New Year, Same ELK

Environmental Learning for Kids
3 min readJan 26, 2024


ELK’s First-Ever “In Bloom Soiree” was a Hit!

As we reflect on the past year, we are proud of what we have accomplished as an organization and as part of the Northeast Denver community. In 2023, ELK provided inspirational, educational, and transformational experiences in STEM education, career exploration, and outdoor recreation for over 6,000 youth and family members. ELK classics like Cast-A-Line and ELK ‘n Eggs continued to be a testament to our ability to have fun, expand outdoor access, and rally the community to support the causes we all believe in.

We also kept things fresh! 2023 was a year of transformation for ELK as well as many of our students and families. Here are just a handful of ELK’s exciting achievements from the past year:

  • We introduced First Fridays, a series of events that help project the voices of local resources, organizations, businesses, artists, and more that represent the soul of Montbello.
  • Our school-based programs forged ten new partnerships.
  • Our new Family Fitness Club brought ELK staff and community members together to challenge themselves and improve their health.
  • We happily welcomed back camping trips.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park LEAF Camping Trip
  • Our first-ever In Bloom fundraising event was a huge success that celebrated ELK’s impact, and the $30,750 we raised took us a few steps closer to realizing our vision of a world in which all people are caretakers of themselves, each other, and the natural world.
  • We launched a new volunteer program that has already given over 70 folks the opportunity to give back to the community by planting native fruit bushes, painting kindness rocks, and more.
ELK volunteers ROCK!
  • We rebranded, reflecting “our adaptability, our commitment to our mission, and our ambition to effect meaningful change.” — Juan Pérez Sáez, ELK Executive Director

We made a lot of changes in 2023, but we’re still the same ELK. In 2024 and forever, we are going to keep trailblazing, expanding access to nature, and courageously standing as a pillar of the community — a place and a family in which all people feel they are a genuine part of a diverse community of leaders and environmental stewards. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

About Environmental Learning for Kids: Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) is a local nonprofit that creates a sense of belonging, self-discovery, and adventure in the outdoors for underrepresented young people of color and their families, transforming youth into environmental stewards and trailblazers that promote equitable outdoor access, sustainable practices, and community uplift. Learn more at

About the Author: Lauren Keller is ELK’s Events & Marketing Coordinator. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida but has done meaningful work in Colorado since graduating from Colorado College with a BA in Environmental Studies in 2021. Lauren is passionate about harnessing visual media to share the wonder of the natural world with everyone. She is currently pursuing an MA in Biology with a focus on conservation communications. In her free time, you can find Lauren reading, playing games, cooking new foods, or searching for wild animals to photograph.



Environmental Learning for Kids

Environmental Learning for Kids cultivates a passion in science, leadership, and service in a diverse community of learners.