HLI is in early stages of developing a Land Ethic Education Program that will provide learning opportunities for adults and children as well as guests and visitors to HLR. We seek to create a program that increases environmental literacy and natural awareness in all participants through hands-on experiences and scientific inquiry. HLI and HLR now host Field Schools with participating colleges and universities where undergraduate students and their instructors come to camp and study on the ranch and adjoining Public Lands. HLI will also support graduate student education and research in cooperation with affiliated universities. When HLI facilities are constructed, the education program will expand to accommodate more year-around activities.
Championing and honoring the Land Ethic is fundamental to The High Lonesome Ranch’s Land Ethic Education Program. Building on Aldo Leopold’s ideas and philosophies, the mission of the HLR Land Education Program is to promote a land ethic that fosters a whole-ecosystem approach to conservation. Helping people understand and value historic and current ranching practices and their effects on a whole ecosystem are central to the HLI mission. The High Lonesome Ranch land ethic illuminates a new era of conservation—one that includes people and their needs, specifically those of rural agricultural and ranching communities. We believe that addressing these human dimensions is essential to conserving both biological and cultural diversity.
Guided by our staff, students use the HLR as their outdoor classroom to connect with and study the natural world. Projects and activities will eventually encompass classroom experiences, field studies and research, as well as stewardship projects. Skills students learn will incorporate the diverse and unique activities at HLR, which range from hunting, fishing, bird watching and equestrian activities to science and ecological restoration. Additionally, our programs support teachers in meeting Colorado state standards in education, specifically in math and science. Adult programs embody a similar conservation ethic, but with a broader scope. In addition to science education and research activities, we plan to have ecotourism, citizen science opportunities, special events, and workshops available to guests and the local community.