Providing free nature outings and adventures to youth who would other wise not have such opportunities, Boulder Valley ICO is entirely volunteer run.

See our new website for more information on our program.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Online Donations Now Available!

A humble request to check out how our new and secure online donation page works. Try the link out or click the Donate Now button above. 

Even a small donation of $25. or so can go a long ways. ICO is an all volunteer-run organization, so donations go directly to fund outings, not overhead or salary. To run our outings, we need to pay for gear, food, fuel, and permits. Your donation is 100% tax-deductible, and you will receive an acknowledgement of your gift from the Sierra Club Foundation. The monies don't go to San Francisco; they will be used right here in Colorado. Boulder Valley ICO is, in fact, a trend setter, being the first ICO group in the nation to collect donations online! Show us how cool this is by supporting our growth and continued success with an online contribution today.

Thank you and Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Canyonlands National Park Report

Just before Thanksgiving, sixteen youth and eight adults from Boulder Valley ICO and the Colorado Youth Program (thanks, CYP!) had a 4-day adventure in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, Utah. We took full advantage of the school break and the fine late fall weather in Colorado and Utah. We left Boulder around 8AM, traveling in CYP's van and private vehicles. We stopped for lunch in Fruita, and had a final taste of civilization in Moab before arriving in the Needles at sunset (around 5PM this time of year). Camp was set at Squaw Flat, where we built a campfire and cooked hotdogs and veggie dogs on coat hangers. We discussed important subjects around the fire and had a trivia contest with S'mores as the reward for correct answers. The dark night sky of Canyonlands is spectacular, and we took an amazing night hike before tucking ourselves into bed. We awoke to a bright, sunny day that warmed up quickly. Our hearty breakfast of pancakes and sausage took a while to prepare, but it was worth it. We ran around like crazies gearing up for the next 2.5 days of backpacking. We split into smaller hiking groups and checked in at the visitors' center for our permits. Then it was time to hit the trail! Group 1's slideshow is below, and Group 3's (CYP's) pictures are linked below that. 

Group 1 enjoyed climbing rocks, identifying scat, filtering sand through our fingers, the hot conditions at our first campsite, and, to cap it off, our final silent skit at the end of our 2.5 day hike:

Colorado Youth Program's Canyonlands Photos.

On the 4th day, we met around noon at the visitors' center and drove back to Colorado. All in all, it was a great adventure, and we were very lucky to have such a wonderful group of youth and leaders!

Boulder Valley ICO is entirely run by volunteers and funded by donors like you. We spent over $1300. on Canyonlands, but including the in-kind donations by volunteers and CYP (such as vehicle mileage, gas, and some of the food), the trip cost at least $2500. That still doesn't count much of our gear, which has been supplied by donations and generous business sponsors like La Sportiva and REI, and the over 800 hours of volunteer time devoted to this trip. This is a valuable program that is free to participants, but it costs money to run. Won't you consider making a donation? Donations are tax-deductible, and you will receive an acknowledgment of your gift from the Sierra Club Foundation. Online donations will be available soon, but in the meantime you can mail a check to the address below. If you have questions, please contact us at

Checks payable to "Sierra Club Foundation - Boulder Valley ICO" can be mailed to:

Sierra Club Foundation - Boulder Valley ICO
637 B S Broadway
Suite B, No 117
Boulder, CO 80305

Thank you, and have a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, December 8, 2008

About Water Sentinels

Boulder Valley ICO partners with the Water Sentinels program, the City of Boulder, and Trout Unlimited to run monthly water sampling/fly fishing outings in Boulder County. Water Sentinels is a national surface water sampling program of the Sierra Club which supplies our sampling equipment and primary funding for these outings. The City of Boulder supports these outings by paying for laboratory analysis of the samples collected. Trout Unlimited is the conservation voice of the angling community, and it provides volunteers who teach fly fishing and fly tying to our outing participants.

These outings begin with water sampling along a stretch of Goose Creek that is of interest to the City of Boulder. We test the oxygenation and conductivity of the water and take samples for laboratory analysis of the water’s iron and nutrient content. We then go fishing at Sawhill Ponds or along Boulder Creek. After that, we get pizza.

Boulder Valley ICO is proud to have piloted the combination of water sampling and fly fishing outings as part of the Water Sentinels program. Water Sentinels has now replicated this outing format throughout the country. Pairing water sampling with fly fishing results in much higher rates of participation in both facets of the program. It also helps participants understand the connection between water quality, macroinvertibrate populations, and, of course, fish.

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