Fire Ecology Institute

If you are interested in SPONSORING AN EDUCATOR TO ATTEND THIS HIGHLY  REGARDED CLASS, please contact us.

“I have many resources to help me continue my education and understanding.  Better than that, I know who to call when I just need an answer to a student’s difficult question.  I know that that this is one of the best educational experiences I have received in my life, I know I want to attend  again next year, and I know I will be bringing as many people with me as I can!”                               – Reflection by Debby Penny, teacher at Skyview Middle School in Falcon School District 49.

(see other reflections and lesson plans below)

Wildfire is as much a part of Colorado ecosystems as snow, yet most of us don’t understand it or prepare for it. The Fire Ecology Institute for Educators (FEI)  aims to close that knowledge gap by creating an intensive workshop for teachers and educators to gain knowledge, experience and materials to provide their students with relevant information on the science, ecology, behavior, mitigation and history of wildfire, as well as insects, droughts, and opportunities for community service projects.

The 5 day FEI takes place each year, usually in either June or July, and includes professionals such as foresters, firefighters, biologists, ecologists, hydrologists, educators and other experts sharing information about Colorado fires and other current forest issues. Activities include field studies, technology, and experiments. Teachers take home activity guides, posters, cds, dvds, and many other resources. Participants work from sun-up to sun-down most days as they visit local burned, eroded, rehabilitated, thinned, and flooded areas, mixed with student activities, presentations, speakers, movies, GIS, and discussions.

Locations vary as we position ourselves to study  Colorado’s fire history and lessons learned from them.  We’ve studied the Buffalo Creek, Hayman, Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires in the South Platte River Watershed; the Coal Seam, South Canyon (Storm King Mt.), and other fires in the Colorado River Watershed; and the Missionary Ridge fire the Animas River/San Juan Watershed.    Participants can expect a very full and busy week resulting in lesson plans for their classroom to share with other educators.

Sponsors have included the Colorado Outdoor Education Center/The Nature Place; Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP), USGS, USFS/Rocky Mt. Research Station,  Colorado Geographic Alliance, BLM, Nature Conservancy, Southern Rockies Fire Science Network, and Rocky Mt.Tree Ring Research.

Reflections from 2015

Lesson Plans from 2015

Reflections from 2014

Lesson Plans from 2014

Reflections and Lesson Plans from previous participants: 2011, 2012, 2013