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 2015 through 2018. The plan’s goals and objectives include: Expand networking and collaboration within Boulder County’s environmental education community; ensure Thorne’s expertise and resources are required for the delivery of any programs outside of Boulder County and that delivery of these programs does not negatively affect programming within Boulder County; increase impact of current programs through enhancements to curriculum; Enhance and expand school-year and summer programs to better serve target demographic of low-income and Latino youth; measure success of programs, including their ability to build Earth Stewardship, and use information to adjust programs and program delivery as needed; enhance and expand Summer Camp program to generate additional earned income; increase wild nature play within all Thorne programs; address inequality in EE programming across grade levels at Boulder County elementary schools; and ensure a continuum of environmental education with multiple contacts for pre-k through middle school for students within Title 1 feeder school networks within Boulder County.

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 updated in 2016.

CLICK HERE to read Thorne’s current Inclusiveness Plan.