Ensuring a next generation of river stewards

Are student field trips a thing of the past? With skyrocketing bus costs and the expectation that educators pack as much standards-related content into the school day as possible, many schools are viewing field trips as unattainable. However, nothing replaces the social and educational perspectives gained through firsthand experiences.

The Poudre Heritage Alliance’s Learning in Our Watershed program provides grant funds to K-12 school teachers in Larimer and Weld County to hire buses and pay entry fees to bring their students on field trips to the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA).

Our mission is simple – to help youth understand and value the Poudre River and their water heritage, ensuring a next generation of river stewards.

New Program: SOLO Field Trips

With our new “Study Outdoors, Learn Outdoors” (SOLO) field trip program, the Poudre Heritage Alliance is creating an opportunity for students to explore the Cache la Poudre River Heritage Area safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are transitioning our Learning in Our Watershed program to offer an outdoor self-guided learning experience. The “normal” may have changed, but our commitment to helping youth understand and value the Poudre River has not!

This Fall 2020, teachers, scout leaders, and at home educators can assign their students a place-based education route along the Poudre River Trail. We currently have walking and biking routes offered in Fort Collins and Greeley! The Fort Collins route is designed for 7th and 8th-grade students, while the Greeley route is suitable for 4th and 5th-grade students. Developed by two local educators, the routes align with Colorado Academic Standards, relate to the surrounding environment, and incorporate interpretive signs created by the Poudre Heritage Alliance.

We believe that the Cache la Poudre River is an engaging and inspirational learning environment. Together, we can continue to build our next generation of river stewards!


Take Me to SOLO Field Trips Download Flyer

Learning In Our Watershed



•Expand opportunities for youth to directly experience and come to appreciate the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA).


  • Students and teachers visit CALA for the first time
  • Students and teachers enhance knowledge of CALA and National Heritage Areas
  • Participants express interest and return to CALA for more experiences after program
  • Teachers develop awareness or understanding of CALA as a resource for youth activities/learning
  • PHA outreach to the public, partners and schools

Elements of Learning in Our Watershed Program

  • All K-12 schools that are located in Weld or Larimer Counties qualify to submit an application to visit approved sites.
  • The field trips are designed to foster the study of water, water law and its relevance to future water security, water management and/or to help develop a “sense of place” – the Poudre River corridor.
  • 17 sites or annual water-related festivals within the CALA are automatically “approved” for field trip destinations, including: Centennial Village, the Environmental Learning Center (ELC), Greeley Museum, Children’s Water Festivals in Fort Collins and Greeley, the Poudre Learning Center, and more. Other destinations may be approved on a case-by-case basis.
  • Grants are approved while funding remains. However, funding is limited, so we hope to be able to expand this program and bring more children to the Poudre River.