To build Earth stewardship by providing youth with joyful, hands-on, place-based environmental education experiences that foster an emotional connection to nature.


A world where people’s actions cultivate a thriving, healthy environment that supports all life.


  • Humans are an inseparable part of the environment.
  • Joyful, hands-on experiences in nature cultivate an environmental ethic.
  • Global impact begins with local, place-based environmental education.
  • Today’s youth are tomorrow’s environmental stewards and leaders.


  • Environmental stewardship
  • Community
  • Inclusiveness
  • Collaboration and leadership
  • Stewardship of the organization’s resources (financial, human, facility, history/legacy)


  • All Boulder County youth regardless of race, ethnicity, and income are provided the opportunity to connect with nature.
  • Boulder County youth are the most environmentally literate in the United States.


  • We ensure access to environmental education for Boulder County youth.
  • We ensure a continuum of environmental education opportunities so that youth can grow from entry level educational experiences to become stewards of the environment.
  • We work primarily within Boulder County, in order to provide models for replication throughout Colorado and beyond through innovation and success. We work outside Boulder County when our expertise and resources are needed and the programming offered compliments and does not negatively affect the delivery of our Boulder County programs.
  • We offer a diverse and adaptable set of programming in order to meet our mission within our diverse community.
  • We hire and support only the best environmental educators.
  • We measure our success in terms of quantity of youth educated, the quality of their experience, the knowledge they gain, and the actions they take to cultivate a thriving, healthy environment.
  • We act as careful stewards of our facility and endowments so that they may continue to support our organizations work in perpetuity.
  • We annually review this document, our strategic plan, our financial position, and the demographics and needs of our community (people and environment) so that we can ensure a sustainable and relevant future for our organization.


Thorne Nature Experience is currently working to achieve the goals and objectives set forth in its most recent Board approved Strategic Plan covering the years 2020 through 2023.

Thorne’s success in achieving the goals and objectives set forth in this strategic plan will result in the following:

  • Thorne will remain an efficient and effective organization with an exceptionally talented and motivated team of staff, board, and volunteers who have the knowledge and capacity to deliver the highest quality of programs to connect youth and families to nature.
  • Thorne will further improve its financial capacity, including expanded earned income and philanthropic support through exceptionally marketed and implemented programming and fundraising that effectively maximizes on our community’s desire to engage in and support programs that connect youth and families to nature.
  • Thorne will be a more inclusive organization, whose board and staff are representative of the demographics of Thorne’s participants.
  • No Boulder County youth or families will experience barriers to participating in Thorne programs.
  • The Nature Kids/Jovenes de la Naturaleza collective impact project, which delivers nature programs to underserved youth, will be successfully operating in Lafayette, Boulder, and Longmont.
  • Thorne will operate a robust family program that effectively engages families from all backgrounds in connecting youth to nature.
  • Thorne will operate a successful and profitable Nature Preschool.
  • Thorne’s Early Childhood Education programs will have expanded to reach underserved populations.
  • Boulder County’s Environmental Education Community, with Thorne as its leader, will be more effective at delivering a continuum of whole-child environmental education programs from pre-k to high school.
  • Boulder County policy makers, government agencies, and parents will be more engaged in supporting efforts to connect youth to nature, including growth in both the number of nature play areas and opportunities for youth to spend unstructured time in nature.
  • Thorne’s headquarters at Sombrero Marsh will provide staff with an efficient and effective work environment and youth and parents and students and teachers with an exceptional site to connect with and explore in nature.

CLICK HERE to read Thorne’s current Strategic Plan.

Thorne Nature Experience believes that to remain relevant as an organization and ensure access to joyful, hands-on, place-based environmental education experience for all youth, its programs, leadership, and participants must reflect the range of diversity, culture, and unique differences in our community. Based on this belief, Thorne’s Board approved its first Inclusiveness Plan in 2013 and that plan was most recently updated in 2021.

CLICK HERE to read Thorne’s current Inclusiveness Plan.