The Nature Place is part of the Colorado Outdoor Education Center and has a long-standing history of teaching about and caring for the environment dating back to the properties original purchase in 1948. We now own 6,000 acres of land, of which only 400 are used for the campus, where our staff and guests live. The remaining 5,600 acres will never be developed. We continuously update and implement new techniques, technologies, and ideas in order to improve our environmental stewardship. Our goal is to act in environmentally consciousness ways and to educate people, experientially, about our interconnected global system in which we are a part.
Guests at The Nature Place can participate in our linen re-use program, saving water, energy and waste. Most of our cleaning products are non-toxic and biodegradable. We have passed AVEDA’s stringent environment and sustainability protocol and use spa quality amenity products in the rooms that are designed for environmental sustainability.
Recycling: Our guests participate in our ranch-wide recycling program, whether they know it or not. We recycle cardboard, aluminum and tin cans, paper, glass, and plastic #’s 1-7. Computers are taken to a recycler or re-user. All scrap metal is recycled. Worn guest towels are given to our maintenance department for them to use. Worn mattresses, blankets and linens are given to local shelters and elder facilities.
Green Purchasing: All of our departments purchase environmentally responsible products. Our store sells organic cotton t-shirts and other organic wear. Our kitchen buys organic and local foods when requested and uses chlorine free products such as paper cups of recycled content, napkins and paper towels that are made of 100% recycled material. Our housekeeping department uses Greenworks products by Clorox to clean and the laundry uses 100% biodegradable detergent. All departments buy in bulk quantities to reduce the carbon footprint made by transporting these products to our facility. Most of our light bulbs are compact fluorescent and our exterior lights are mostly on timers. We purchase energy star appliances in our staff lodging facilities.
Green Education: Signage encourages our guests to conserve water and energy and to recycle the many materials that we do. This signage explains the why it is important to do these things. We offer our guests access to a full-time naturalist on staff. Our naturalists lead general nature hikes or “activities with a focus” including: wildflowers, birds of the ranch, search for the Elk herd and other mammals, geology or astronomy using our 17 ½ inch telescope, one of the state’s largest. We can also make available programs that give leaders new perspectives of their human organizations by using our natural systems that are on site to teach about change, transition, systems thinking, innovation, the importance of “now,” all to help create the desired, sustainable future state. We strive to be forward thinking in our work and provide programming that helps participants be forward thinking too.
Land and Forest Restoration: We implement ongoing fire mitigation projects each year aimed at restoring the forest to its natural state by working with the State of Colorado Forest Service, Pike National Forest and other organizations. Our working cattle ranch operation offers a living-learning center on sustainable ranching practices. We are using more and more xeriscape practices in our landscaping around buildings in order to reduce our water usage and to be more sustainable.
Building Construction and Remodeling: During the winters of ’08 – ’09 & '09 -- '10, The Nature Place has remodeled twelve of its original Studio Apartments. Materials that were used were tile, recycled content carpet and Low E windows. When older hot water heaters fail, we replace them, where appropriate, with energy efficient on demand type heaters. We have a newly developed committee whose mission is to pursue new energy efficient and sustainable technologies as they become technologically and financially available. Ideas for our immediate future include: pre-heating the indoor pool and Jacuzzi water via the sun, producing some percent of our electricity off of photovoltaic and wind systems. And we will consider using straw bale or solar mass technologies in order to reduce our carbon footprint with any new construction or remodels that we do.