Our Mission As an Organization
To raise awareness of natural resources and outdoor recreation, to cultivate tomorrow’s conservation leaders and to foster a sense of appreciation for the natural world through engaging young adults, women and families in the outdoors.
- Provide skills that cover the many facets of the out-of-doors, knowledge of our natural resources, and facilitate physical activity through introductory courses tailored for college-aged youth, women and families in an affordable, accessible environment.
- Help individuals lead healthier lifestyles, provide a foundation for meaningful participation in outdoor activities, and instill an environmental ethic.
- Better position natural resource college graduates’ qualifications for employment by providing students with opportunities to learn required and preferred outdoor field skill sets.
- Develop a strong partnership with state universities and natural resource management agencies.
- Develop fundraising strategies to support building organizational capacity.
WAEI with its partners impacts and shapes the future of our world through outdoor education. Education reaches participants through hands-on experiences born out of recreational pursuits that lead to the individual formation of continued time outdoors, appreciation for the outdoor world, appreciation and participation in outdoor pursuits and the development of a lasting conservation ethic. Our conservation heritage and health of our children continues and grows with each generation.
The Next Steps: 5 and 10-Year Plan
WAEI began with a pilot Outdoor Fields Skills Course at Colorado State University (CSU) in the fall of 2009. The course, FW 111, officially kicked off in October of 2010 with the support of Dr. Kenneth Wilson, Chair of the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Warner College of Natural Resources, CSU. By fall 2012, WAEI with its partners reached 644 college students at two universities: CSU and the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). The course at UNC is known as ENST 495: Special Topics – Outdoor Field Skills in Environmental Studies, Natural Resources, and Wildlife.
WAEI is working behind the scenes with 3 other Colorado colleges and plans to reach 23 higher education institutions (2 and 4-year colleges) in total with its course. The colleges represent a captive audience of over 200,000 students, nearly half of which attend college in the Denver metro area, 30% of the population being of ethnically diverse backgrounds. These students are tomorrow leaders. To WAEI and its partners, a percentage of those students reached represent the next generation of natural resource professionals, but ALL of the students reached represent to WAEI tomorrow’s outdoor enthusiasts, conservation voters, hikers, birders, hunters, and anglers. The future of our conservation heritage and outdoor traditions lie in their hands.