Community Environmental Education & Outreach
Beaver Creek Resort has focused greatly on environmental education. Our approach to education is as follows:
• Education is the cornerstone to environmental stewardship, as the internal community
of employees must understand all objectives and initiatives.
• Environmental education is a continuous learning process where we become aware
of our environment, the values, skills, and knowledge necessary to protect our
environment, and implement behavioral changes that in the long run improve our
quality of life.
• Our environmental community relationship sets the tone for all sustainability of the
ski industry. Educating and communicating with the local, state, and national
community is the key to success.
• Children learn and retain conservation principles in school environments and transfer their
knowledge to their parents.
• Our summer/winter guests' perception of our environmental stewardship of the public lands
we are entrusted with is the final key to success.
Our environmental education philosophy has benefited our community in a variety of ways. Each year the Environmental Coordinator engages with local school children through various programs. The programs are initiated with three general objectives in mind:
1. To educate students on what our resort is doing to keep sustainability a central focus
in our business decisions and operations.
2. To educate students on some things they can do as individuals and as families to help protect the earth.
3. To help the students understand what their environmental concerns are as they are our future
Some examples of our community environmental education outreach activities include: planting trees with school children as an Earth Day activity along with a wildlife habitat discussion, giving out reusable shopping bags to students and talking with them about the positive and negative impacts our decisions can have on the environment, an energy conservation seminar where the students receive a free energy saving light bulb for their participation, and our most popular event, the Raptor school visits. Through partnering with the Raptor Education Foundation, Beaver Creek brings live birds of prey, into the classrooms.
The Raptor Education Foundation (REF)
The Raptor Education Foundation (REF) has been promoting environmental literacy since 1980 by providing schools, corporations, conventions, and gatherings of all sizes unique innovative programs and seminars that connect people with the natural world. REF utilizes an extensive cast of live, non-releasable raptors to focus attention on environmental concepts and issues.
Ski with a Ranger
Ski with a Ranger is an opportunity for the Forest Service and Beaver Creek to partner together to provide environmental education displays, activities, and guided tours for the purpose of highlighting the resources of the National Forest and the resort’s environmental commitments. The program developed and implemented an educational and interpretive program for the Environmental Learning Center on Beaver Creek Mountain.
Forest Service Rangers and volunteers guide a 45-minute ski tour on beginner and intermediate trails at Beaver Creek Resort. Participants meet at the Environmental Learning Center at the top of the Cinch Express Lift (#8), at 1:30 p.m. every Saturday.
Ski trails used during the tour vary according to the weekly topic and group ability. The primary ski trails to be used are the beginner trails Red Buffalo, Powell, Flattops, Cinch and Dally. Intermediate groups use the Red Tail and Larkspur ski trails. Each tour includes a brief introduction and orientation at the Environmental Learning Center. Once outside, the group follows their naturalist guide through several planned stops on the mountain to learn about topics of interest.
Topics include, but are not limited to:
• Winter Wildlife Adaptations (What do they do to survive?)
• Lifecycle of the Mountain Pine Beetle
• Local History: From the Native tribes to today’s communities
• Avalanche Awareness (Behind the scenes with Beaver Creek Ski Patrol)
• Fire’s Role in Nature (Special guest: Smokey the Bear)
• Wilderness Management
• For the Kids: Become a Junior Snow Ranger!
Some examples of what participants learn are:
• Snowshoe hares are named for their enlarged hind legs, which enable them
to stay on top of the snow.
• Aspen trees can reproduce by sending out roots to become new trees and are
considered among the largest and oldest organisms on Earth.
• The White River National Forest provides 64 percent of the skiing in Colorado
and 13 percent of the national total through 12 ski area permits hosting over
7.6 million skier visits per year.
During 2001, Beaver Creek created an environmental committee in an effort to include a diverse representation of management disciplines in the implementation of the resort’s environmental goals. This committee received financial commitment to hire an environmental coordinator to further education, compliance and goal attainment. Beaver Creek's environmental committee has been charged with meeting to create unique environment-focused programs and initiatives to be implemented at the resort, on the mountain and within the village, winter and summer. One of the committee's first initiatives was the Environmental Learning Center. The committee, and the environmental coordinator, wanted to create a space where both employees and resort guests could learn about their surroundings through interactive and interpretive displays.
Beaver Creek Environmental Learning Center
On February 23, 2002, Beaver Creek opened its on-mountain Environmental Learning Center (ELC) with the goal of educating over 500,000 guests and employees each year. The ELC is dedicated to promoting education and awareness among guests, employees and area residents. Target displays include:
• Living with Wildlife,
• Recycle our World Depends on it
• Energy the Renewable Resource
• Sustainable Slopes
• Resort Management’s Role in these efforts.
Designed as an educational resource, the center incorporates several interactive displays, and a continuous-loop Sustainable Slopes video station, portraying the many topics the resort’s environmental efforts embrace. This center is the beginning of a long-term commitment by Beaver Creek Resort to educate each and every guest and employee in his or her responsibilities to provide an active role in environmental stewardship.
During the 2001 summer season, Beaver Creek’s environmental committee and department began an interactive hiking program designed to educate guests using on mountain hiking trails. Resort officials hoped to create awareness among guests regarding resort environmental issues and education using three specially designed interpretive and interactive hiking trails, a mock archeological site and a “field notebook.”
In an effort to continue the program during the winter months, the resort re-vamped it’s nationally acclaimed and adopted Ske-cology program with new interpretive signage, the addition of an interpretive snowshoe trail and the inclusion of the program on all winter trail maps.
Combined, the following environmental programs reach over 1,000,000 resort guests and employees annually: