Environmental Institute Expeditions

The Environmental Institute

The Environmental Institute was created in 2019 with the purpose of bringing students outside to engage with nature through hands-on field science experiences. Combining field investigations and adventure education, Environmental Institute programs take students behind the scenes to connect with real-world scientific studies in a cooperative learning environment. We believe in a future where all members of our community have the skills, knowledge, and passions to engage with environmental science topics in a positive way.

Whether you join us for a day trek, hybrid camp, or field expedition, EI programs give participants the chance to take an active role in scientific study, applying the same science and engineering practices students work on in the classroom to projects out in the real world.

The landscape is a laboratory, there are countless phenomena to discover. Join us for one of our programs and get ready to explore!

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Thank you to our title sponsor, Alpine Bank. Their generous support makes these programs possible.


Our adventure camps are rated based on physical ability levels. Please reference the suggestions below:

  • Beginner: Little to no experience camping or hiking. Students should be able to hike Mica Mine Trail or Serpents Trail.
  • Intermediate: Some prior experience camping or hiking. Students should be able to hike Serpents Trail and Monument/Wedding Canyon Trail.
  • Strenuous: A lot of experience camping or hiking. Students need to be able to carry a pack with camping items throughout the day between campsites, and while gaining elevation. Students should be able to hike Mt. Garfield and Liberty Cap Trail.


EUREKA! will be requiring immunization records for all adolescent campers for Summer 2020. Registration will not process without uploaded records to camper account. Please follow these steps to upload the documents.

  • Log into Dashboard
  • Click FAMILY & FRIENDS on the left
  • Click EDIT on the student's account
  • On the right, you'll see a button +ADD DOCUMENT


Day Treks

Spend the day with Environmental Institute walking in the boots of a scientist. These short day and evening programs are a wonderful opportunity for junior scientists to get outside and think creatively about the scientific phenomenal right in their own backyard. Let your curiosity run-free and enjoy a day exploring with the Environmental Institute!

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Summer 2020

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  • Monday, June 1 - Friday, June 5, 8:30 AM-5:30 PM
  • 5-8th Graders
  • Beginner
  • Location: Traveling across the Colorado Plateau
  • Members: $225
  • Non-Members: $275

Grab your hiking boots and join us for a week of day trips exploring the Western Slope! Each day will be filled with hands-on science activities as we rock climb, hike in national parks, fish, and paddleboard!

Tentative Schedule:
Monday: Explore the ecology of lakes, as we fish and paddleboard on the lakes of the Grand Mesa.
Tuesday: Investigate the geology of the desert landscape as we travel to Arches National Park.
Wednesday: Compare the geology of Arches with our local rocks as we explore the Colorado National Monument. We’ll spend the afternoon looking at a different type of rock as we visit the Grand Valley Climbing gym.
Thursday: Apply your new rock climbing skills as you get up close and personal with local rock by learning to outdoor rock climb in Unaweep Canyon.
Friday: Examine the power of water, as we travel to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to learn how water created such a dramatic landscape.

Drop off and pick up will take place at EUREKA!

Please be sure to send your camper with lunch, snacks, 2 L of water, a hat, sunglasses, a backpack, sunscreen, and sturdy walking shoes.

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  • Monday, June 8 - Friday, June 12, 8:30 AM-5:30 PM
  • K - 2nd Graders
  • Beginner
  • Location: Traveling across the Colorado Plateau
  • Members: $225
  • Non-Members: $275

Grab your hiking boots and join us for a week of day trips exploring the Western Slope! Each day will be filled with hands-on science activities as we rock climb, hike in national parks, fish, and paddleboard!

Tentative Schedule:
Monday: Explore the ecology of lakes, as we learn to fish and tube at Highland Park.
Tuesday: Become a master tracker! We'll learn to read the landscape on the Palisade Rim trail, searching for tracks and the animals that make them. In the afternoon, we'll cool off by the colorado river and make molds of our own footprints using plaster!
Wednesday: We'll set up an oasis camp where we'll hang in hammocks, paint with watercolors and investigate the geology of the Colorado National Monument.
Thursday: Spend the day as a leaf on the breeze while we investigate wind. We'll learn about air pressure, spend time bird watching, and build and fly our own kites.
Friday: Examine the power of water, as we travel to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to learn how water created such a dramatic landscape.

Drop off and pick up will take place at EUREKA!

Please be sure to send your camper with lunch, snacks, 2 L of water, a hat, sunglasses, a backpack, sunscreen, and sturdy walking shoes.

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  • Monday, June 15 - Friday, June 19, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • 4-6th Graders
  • Intermediate
  • Location: Meet at the Botanical Gardens each morning
  • Members: $250
  • Non-Members: $300

We are so excited to partner this summer with Boneshaker Adventures. This mountain biking camp will get your student outdoors, exercised, and learning the physics behind fast turns, the geology of hero mud, and the climatology of an epic day to ride your bike in the Grand Valley! We might even do some bird watching, water quality testing, and some botany along the trail. Bring your bikes, helmets, and a smile for this adventure-themed science camp!

Pick up and drop off will take place at the Botanical Gardens. Must have previously taken a mountain biking course or able to confidently ride 1 mile of single track at the Lunch Loops area. This is an intermediate to advanced course. 

Please send your camper with their mountain bike, a helmet, a backpack, comfortable shoes to walk and ride, 2 L of water, a lunch, snacks, and sunscreen.

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  • Monday, July 6 - Friday, July 10, 8:30 AM-5:30 PM
  • 5-8th Graders
  • Beginner
  • Location: Traveling across the Colorado Plateau
  • Members: $225
  • Non-Members: $275

Put on your scientist's hat and join us for a week of day programs dedicated to getting you out into the field connecting with research projects, stewardship, and tons of fun! Who knew being scientists was such a blast!?

Tentative Schedule:
Monday: Investigate the role insects play in the ecology of the region and learn to capture and prepare samples for DNA analysis.
Tuesday: Travel up to the Mesa to Pika habitat to collect data on the health of our alpine systems and search for the world's cutest mammal.
Wednesday: Spend the morning learning about the relationship between amphibians and wetlands health and the afternoon getting wet and muddy while we capture and classify toads, frogs, and salamanders.
Thursday: Head into the National Monument to think critically about desert ecology as we practice animal tracking, making track molds, and look to count desert bighorn sheep.
Friday: Spend the day as a limnologist, boning up on your freshwater ecology skills and participate in a macro-invertebrate census!

Drop off and pick up will take place at EUREKA!

Please be sure to send your camper with a lunch, snacks, 2 L of water, a hat, sunglasses, a backpack, sunscreen, and sturdy walking shoes.

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  • Monday, July 13 - Friday, July 17, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • 6th-10th Graders
  • Intermediate
  • Location: Meet at the Botanical Gardens each morning
  • Members: $150
  • Non-Members: $175

Join us to spend 5 days exploring with a group of peers in an inclusive, collaborative environment. Girls Inspire - Women in the Field will connect you to some amazing female scientists and a chance to see how medicine is used in the wilderness. You'll get to learn, adventure and engage with other young women while growing your adventure skills and making new friends.

These day trips provide an educational setting as an intro to outdoor recreation without committing to a 10-day backpacking trip! You will accomplish leadership challenges, gain outdoor skills, develop an appreciation and knowledge of the natural environment, make new and diverse friendships with fellow campers, guides, and scientists, and create fun and meaningful memories and skills to build on for the rest of your life.

And thanks to the generosity of Best Buy, we have a limited number of scholarship spots available for this camp. To qualify for a scholarship, students need to provide a current Free/Reduced Lunch approval letter from School District 51 OR a copy of a current Medicaid Card, Marillac Clinic Card, or CHP+ Card. Please visit our scholarship page to apply: https://eurekasciencemuseum.org/youth-scholarship-program/

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  • Monday, Aug 3 - Friday, August 7, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • 4-6th Graders
  • Intermediate
  • Location: Meet at the Botanical Gardens each morning
  • Members: $250
  • Non-Members: $300

Our June Mountain Biking Science course was so popular, we had to add a second for this summer! 

This mountain biking camp will get your student outdoors, exercised, and learning the physics behind fast turns, the geology of hero mud, and the climatology of an epic day to ride your bike in the Grand Valley! We might even do some bird watching, water quality testing, and some botany along the trail. Bring your bikes, helmets, and a smile for this adventure-themed science camp!

Pick up and drop off will take place at the Botanical Gardens. Must have previously taken a mountain biking course or able to confidently ride 1 mile of single track at the Lunch Loops area. This is an intermediate to advanced course. 

Please send your camper with their mountain bike, a helmet, a backpack, comfortable shoes to walk and ride, 2 L of water, a lunch, snacks, and sunscreen.


4th – 6th Grade Hybrid Explorer Camps

Are you curious about the natural world? Are you looking for an introduction to the fun of outdoor recreation? If your answer is yes, then our Hybrid Explorer Camps are the perfect opportunity to connect you to the wonders of the Western Slope. These programs are designed to give learners grades 4 – 6 some of their first exposure to field science in a safe, inclusive and caring environment. Each adventure starts with 2 days here at Eureka! preparing our minds and our hearts for 3 days of camping and science exploration in the field. Hybrid explorer camps are a fantastic way to put on your scientist hat and connect with the natural world in a brand-new way.

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Summer 2020

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  • Location: Grand Mesa, CO
  • Dates: 7/20/20 – 7/24/20
  • Grades: 4-6th
  • Ability Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 5 days (2 at EUREKA!, 3 on Grand Mesa)
  • Average Group Size: 10 students / 2 instructors
  • Environment: Travel through desert, alpine forests, and on and off-trail
  • Members: $325
  • Non-Members: $375
  • Program Description: Did you know different elevations have different ecosystems? Join us for two days at Eureka! preparing for three days and two nights camping on an epic adventure on the Grand Mesa! Your course will begin with basic camping and travel techniques: cooking, camping, stove use, map reading, Leave No Trace techniques, and practices for hiking and camping in bear habitat. Next, we’ll put those skills to the test as we explore the environmental science of the plateau and the ecosystems, climatology and geology that make it possible. Register now for an introduction to the natural sciences while exploring the world’s largest flat-top mountain.

6th – 9th Grade Field Science Expeditions

Ever wonder what it’s like to live and work as a scientist? Want to improve your adventure and outdoor living skills? Our Field Science expeditions provide students grades 6 - 9 the opportunity to join their peers on a team dedicated to scientific study, heading out into the wild spaces of the Colorado Plateau for 5 days of adventure. Climb mountains to measure snowpack, read the temperature of boiling pools, layout in the desert at night to count stars and name galaxies, the Environmental Institute is dedicated to introducing students with an interest in the natural world and a love of adventure to the challenge and rewards of a science expedition.

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Summer 2020

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  • Location: Unaweep Canyon, CO
  • Dates: 6/29/20 - 7/3/20
  • Grades: 6-9th
  • Ability Level: Intermediate
  • Average Group Size: 10 students / 2 instructors
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Environment: High elevation canyon and the Colorado River
  • Members: $600
  • Non-Members: $675
  • Program Description: Did you know overtime rocks and water work together to change their environments? In this camp learn how together, geology and hydrology create new life, cause natural disasters and form new habitats. Join us for TWO days of climbing in Unaweep Canyon and THREE days of rafting with the Colorado Canyons Association to find out why science and recreation are best combined.

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  • Location: Shrine Mountain Huts, Vail, CO
  • Dates: 7/13/20 – 7/17/20
  • Grades: 6-9th
  • Ability Level: Intermediate
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Average Group Size: 10 students / 2 instructors
  • Environment: Travel through forests and alpine tundra, bear habitat, and on and off-trail
  • Members: $725
  • Non-Members: $795
  • Program Description: Spend a week of your summer on an epic mountain adventure. Join us for a five day and four-night camping trip at the 10th Mountain Division, Shrine Mountain Huts at Vail Pass. On this course, you will spend a week exploring the high alpine ecosystems, rare wetlands, climate, hydrology and forestry of the Rocky Mountains. You will begin with learning the basics of wilderness living, including cooking, campsite selection, stove use, and Leave No Trace practices. As you progress, you will cover more advanced topics, including map reading, first aid, plant and animal identification, ecosystems, geology, weather, and environmental issues. We’ll hone these skills in pursuit of data for a real-world research study, spending time each day for careful observation and data collection. Come spend a week living and learning in a high elevation research camp and experience what it’s like to study mountains.

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  • Program Title: Crested Butte Backpacking Adventure Camp
  • Location: Crested Butte, CO
  • Dates: 7/27/20 – 7/31/20
  • Grades: 6-9th
  • Ability Level: Strenuous (Will be carrying packs while hiking between campsites)
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Average group size: 10 students / 2 instructors
  • Environment: Travel through forests and alpine tundra, bear habitat, and on and off-trail
  • Members: $450
  • Non-Members: $500
  • Program Description: You’re ready for an epic adventure in the Rocky Mountains. You dream of scrambling up peaks, studying alpine ecosystems, and making wilderness smores in July. You’re not afraid to work hard, get dirty, and learn hands-on skills with a group of your peers. If you’re excited to spend a week in the mountains making new friends and learning how to live in the wilderness, then this is the course for you. Investigate alpine ecology, the geology of mountain building, and hydrology at elevation. Experience what it's like to build an inclusive community dedicated to scientific understanding as you set goals and tackle challenges. Take a journey into the backcountry and learn the mood of the mountains. Register now for an experience you won’t forget!


Here is a sneak peak of previous adventure camps!