Colorado Education Programs
Summer Nature Camps
Scholarships available for most programs and all camps! Learn more »
Barr Lake Bird Watching Field Trip
Barr Lake features many different types of birds including songbirds, falcons, hawks, colonial nesting birds, waterfowl and Bald Eagles. On this field trip, students will explore this dynamic wildlife oasis just outside Denver and learn how and why nearly 80 different species of birds are able to coexist using different parts of this ecosystem. Students will learn how to use binoculars to view birds, and educators will teach about bird adaptations, habitat needs and the successful recovery of the once-endangered Bald Eagle. More importantly, students will have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty that can be found right in their backyard!
Dates: Late March - May 31
Time: Morning field trips recommended
Grades: 1 - adult
Duration 1.5-2 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: 60 students per 2-hour program
Location: Barr Lake State Park, 13401 Picadilly Road, Brighton, CO
Program Fee: $5 per student, plus a $7 state park fee for each vehicle (the program fee includes an in-class pre-trip program)
Meets Colorado Science Standards 1, 2, 3, and 5
Barr Lake Banding Station Field Trip
Every spring and fall, thousands of birds stop to rest and eat at Barr Lake during their migratory journey. Spend a morning with a Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory bird bander at Barr Lake State Park. Your students will get an "up-close and personal" experience with nature while they watch a wildlife biologist place a band on migrating birds captured harmlessly in mist nets. Students will also participate in other migration-related activities and observe wildlife on a hike along Barr Lake. The fee for this field trip includes a follow-up classroom program.
Dates: September - mid-October
Time: 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Duration: 2 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: 60 students
Program Fee: $5 per student, plus a $7 state park fee for each vehicle (the program fee includes an in-class follow-up program)
RMBO's in-class programs can be a follow-up program or pre-trip program for schools attending RMBO field trips, or a stand-alone program for schools that cannot attend a field trip. In-class programs are designed to increase students' understanding of science, math, geography, art and language arts using birds as the context for learning. More information about each of the four in-class programs can be found below.
Dates: November - March
Time: Any time of day
Duration: 1.5-2 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: 1 classroom per program
Location: Your classroom!
Students' understanding of migratory patterns and geography will be enhanced while they discover the factors that drive bird migration. Students use bird banding data to map the migratory routes of four bird species banded at the Barr Lake Banding Station.
Recommended Grade Levels: 3-8
Meets Colorado Geography Standards 1, 2, and 3
Topics addressed: migration, data collection, data analysis, geography
Students will graph and analyze migratory data from four birds banded at the Barr Lake Banding Station. They will then use critical thinking skills to determine the factors that drive bird migration.
Recommended Grade Levels: 3-12
Students will learn about how birds' physical features increase their ability to survive in Colorado habitats. They will exercise their creativity when they design their own habitat and create a clay bird.
Recommended Grave Levels: 1-8
Meets Colorado Reading & Writing Standards 2, 3, and 4
Topics addressed: adaptations, habitat requirements, art, creative writing, presentation
Students will use different tools representing beaks to eat different types of bird food. They will determine the kind of food each beak is designed to eat.
Recommended Grade levels: k-6
Meets Colorado Science Standards 1 and 3
Topics addressed: adaptations, habitat requirements
Custom Programs: Bird Studies
Would you like us to design a program for you? If you are interested in a bird-related topic that is not already offered, we can help you design a program for your students or group. Programs can be unique and tailored to fit your class curriculum. They can be taught either in the classroom or as a field trip.
Dates: Any time of year
Duration: 1-2 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: Varies
Programs can be designed to fit into multiple grade-level standards.
Spring Field Trips
Field trips can focus on birds, biology and outdoor exploration. Students "spring" into action as a biologist to observe birds and research life in a prairie ecosystem. Choose from a variety of program options (see below) where students explore water, the shortgrass prairie and the relationship of a bird's structure to its function.
Dates: April - May
Duration: 2-4 hours
Program Fee: $5 per student, plus a $7 state park fee for each vehicle. Follow-up in-class programs are only $1 per person.
Bird Structure and Function
Theme: Bird structure: What's your function?
Goals: During this program, students will ...
1. Observe birds in their natural habitat and connect three of a bird's specific structures to the function for which the structures are adapted.
2. Identify the four basic needs of birds (food, water, shelter and space) and determine what happens to birds when those needs are no longer met.
3. Make connections between how bird structures are adapted for survival in specific niches within a single environment or habitat.
4. Observe how different bird species utilize different niches and how this lets many different bird species live within a single environment or habitat.
5. Classify birds into different groups by their structures.
Objectives: Following this program, students will be able to ...
1. Observe birds in their backyard and classify them into different groups of birds.
2. List birds' four basic needs for survival.
3. Observe a bird and determine the niche it fills within an environment or habitat.
4. Determine the function a bird structure helps fulfill.
5. Observe a habitat or environment and determine ways it could be improved to support a variety of niches.
Theme: Colorado's biodiversity depends on the shortgrass prairie
Goals: On this field trip, students will ...
1. Connect with the shortgrass prairie ecosystem, which makes up more than half of the state.
2. Understand the importance of biodiversity in maintaining an ecosystem.
3. Illustrate the history of the Old Stone House/Barr Lake site.
4. Take part in a service learning project to help restore prairie habitat by removing non-native plant species.
Objectives: After this field trip, students will be able to ...
1. Explain why the Colorado shortgrass prairie is important to their survival.
2. Describe their connection to Colorado's shortgrass prairie.
3. Identify the diversity of the Colorado shortgrass prairie.
4. List threats to Colorado shortgrass prairie.
5. Tell a historical story about the site and why it is healthy today.
Goals: During this field trip, students will learn ...
1. There is very little fresh water on the earth.
2. Colorado has scarce fresh water due to its environment and where Colorado's water comes from.
3. Barr Lake's history.
4. Which waterfowl make Colorado home and depend on its water.
5. Why places like Barr Lake should be kept unpolluted and clean for animals to use.
6. How scientists test for water quality by doing some experiments of their own.
1. Understand and list the reasons Barr Lake and other water habitats are important for humans and wildlife in Colorado.
2. Explain how water quality affects the health and quality of wildlife and humans living in certain environments.
3. Explain the changes they can make in their lives to keep Colorado water clean.
4. Understand why it is important to preserve and protect wilderness areas for wildlife health and survival.
5. Describe human activities that affect water quality and ways their actions can improve water quality in Colorado.
6. Identify the features of waterfowl that make them specialized for survival in Colorado's water habitats.
RMBO offers monthly educational programs for homeschool families. These programs are designed for multiple ages and ability levels. RMBO educators and naturalists encourage the older participants to be positive role models and mentors to younger homeschool students throughout all of the activities. Parents are welcome to stay throughout the program.
Most programs are located at RMBO's Environmental Learning Center or at Barr Lake State Park, both in Brighton, Colorado, although sometimes we venture into the mountains for snowshoeing or other activities.
To register for homeschool programs, or receive emails on upcoming homeschool programs: Emily Snode-Brenneman at emily.snode-brenneman[at]rmbo.org or 303-659-4348 x11.
2014-2015 Homeschool Program Schedule
Oct. 24 - Night Hike: Nocturnal Adaptations, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at RMBO's Environmental Learning Center, for ages 4 and older
Nov. 14 - Archery 101, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the Archery Range at Barr Lake State Park, for ages 7 and older
Dec. 18 - Colorado Bird ID, 1:00-3:30 p.m. at RMBO's Environmental Learning Center, for ages 4 and older (program full)
Jan. 12 - Introductory Snowshoeing, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., meet at Estes Park Mountain Shop, 2050 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, CO, program to be held at Lily Lake, for ages 7 and older, register for Introductory Snowshoeing online
Jan. 14 - Intermediate Snowshoeing, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., meet at Brainard Lake near Ward, CO, for ages 7 and older, register for Intermediate Snowshoeing online
Jan. 28 - Skulls and Survival, 1:00 - 3:15 p.m. at RMBO's Environmental Learning Center, for ages 4 and older, register for Skulls and Survival online
Feb. 10 - Birds of Prey, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at RMBO's Environmental Learning Center, for ages 4 and older
Mar. 16 - Orienteering (How to Use Maps and Compasses), 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at RMBO's Environmental Learning Center, for ages 4 and older (program full)
Apr. 22 - Earth Day!, time TBD at RMBO's Environmental Learning Center, for ages 4 and older
May 5 - Annual Bald Eagle Hike, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at Barr Lake State Park, for ages 4 and older
2015 Summer Nature Camps
If your kids enjoy learning, playing hard, getting dirty and spending time in the great outdoors, then RMBO's Summer Nature Camps are for them! RMBO offers multiple summer camp experiences for kids ages 2-17. All camps are about getting kids outside to have fun exploring nature while making friends, developing leadership skills and gaining insights into their relationships with themselves, others and the world around them. Camp content and activities are designed in a progression to introduce young children to the outdoors and build their skills over time.
Why RMBO nature camps? Check out this video to hear what parents and kids have to say about our camps.
See below for full descriptions of all camp programs being offered this summer and ways to register. Scholarships are available for all camps. Applications will be made available through our online registration system.
Register for 2015 camps!
Get signed up before March 31 to take advantage of early bird discounts.
Location: RMBO's Environmental Learning Center, Barr Lake State Park, 14500 Lark Bunting Lane, Brighton, CO, unless otherwise noted
Wild Nestlings Day Camp
Ages 2-5 & Parents/Accompanying Adults
Dates: July 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2015
Cost: $5 per session for adults and children
Parents are always asking when they can attend camp, and this year they finally can, at least with their toddlers! Meeting the four Tuesday mornings (9-11 a.m.) in July, this program provides opportunities for toddlers and their parents to learn new ways of exploring the natural world together. Puppet shows, songs, stories, crafts, snacks and other activities will make each day an exciting learning experience for both the young and young-at-heart. Campers may be registered for an individual session, a combination of sessions, or for all of them, in order to accommodate summer schedules.
Young Naturalists Day Camp
Ages 4 & 5
Dates: July 8, 15, 22 and 29, 2015
Cost: $15 per session
During the last four Wednesday mornings (9 a.m. - 12 p.m.) in July, RMBO's youngest independent campers will gain appreciation for nature while engaging all of their senses and observational skills in the world around them at Barr Lake State Park. Campers will also gain a basic understanding of the natural world through crafts, scavenger hunts, games, exploration and other hands-on activities, including an hour of supervised, outdoor nature play. Campers may be registered for an individual session, a combination of sessions, or for all of them, in order to accommodate summer schedules.
Nature Investigators Day Camp
Ages 6 & 7
Dates: July July 9, 16, 23 and 30, 2015
Cost: $20 per session
During the last four Thursdays (9 a.m. - 1 p.m.) in July, campers will expand upon their foundational understandings of the natural world by closely investigating the various living and non-living things found at Barr Lake State Park. Campers will have opportunities to continue learning about these different topics through short hikes, crafts, games, scavenger hunts and candid exploration. They will continue exploring during a lunch hour of supervised, unstructured outdoor nature play with their new friends. Campers may be registered for an individual session, a combination of sessions, or for all of them, in order to accommodate summer schedules.
Habitat Explorers Day Camp
Ages 8 & 9
Dates: July 10, 17, 24 and 31, 2015
Cost: $35 per session
During the last four Fridays (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.) in July, campers will gain an experiential understanding of the things that every living creature needs to survive: food, water, shelter and space. Campers will build shelters and nests of their own, discover the amazing properties of water and explore the special qualities that make Barr Lake State Park home to such a great diversity of birds and other wildlife. With a focus on birds, campers will utilize binoculars, field guides, and other scientific and observational equipment to look at the world around them more closely. Campers will continue their explorations during a lunch hour of supervised, unstructured outdoor nature play with their new friends. Campers may be registered for an individual session, a combination of sessions, or for all of them, in order to accommodate summer schedules.
RMBO "Winged Wonders" and Butterfly Pavilion "Bugabilities" Day Camp
Dates: Aug. 10-14 (at RMBO) or Aug. 3-7 (at the Butterfly Pavilion*)
Cost: $130 for a half day of camp and $245 for a full day of camp
In partnership with the Butterfly Pavilion, which will be leading the afternoon sessions (1-4 p.m.) of "Bugabilities," RMBO is offering morning sessions (9 a.m. - 12 p.m.) of "Winged Wonders," so that campers will have the opportunity to choose whether they would like to learn about bugs, birds or both, by combining the morning and afternoon sessions for a full day of learning. During this week-long program, campers will learn more about the lives of various winged creatures in the natural world through hikes, exploration, crafts and hands-on activities. Campers present for the lunch hour (12-1 p.m.) will need a sack lunch and will have the opportunity to enjoy part of their time with supervised, unstructured outdoor nature play with their new friends. Campers may register for individual sessions but are encouraged to register for the full week of camp.
* Please Note: Registration for the Aug. 3-7 camp is through the Butterfly Pavilion: http://www.butterflies.org/learn/children-families. Combine with Winged Wonders afternoon camp for a full day of fun!
Young Ecologists Day Camp
Ages 10 & 11
Dates: June 8-12, 2015
Cost: $250 for full week
What exactly does an ecologist do? Campers will learn the answer to this question firsthand by studying birds and other wildlife and their relationships with both living and non-living things. Campers will also gain insights into their relationships with themselves, others and the world around them by hiking, playing games, making new friends and going on field trips. In the process, they will learn to use binoculars, field guides and spotting scopes, and they will have the opportunity to spend one night camping under the stars at Barr Lake State Park! Each day, campers will need a sack lunch, water bottle and daypack. Campers must register for the full week of camp.
Taking Flight Overnight Camp
Dates: June 14-19, 2015
Cost: $750 for full week
This overnight camp is the next step for budding birders and young nature enthusiasts who want to take their birding skills to the next level and also enjoy outdoor adventure, traditional camp activities and nature exploration. For 6 days and 5 nights, campers will call a rustic lodge near Rocky Mountain National Park their home. They will have the opportunity to explore the ecosystems of Colorado's Front Range, while honing their bird identification and leadership skills, gaining independence and responsibility, and making new friends! The cost of this camp includes all lodging, meals and transportation during the session. Campers must register for the full week of camp.
On the Wing Overnight Camp
Dates: June 26 - July 4, 2015
Cost: $1,000 for full week
This camp is for teenagers who aspire to careers in natural resources. Based at a residential camp near Rocky Mountain National Park, campers will have the opportunity to design and conduct mini-research projects in the surrounding forests. Campers will work together to develop a hypothesis, collect scientific data, draw conclusions from their data, write technical scientific research papers and present their findings to a group of natural resource professionals. In addition, campers will take part in traditional camp activities and learn field journaling, field sketching, field guide and binocular use, bird and plant identification, and field biology, by observing and participating in studies of RMBO and National Park Service biologists. The cost of this camp includes all lodging, meals and transportation during the session. Campers must register for the full week of camp.
Dates: Dates and times of this program correspond to all day camps listed above (except Wild Nestlings)
Cost: $5 per day or $25 per week
Teenagers and pre-teens who enjoy working with younger children and would like more opportunities to be outside this summer will find a great fit in this camp program. Inspired by campers from previous summers who were eager to attend other camps and give back to their community, the LIT program is designed to provide opportunities for older campers to increase their leadership skills by sharing their passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for birds and the natural world with younger campers. LITs will assist camp staff in providing a caring and exciting experience for campers, and will assist with other projects at RMBO's Environmental Learning Center. Space in the LIT program is limited to 5 per session, so applying early is recommended. Prospective LITs must register and participate in this program according to the details outlined for the corresponding day camps listed above.
RMBO's family programs are designed with the whole family in mind and are extremely affordable, with costs ranging from just $1 to $25 per person! Most programs take place at RMBO's Environmental Learning Center, 14500 Lark Bunting Lane, Brighton, CO, although some programs take families on adventures into the mountains and other settings within a day's drive.
Family programs that have been offered in the past and take place on a recurring basis include the Christmas Bird Count for Kids, campfires, spring break snowshoe trips and various programs at partner events, especially those at Barr Lake State Park. Stay posted to RMBO's calendar of events on our homepage to find out more about upcoming family programs. Or, if you'd like to be added to the RMBO's Family Programs listserv, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scholarships are available for all of RMBO's family programs. However, space is limited, so please be sure to register at least 24 hours in advance. Please cancel your registration if you are unable to attend the program, so we may open the program up to families on the waiting list.
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory provides rich environmental learning opportunities through field trips and on-site programs designed to meet the needs of any group. Participants of these programs include groups of children from Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, after-school groups and other youth development organizations, as well as groups of adults from senior centers, assisted living homes, corporate groups and other organizations serving adults.
Most community programs are customized to meet the needs and goals of each group, especially team building, service learning and other educational programs. However, standard programs are available as well, and range from from hour-long interpretive programs about basic birding skills to semester-long programs about urban birds.
One standard program that RMBO offers to residents in assisted living homes and memory care centers is called "Bird Tales". It is a dynamic, unique and low-cost therapeutic program that brings the natural outdoor world of birds to people living with dementia. "Bird Tales" consists of therapeutic programs that encourage participants to connect with birds on a multi-sensory level: sight, sound, smell and touch. The cost of this program is $3/person if facilitated by an RMBO staff member and $1/person if facilitated by one of our trained volunteers.
For any program in which RMBO educators come to your site, RMBO requires a minimum of 5 participants for each program. Fees range from $1-$10 per person. Mileage may be charged for programs 25 miles or more from our headquarters in Brighton, CO.
RMBO also requires a minimum of 5 participants for each field trip to our Environmental Learning Center at Barr Lake State Park located in Brighton, CO. Field trip fees range from $1-$5 per person. *Note: There is also a $7/vehicle state park entrance fee.
Scholarships are available for all community program fees and transportation costs! For more information, or to schedule a program, please contact Tyler Edmondsom at email@example.com or (303) 659-4348 ext. 15.
For more information:
School Programs Coordinator
(303) 659-4348 x11
Community Education Coordinator
(303) 659-4348 x15