Catamount Institute moved part of the operations into a shared office in downtown Colorado Springs with The Nature Conservancy.


Catamount Institute received the Colorado Environmental Education Best New Program Award for its Young Environmental Stewards Club (YES Club).


Catamount Institute became a public charity nonprofit corporation, while the mountain campus continued to operate as a private foundation under the new name of Catamount Center.


Catamount Institute moved to its current location at the Beidleman Environmental Center in the 100 acres Sondermann Park. Catamount Institute received the El Pomar Award for Excellence the same year.


Catamount Institute starts a business program called the Pikes Peak Sustainable Business Network to promote the triple bottom line, People-Planet-Profit, while continuing to expand its award-winning youth education programs.


Catamount Institute wins the Palmer Land Trust Stewardship Award for its youth education programs to include field trips, camps, and after-school clubs.


Catamount Institute benefited for the second year from the Veda Salon and Spa Earth Month Greenie Awards and Fashion Show. The show features dresses created from recycled materials.


Catamount Institute and the Woodland Park School district start an Elementary wide outdoor school program. All elementary school students K-5 in the Woodland Park School District receive 5-12 hours of outdoor science classes as part of their school year.


We serve over seven thousand youth and adults each year at schools, parks, camps, and business locations all over the Pikes Peak region. We use innovative research, current events, and lessons (consistent with Colorado Department of Education Science Standards) to fulfill our mission, and encourage people to think about their relationship to the environment.

Donate today!

Support outdoor education by making a donation today!
If we had a dollar from every smile and positive outdoor experience we have created over the years we wouldn’t need to ask for one from you. Your support means the world to us and the families we serve.

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