Mission: Watershed education & stewardship of protected areas.
Results: Nearly 20 years working in the Cottonwood Canyons.
Target demographics: Supporting the environment of the Cottonwood Canyons through stewardship and education.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Thousands of participants come to our programs each year.
Geographic areas served: Cottonwood Canyons, adjacent to Salt Lake City, Utah
Programs: - Trail crew: Manages the majority of trail maintenance within both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons and assists with trail work in Millcreek Canyon.
- Invasive weeds / native revegetaion: Manages the majority of invasive weed removal, seed collection and revegetation projects in Big and Little Cottonwood and Millcreek canyons.
- Public education: Ski with a Ranger teaches watershed and recognition of public lands and non political environmental education on skis and snowboards at the ski resorts in the Cottonwood Canyons. Wasatch Wildflower Guides teaches flower identification, canyon history, watershed and public lands awareness each summer on wildflower walks and culminating in the four day Wasatch Wildflower Festival. Snowshoe Tours teach watershed and public lands awareness, animal adaptation and canyon history on showshoes at various locations in the Cottonwood Canyons.
- Youth education: Snowshoe with a Naturalist teaches watershed and public lands awareness, animal adaptation and canyon history on showshoes on free field trips at various locations in the Cottonwood Canyons. Silver Lake Naturalist teaches at Silver Lake Visitor Center, which we co manage with the Forest Service. Watershed awareness, public lands awareness, eco systems, micro invertebrates, birds, moose and many other animals that are native to the area are discussed in this program. The tours end in the visitor center where displays on canyon history and many other topics are covered, including touchable displays. Bus scholarships are available to schools in need for both field trip programs.
I met CCF through joining one of their wildflower walks when I first moved to Salt Lake City. It was a wonderful way of learning about a part of the country that was completely unfamiliar, to me and added enormously to my enjoyment of the spectacular scenery here. I soon found myself (with no previous experience!) training as a wildflower guide, a volunteer naturalist and a snowshoe guide, and have led field trips for the past 9 years. The winter snowshoe trips especially are a great experience for students (mainly main-stream 4th grade, but including some older ones, special needs students, and other groups), many of whom have never been out in the canyons in winter before,. Often they come back later in the year and delight in learning about beavers, and hunting for aquatic macroinvertebrates (bugs!) in our lakes . Also in summer, the 3-day wildflower festival in our canyons draws hundreds of people, not just from Utah but from all over the country, some experts, but many experiencing this magnificent display for the first time. I believe that CCF is playing a vital educational role, and I'm proud to be part of it. In addition, CCF is active in conservation, through programs such as trail maintenance and removal of invasive weeds, both vital in keeping our National Forest intact despite heavy recreational pressures.