Cal-Wood is Recognized Internationally and Locally
At Cal-Wood Education Center we are unique in our approach to environmental education programs. Over the last two years our Executive Director, Rafael Salgado, has received multiple awards recognizing Cal-Wood’s creation of inclusive and innovative programs.
The awards received recognize our culturally-sensitive programs for under-served youth and families who do not normally have access to the Colorado mountains, or to hands-on science/environmental education. According to The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County’s recent TRENDS Report, “Children growing up in economically disadvantaged homes and Latino children have a persistent achievement gap.” We are working on addressing that gap through providing access to environmental education. Our school program provides STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) learning opportunities for these students. According to The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County’s recent TRENDS Report, “Children growing up in economically disadvantaged homes and Latino children have a persistent achievement gap.” We also use innovative teaching techniques that have proven successful with English Language Learners. The low-income schools we serve have more than 60% of their students enrolled in free lunch programs and more than 40% are English Language Learners.
Through our new Latino Family Camp, we provide outdoor opportunities for diverse families too. Our goal with this program is for all participating families to feel at home in the outdoors through a weekend of camping at Cal-Wood. Families hike, and learn about forestry, geology, astronomy, survival skills, fishing, and archery. Team building activities and songs around the campfire are a big part of the weekend too. Our counselors for the Latino Family Camp are bilingual. Check out the Latino Family Camp video.
Rafael’s recent awards on behalf of Cal-Wood for these inclusive innovative and efforts include:
- November 2014: North American Association for Environmental Education‘s Rosa Parks and Grace Lee Boggs Award, recognizing excellence and leadership in the field. This is an international award, which Rafael traveled to Ottawa, Canada to receive.
- April 2015: 2014 Daily Camera Pacesetters Award in Environment, honoring the people who make Boulder County special. The 2014 Pacesetters recipients are incredible women and men in their fields.
- September 2015: Boulder Community Action Programs Multicultural Award, honoring people of color who have have made major contributions to the arts, business, community service, education, government, health, partners (people from the White/Anglo community who work with people of color to promote social justice around race issues), science, and youth throughout Boulder County.
- October 2015: Thorne Nature Experience‘s Environmental Education Champion award. About this award, Thorne Nature Experience said, “Rafael is one of our Country’s leading Latino environmental educators and he serves as a tremendous role model for locally Latino youth, helping them to know that they have a place in nature.”
We are deeply honored to have received this recognition. We plan to serve our community, including underserved youth and families, for years to come.
In Rafael’s words, “So many youth and their families do not get the chance to experience the mountains. We work with children and families from all walks of life, including immigrant families who come to Colorado for work. Just because these families didn’t come to Colorado to experience the Rocky Mountains, does not mean they can’t. When these children and families find out how easy it is to enjoy the mountains, they get so excited, and they want to come back.”