We’ve heard it before, the youth are our future. This is true for many reasons but absolutely applies to our trails and public lands and that is why we have our Youth Trail Stewards program.
The goal of our Youth Trail Stewards program is to instill a sense of responsibility and respect for our trails, public lands, and natural resources.
Our vision is that our future generation is educated and creates a culture of stewardship of trails and natural resources to ensure they are sustainable for themselves and future generations to enjoy.
Over the past three years we have engaged over 450 Eagle County youth, including over 135 in 2023. We engage youth across all of our programming including Soul Dirt, Adopt A Trail, Trail Conservation Crew, and Trail Ambassador programming. Education opportunities take place in the classroom and even more importantly on the trail.
Every summer, we utilize our partnerships with schools and youth organizations such as Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement, The Cycle Effect, YouthPower 365, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Eagle County middle schools and high schools, Walking Mountains Science Center, International Youth Conservation Corps, and more.
Every youth program we run we ensure that we are instilling the following education and messages:
- The importance and benefits of being outside to improve their health
- Stewardship of our trails and lands
- Teaching them about conservation
- Importance of taking care of the trails through basic trail maintenance
- Build confidence and awareness in the outdoors
- Leave No Trace Principles
- Importance of community & volunteer opportunities
- Introduction of possible career opportunities within the outdoor and environmental industry
We truly believe that when youth experience our trails and a connection to nature they are more likely to value it and care for it. Our local youth are incredibly fortunate to grow up in a community that has seemingly unlimited access to trails and public lands. We want to make sure that we encourage them how, when, and where to take advantage of the opportunities we all share and enjoy in our backyard.
Educating our youth in field can be in many shapes or forms and we try to approach engagement and excitement in many ways including:
- Hikes and rides on trails in our backyard such as at the Minturn Bike Park or Sylvan Lake State Park
- Trail maintenance projects teaching them about sustainable trail management practices
- Introducing them to stewardship and public land management in a classroom setting
Needless to say, we encourage our youth to get outside and away from screens and video games. Whether they know it or not, their health, happiness, and knowledge are all improving!
Quotes & Learnings From Out Youth Trail Stewards:
Interested in getting involved or supporting our Youth Trail Stewards Program?
Molly wants to hear from you! As a former teacher, she is stoked on growing and improving our Youth Trail Stewards program and sharing her wealth of passion and stewardship of our trails with as many youth as she can!
Molly DeLallo, Trail Stewardship Coordinator
Molly Wants You To Support our Youth Trail Stewards Program:
Donate now to support our youth with:
- Events & Training: Our youth is best engaged through events, whether they be on the trail or classroom
- Swag: They love stickers, bike bells, and other swag which strengthens their ability to remember the information they just soaked up
- Tools: Most of our tools are built for adults. We definitely could use some tools geared towards kid/youth!
- Snacks: Do I have to explain this one any further!?