Yampatika Q+A

Yampatika Q+A

Q: What is Yampatika? 

A: Yampatika’s mission is “to inspire environmental stewardship through education” – we are the only nonprofit delivering environmental education throughout Northwest Colorado. We do so in a way that is science-based, experiential, and inclusive. Our goal is to increase understanding and awareness about the key environmental issues and to help establish a connection to nature among visitors and residents to ensure the long-term protection of these resources. We do this by offering the following programming:

  • Youth Camps (Summer and Blues Break): Yampatika offers all-day camps in the Summer and over select Winter breaks for youth ages 5 -11 years. In 2023 200 youth participated in our Summer Camp or Blues Break Camp. Camp activities focus on getting kids outside and learning about the environment. Approximately 20% of campers receive scholarships to attend Yampatika camps – our goal is to reduce the financial barriers and ensure that more youth and families can access and benefit from the Yampatika Camp experience.
  • In-School and Out-of-School Programs: Yampatika brings FREE environmental educators into Pre-K through 12th grade classes to share science-based information on a wide diversity of topics: e.g., water conservation, watershed function and river health, wildlife and habitat, geology, local flora and fauna, sustainability, energy and much more through experiential and outdoor place-based learning. Yampatika offers school programming throughout Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Jackson counties. Yampatika partners with many organizations and natural resource managers to deliver compelling programming to students. Our goal is to ensure students of all ages and backgrounds have access to environmental science. Yampatika also partners with childcare providers and other partner programs in the region (e.g., Boys and Girls Club, City of Steamboat Springs, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Totally Kids, Partners for Youth) to provide environmental education and interactive learning experiences to program participants.
  • Adult and Community Programming: Yampatika offers summer tours and hikes, and winter snowshoe tours, has a standing interpretive booth at Fish Creek Falls, participates in numerous community events such as Yampa River Fest, Craig River Fest and Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition Festival, hosts fund educational community events Wild Edible Feast and Fall Fest each year, and spearheads numerous environmental stewardship informational campaigns.

Q: How was Yampatika started? 

A: Originally a part of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) as a partner in interpretation, Yampatika became its own 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 1992. Yampatika employs a full-time staff of 5 people and 14 part-time or seasonal staff.

Q: Where are you based out of and how has Yampatika helped the community? 

A: Yampatika is based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado but has a footprint across Northwest Colorado – we deliver programming to Jackson, Routt, Moffat, and Rio Blanco Counties.

The population of Northwest Colorado is growing rapidly, and environmental conditions are changing, which means our natural resources and landscapes are being stressed, overused, and polluted. Often these impacts are due to a lack of awareness about how these natural systems work and increasing demand for limited natural resources. Yampatika is working to increase awareness about how to better manage and protect these resources by educating the residents and visitors of Northwest Colorado.

Additionally, Americans are suffering from an epidemic of loneliness and disconnection, especially among youth. With increased dependence on digital and social media and fewer built-in opportunities to connect with nature and our community, our society is experiencing sky-high rates of mental illness.

To help address these issues, Yampatika is working to provide a sense of connection to place, community, nature, and self through environmental education. Environmental education can tackle these issues by: 

  • Improving academic interest and performance among students.
  • Establishing a culture of learning that goes beyond the classroom.
  • Developing critical and creative thinking skills across the community.
  • Increasing tolerance and understanding of different perspectives and ideas.
  • Fostering inter-disciplinary learning.
  • Getting people outside and helping them build deep connections to the natural world and their communities.
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles.
  • Inspiring career development in the field of natural resources.

Increasing stewardship of the environment and improved management of natural resources.

Q: How can people get involved with the cause? 

A: Yampatika offers many ways to get involved with our work and organization.

  • Become an Environmental Steward - Attend a guided hike/snowshoe or community event to learn more about stewardship actions you can take to protect the landscape and natural resources of Northwest Colorado.
  • Volunteer – Yampatika offers many ways to volunteer – we have projects varying from assistance on guided hikes and snowshoe tours to teaching classes to mowing the lawn to filing papers and stuffing envelopes. To sign up to become a volunteer go to this link: https://tinyurl.com/5n98xjhm

Donate – Yampatika’s work is made possible by the generous support of businesses such as Big Agnes and individuals such as you. To donate go to: https://www.coloradogives.org/organization/Yampatika/welcome

Q: From our chair collab how will the donation form our sales of this product aid in helping Yampatika? 

A: Yampatika is a small organization with a big mission. Support from Big Agnes will help Yampatika grow to meet the increasing demand for our programs. Some key current areas of need are:

  • Increasing capacity for our in-school programs so we have enough staff to deliver programming to every student in the region that we serve.
  • Growing our Summer Camp Scholarship Fund so that we can ensure more youth and families are able to participate in and benefit from our camps.
  • Covering the cost of critical educational materials and outdoor equipment that are required to ensure our programming is experiential and interactive.

Where can we follow along with Yampatika?