Learning Center

Conservation Education


Conservation Education:  Creating Natural Connections


The San Juan Conservation Education Program works within our mountain communities to provide a wide variety of educational and interpretive experiences for families, visitors, teachers, and students. Please contact the office for current availability of these programs.

  • San Juan Mountains Association, one of San Juan National Forest's Interpretive Partners, offers conservation education programs for youth and adults alike from field trips to summer camps to interpretive hikes and volunteer projects. 
  • Classroom Visits are available on a variety of topics. Activities are designed to be age-appropriate, hands-on, and interactive.
  • Field Trips to Public Lands offer a chance to get out and explore, as well as lessons for areas schools. Topics focus on trees, wildlife, fire, and exploration.
  • Winter Discovery Walks take place throughout the winterin partenership with Mesa Verde National Park, San Juan/Four Corners native Plant Society, Durango Nature Studies, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
  • Service-Learning programs connect learning with hands-on, meaningful service. This program focuses on developing personal stewardship values and student-driven projects to reflect those values.
  • Mountain EDVentures invite participants to attend guided naturalist hikes at Purgatory.
  • Forest Keepers is a self-guided junior ranger program, for kids ages four to twelve. Free workbooks can be picked up at any San Juan Public Lands office, and local visitor centers. Activities are divided into age groups. Decorate a pot; watch wildlife; solve History Mysteries; do Nature Sketches; Be a Tree, and more. Forest Keepers receive a pin. View an abridged version of the Forest Keepers workbook [PDF, 4 pgs, 1871 KB].
  • Senior Rangers is a self-guided exploration of public lands for retired visitors. Free workbooks are available at all offices and throughout the area. Senior Rangers receive a butterfly pin.
  • Rail Rangers are trained volunteers that ride the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, answering questions about forest history, flora and fauna, fire information, and multiple-use management.
  • Teacher Workshops are offered every year, on many topics, both for credit and noncredit. Teacher workshops offered in previous years include Project Wet, Wild, and Learning Tree, Project Archaeology, Forests to Faucets, and Outdoor Wild Learning.
  • Special Events happen throughout the year, including Earth Day, Arbor Day, Water Festivals, and the Ute Mountain Mesa Verde Birding Festival.
  • Resources to Check Out for teachers include the Wilderness Box, videos, and a lending library.
  • Fire Council Ambassador Program: Volunteer ambassadors promote wildfire awareness education and risk reduction efforts in their neighborhood. A great opportunity to collaborate with community members, neighborhood homeowner’s associations and fire fighting agencies!  Contact FireWise of Southwest Colorado at 970-385-8909. www.southwestcoloradofires.org
  • Music: The San Juan String Band combines their passion for the environment with their love for music!  They provide conservation education and environmental messages for the public. For more information or to request a presentation, contact: