"The field trip was very well organized. You have excellent teachers! It is the best field trip - ties a lot of learning we try to cover in class but can't experience it like this!"
~2nd grade teacher from Goldrick Elementary





Bluff Lake's Education Program is honored to have received the:
2004 K-12 Education Award from the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education


2011-2012 School Programs

Providing field trips at Bluff Lake for Denver area elementary schools is one of BLNC's longest running and best loved programs. The information below is meant to tell you about the program and how schools/teachers can register for field trips. Please let us know if you need additional information.

A Proven Combination: Field Trips & Learning! BLNC's Education Program brings elementary students into nature for hands-on learning and the kids show consistent, significant improvements on environmental literacy assessments scores! During the fall of 2011:

  • 433 1st-2nd graders attended our “Healthy Habitats” program. Students showed a 42% average improvement between pre-visit and post-visit assessment scores.
  • 152 2nd-4th graders attended our “Life Cycles” program. Students showed a 26% average improvement between pre-visit and post-visit assessment scores.
  • 594 4th-5th graders attended our “Wetland Wonders” program. Students showed a 26% average improvement between pre-visit and post-visit assessment scores.

The success of our program is reliant upon support from the community. Your donations to BLNC are critical and our volunteers are too. The scores above were witnessed by, eleven Education Volunteers who put in a combined total of 389 hours.

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A Multi-level Approach to Field Experience

Guided education programs for students in ECE-5th grade are available throughout the year.  Programs are led by staff and volunteers.  Each class that registers for a Bluff Lake field program has several education experiences with Bluff Lake staff.  First, teachers receive a Bluff Lake Explorers packet containing classroom activities.  Pre-trip activities can easily be conducted in the classroom to help prepare students for their field experience.  Next, a BLNC staff Naturalist visits the classroom prior to the trip to answer questions, guide students through related activities and provide background information.  The third phase is a visit to Bluff Lake’s outdoor classroom, which consists of visiting activity stations that will engage students through hands-on learning and exploration.  Finally, post-trip activities are provided to help the teacher solidify concepts learned in the field.




Program Overview

Pre-Trip Classroom Visit: Prior to our classroom visit you will get an Explorer's Pack via email. This will contain pre-trip and post-trip activities, a parent letter, a map and vocabulary words. Approximately one week prior to your field experience, a Bluff Lake Instructor will come to your class. During this pre-trip visit we will give your students the background information they need, conduct group activities, and answer questions. Your students will then be ready for their field experience.

Site Visit Field Trip: Your Bluff Lake visit will begin with a general introduction and then your class will be broken up into 3 groups. Each group will visit a hands-on activity station led by one of our Education Volunteers.  Each station will incorporate games and activities, journaling and writing, and exploration to teach the concepts outline in each Life Science Grade Level Expectation.

Assessment Program: Most of BLNC Explorer's programs begin with a pre-trip assessment to help us gauge your students' current experience with the relevant scientific concepts. We will wrap-up with a post trip assessment to see how much they have learned.

Scholarship Availablility (revised for 2011/2012): BLNC School Programs are free only for public schools with 50% or more enrollment in the free/reduced lunch program, and these schools may also qualify for a partial reimbursement of school bus expense. All other schools will be invoiced at $4.00 per student and will be responsible for their transportation expenses.

Sheltering and English Language Learners: All of our programs use sheltered English techniques to reach a broad spectrum of ELL.




Curricula Summaries

Sensory Discovery (Grades ECE and K): Use all of your senses to explore Bluff Lake and discover how animals use their senses. Based on Life Science GLE Preschool #1.

Healthy Habitats (Grades 1-2): Discover the different habitats at Bluff Lake, which animals live in each habitat and what they need to survive. Based on Life Science GLE 1st Grade #2 and 2nd Grade #1 and #2.

Life Cycles (Grades 2-4): Learn about the different life cycles of various animals and how they are connected to all other animals, including humans. Based Life Science GLE 3rd Grade #1.

Wetland Wonders (Grades 3-5): Learn what makes a wetland a wetland, what animals live there, and how a wetland is nature’s way of cleaning water. Based on Life Science GLE 4th Grade #1 and #3.

Winter Wonders (ECE-5th, January 1 – March 25): Discover a winter world at Bluff Lake and learn about the different winter adaptations of Colorado animals.



Fulfilling the Colorado Model Content Standards

The combination of experiences is designed to teach science concepts in alignment with the new Colorado Model Content Standards for Science adopted in December 2009. Each program is designed to meet the Life Science Standards outlined in each Grade Level Expectation for Preschool through 5th Grade. Each outdoor activity station focuses on specific evidence outcomes listed for each GLE. For specifics on evidence outcomes, please contact our Education Department at the number listed below.




Registration Information for Teachers

Please call  Bluff Lake's Education Department at 303-344-1649 to arrange your classroom presentation and on-site field trip.

Please allow 10-15 minutes for the registration process.  Please have all teachers’ phone numbers and email addresses.  We present in classrooms on Mondays and need approximately 45 minutes for each classroom presentation. 

On-site field trips are scheduled on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from approximately 9:30am-12:30pm.  Field trip time lines are flexible; please contact us for more information.




Schools within three miles of Bluff Lake

  • Amesse Elementary
  • Ashley Elementary
  • Boston K-8 School
  • Cedar Wood Christian Academy
  • Crawford Elementary
  • Fletcher Primary School
  • Ford Elementary
  • Fulton Elementary
  • Greenwood K-8 School
  • Hallett Elementary
  • Kenton Elementary
  • Lansing Elementary
  • Maxwell Elementary
  • McGlone Elementary
  • Montview Elementary
  • Northeast Academy Charter School
  • Oakland Elementary
  • Odyssey Charter Elementary
  • Options School
  • Paris Elementary
  • Park Lane Elementary
  • Peoria Elementary
  • Sable Elementary
  • Sixth Avenue Elementary
  • St. Pius Tenth Elementary
  • Swigert-McAuliffe International School
  • Vaughn Elementary
  • Westerly Creek Elementary
  • William (Bill) Roberts K-8 School




This section is under development. For now, please email your questions to Lisa Chickos, and we will populate this section with the most needed additional information. -- Thank you!



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Bluff Lake Nature Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
Phone: 720-708-4147 ~ Fax: 720-708-4082 ~ General Email: [email protected]