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Outdoor Club grant helps support Audubon education program

San Juan Outdoor Club recently awarded Audubon Colorado a $500 grant in support of Audubon’s Four Mile Ranch Environmental Education program.

Audubon Colorado partnered with local landowner Terry Hershey in 2007 to implement this hands-on, science- and standards-based educational experience for local elementary school students. The program includes indoor classroom sessions, as well as outdoor field programs held at Four Mile Ranch.

Audubon Colorado used the SJOC funding to purchase work tables and equipment to improve the program’s Pond Station, where students explore first hand the dozens of different organisms found in pond water. A portion of first aid certification costs for program staff and some first aid supplies were also covered by the grant.

Four Mile Ranch Environmental Education has served nearly 2,000 students since 2007. An additional 620 students will participate in 2011, including every student at Pagosa Springs Elementary School and third graders from Dulce Elementary School.

Hiking and exploring alongside the students at every Four Mile Ranch session is a dedicated team of volunteer educators. These adult community members complete a 21-hour training to learn local ecology and natural history, teaching techniques, and a wide variety of activities that make up the curriculum for student field programs. Nearly a dozen SJOC members have volunteered their time to work with students at the ranch.

For more information about Four Mile Ranch Environmental Education, e-mail Becky Gillette at or call 883-3066.

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