The Colorado College Outdoor Leadership Institute is an intensive summer study program that takes advantage of our Colorado summer outdoor environment in the Rocky Mountains. It is two interwoven block summer courses, taken together, that provide a balanced perspective of the natural sciences blended with research and pedagogy. The Institute is a collaborative, interdisciplinary adventure for those interested in educating our youth about the outdoors and it is the next step for the environmentally minded students to beginning a fulfilling career after college.


SC 103 Wilderness First Responder

  • May 28 - June 5 at Catamount Mountain Campus
  • Colorado Outward Bound School Staff
  • Credit .5 CC unit (2 semester hours)
  • Program Fee (in addition to tuition): $600
  • (Non-credit: WFR Fee: $700 and Program Fee: $600)

ED 208 Introduction to Environmental Education & Internship (Extended format)

  • Two sessions: June 6- June 10 returning July 7-23 Catamount Mountain Campus
  • Howard Drossman and Mike Taber
  • Prerequisite: WFR
  • Credit 1 CC unit (4 semester hours)
  • Program Fee (in addition to tuition): $1,590


NS 103 Finding the Green River Basin: Developing interdisciplinary knowledge in the sciences and outdoor leadership through place-based exploration

  • June 11 – July 4 Utah: Green River Basin and Colorado River 
  • Zion Klos & Colorado Outward Bound School Staff - COI
  • Credit 1 CC unit (4 semester hours)
  • Program Fee (in addition to tuition): $ 2,440
  • Approval for CP: Scientific Investigations with Lab (L)

Credit Tuition Fee: $7,000


Part I:
Students will begin and end this institute at the Catamount Mountain Campus outside of Woodland Park. Students who have not taken a Wilderness First Responder course will start on May 27 for this intensive nine-day course, taught by Colorado Outward Bound School instructors. Students may take this course for Colorado College credit, or choose to only pay the certification fee of $700 along with the room and board at Catamount for the nine days. On June 8, all students begin ED 208 and prepare for their field experience with Colorado Outward Bound School. On June 11, you will depart for the Green River Basin, with backpacking, river rafting, as part of the three-and- a-half-week expedition.

Part II:
Finding the Green River Basin is an interdisciplinary course with a strong emphasis on place-based learning, field observations, integrated interpretations, and leadership/outdoor skills development. This course will be entirely off-campus and will spend six days backpacking along alpine headwaters of the Uintah Mountains, followed by 18 days of whitewater paddling through the heart of Utah’s canyon country as we follow the Green and Colorado Rivers down the Gates of Ladore, Labyrinth/Stillwater, and Cataract Canyon sections. The course is designed to build practical abilities in the use of the scientific method, integrative thinking, quantitative analysis, and effective communication; while also providing students an opportunity to build their skills in group leadership, backcountry living, risk management, and technical river travel. We will emphasize integrated cross-disciplinary learning and the content will focus on interconnected lessons from the natural sciences, such as hydrology, geology, ecology, and climatology, with additional material from social sciences and artistic perspectives in our discussions. Such interconnectedness is crucial to the understanding of coupled human-natural systems that we will try to convey by the end of the class, and will be useful for students pursuing degrees in any of the natural sciences, environmental studies, or related fields. Students should expect a 24/7 course experience and strong ties between students and instructors will be essential for a successful block of learning, engagement, and adventure!

Part III:
Following the Colorado Outward Bound School and NS 103 field experience, students will return to Catamount to resume ED 208 coursework, and prepare for an internship as outdoor educators. The internship, July 14-18 will be part of the Catamount Institute’s (CI) middle school program. On July 14, Interns and CI staff will teach students the basics of Leave No Trace while establishing a campsite at Catamount. Then, ED 208 interns and CI staff will lead students on two adventures: white water rafting and camping on the Arkansas River and backpacking on Pikes Peak. Following the internship, students develop a portfolio to submit to the Colorado Alliance of Environmental Educators. This portfolio addresses five major themes: Environmental Literacy, Foundation of Environmental Education, Professional Responsibilities of the Environmental Educator, Planning and Implementing Environmental Education, Assessment and Evaluation. Students will meet with their advisor in assisting the development of the portfolio so that successful submission to CAEE is achieved by the end of the summer.

Enrollment: limited to 16 students. A non-refundable $500 deposit is required of Colorado College and visiting students to enroll in this course. The deposit will be credited to your final tuition payment.

Additional Requirements: 

  • Wilderness First Responder Certification (Available in May if not already certified; proof of certification will be required.)
  • Course application and consent of faculty (see below.)
  • Health screening for Colorado Outward Bound School and CC.


All students must submit Initial Consent of Instructor (COI) Application and enroll in the courses. Please click here for the COI application. Complete and submit to summer session.

To enroll in the courses:
Click here for enrollment information.