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Environmental Learning for Kids

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Environment, Environmental Beautification, Environmental Education, Youth Development

Mission: ELK (Environmental Learning for Kids) is an inclusive non-profit organization that develops inspired and responsible leaders through science education and outdoor experiences for underserved, urban youth ages 5-25. ELK Inspires youth to have high expectations of themselves by exposing them to the outdoors and engaging them in service learning projects. For many of the youth ELK serves, it’s their first experience with the outdoors. ELK Educates youth through science and environmental education embedded in all programs and activities, furthers students’ understanding and attitudes toward science, the outdoors, their communities, college, and careers. ELK Transforms youth by endowing them with increased academic skills, civic and community leadership, environmental stewardship, and employment opportunities. Our Mission: Environmental Learning for Kids cultivates a passion in science, leadership, and service in a diverse community of learners. Our Vision: We envision a world in which all people are caretakers of themselves, each other and the natural world. Our Values: Life-long learning, Diversity and inclusiveness , Direct experience in the outdoors, Development of human potential

Results: ELK was named the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Small Nonprofit of the Year ELK serves over 5,000 youth each year through year-round intensive programs and in-school/after-school programs ELK reaches over 15,000 youth and families each year through educational outreach 100% of ELK’s youth graduated high school 2011-2013 (90% or more since the founding of ELK) 60% of tracked ELK alumni are studying or working in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) related career field Each year ELK conducts over 79 day-long educational programs ELK serves 20 schools within 5 districts along Colorado’s Front Range ELK has assisted ELK youth in acquiring over $757,000 in college scholarships, including 5 ELK students who are Daniels Fund Scholars

Target demographics: Underserved, Culturally Diverse, Urban Youth

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 5,000 youth each year through year-round intensive programs and in-school/after-school programs as well as reaches over 15,000 youth and families each year through educational outreach.

Geographic areas served: Arapahoe, Adams and Denver Counties

Programs: Denver Youth Naturally (DYN) brings youth ages 5-25 together in a hands-on, active program that provides opportunities for them to experience and learn about Colorado's great outdoors. DYN ignites curiosity and inspires youth in their academic studies, leadership development and career exploration. Youth in Natural Resources (YNR) encourages youth, ages 14-25, to explore career options, gain work experience in the natural resource and science fields, and continue their education after high school. Learning Environmental Activities for Families (LEAF) brings families into ELK's community of learning. By participating in LEAF activities, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and extended family learn about Colorado's natural resources and give back to the community through stewardship projects. A selection of science and natural resource programs to public and private schools, youth organizations, home school groups and other community-based groups in Colorado.

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 5

Environmental Learning for Kids is a wonderful organization! They connect underserved youth to the outdoors, impacting their health, education and self-esteem. Living in Colorado, many kids don't experience all the state has to offer. ELK provides that opportunity, changing the kids' lives.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Environmental learning for Kids does an amazing job of planning for huge groups of people to go out to beautiful parks and see nature from a fun -science based view. Then they feed everyone really well and equip them with the gear necessary to enjoy a great nights sleep under the stars!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a part of ELK for many years and loved everything about it. I am now a first year engineering student at CU Boulder and still come back to participate with them. ELK is a second family for me. Everyone cares for you and gives the support you need to get through the day. ELK provides a strong, and positive environment that encourages individuals and inspires their brilliant minds. Looking back to all the trips we took, I remember every single one of them and learned something new. Before I was a person that never went outside, then ELK challenged me to visit new heights of this beautiful world. It is an escape from the normal day of a student, and getting us outside and learning more about the environment. It is about the experiences that last a life time. It is about the people you meet along the way and developing a passion of learning. It's about accepting who you are as an individual and coming together to have a great time. It's more than just a program to me.


Board Member

Rating: 5

ELK changes lives. It has been a pleasure to serve this inspirational organization for over four years now and to witness the youth we serve blossom into responsible, enthusiastic, and educated members of our community. ELK engages youth via the amazing natural resources we are so blessed with here in Colorado, teaches leadership skills, a passion for environmental science and the value of service learning. ELK produces results like 100% high school graduation from Denver Public Schools for the last four years. Prior to that it was 98 %.