As an integral member of our community, Durango Nature Studies inspires a positive personal relationship with our natural world through outdoor learning, thereby promoting enhanced respect for nature.
Founded in 1994, Durango Nature Studies is a 501(C)(3) non-profit dedicated to providing nature, science, and environmental education to the students and communities of the Four Corners.
Durango Nature Studies has been bringing hands-on, nature-based, science education to the Four Corners community since 1994. We teach students, adults, and families from Durango, CO to Cortez, CO, and from Silverton, CO, to Farmington, NM. With a small core staff and dedicated volunteers, DNS serves an average of 4,500 students every year, including every elementary school student in the 9R school district! Our two-part school programs conform to national, state, and local education standards and have served as a state model of how environmental education organizations and school districts can work together.
As a licensed child care provider, we host week-long and individual day summer camps for elementary kids and middle schoolers, too, to give them a chance to keep learning about and playing in nature during the summer months. During the school year, we host after-school enrichment programs for K-3rd graders at several Durango elementary schools.
THE NATURE CENTER
The Durango Nature Center, near Bondad, was acquired by Durango Nature Studies in June of 1998. As part of the negotiations to acquire the land — as well as the goals of the organization — all of the acreage of the site was placed under a conservation easement. The upper 35 acres of the site is comprised of public access and parking area, prairie dog colonies, bird boxes, a children’s habitat play space, an ancient ponderosa pine cross-section with marked rings, and of course, sage-rabbitbrush habitat. A footpath leads visitors down to 105 acres along the Florida River. There, trails wander through a wide variety of habitats – riparian, meadows, oak woodlands, piñon-juniper forests, and desert arroyos. Trails are marked with signs at ending points and junctions. The Nature Center has a Welcome Building, an Outdoor Pavilion, and many benches and areas for observing wildlife or just catching up with yourself. Numerous groups have dedicated their time to help make the Nature Center the community resource it is today.
• 2015-Present – Member of the SW Regional Environmental Literacy Advisory Committee
• 2010-2015 – Science Collaboration with Durango, Ignacio, and Bayfield school districts
• 2010 Excellence in EE Award from the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education
• 2007 Higher Education Award from the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education
• 2004 Citizen/Community Award from the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education
• 1999 Partnership Award from the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education