Go Out & Do

Now more than ever, our world needs us to connect and take action so future generations come into a place of abundance and opportunity. From our location in Southwest Colorado, we have unique opportunities to make a positive impact on our environment through conservation, restoration, food production, and the ways we live.

You will spend four days before the start of Orientation learning by doing, immersing yourself in the kind of work that makes a difference:

  • Learn how to grow and harvest food grown in sustainable ways.
  • Take part in public lands stewardship projects that benefit important ecosystems.
  • Develop your leadership skills so you can effectively make positive change in the world.
  • Sample the variety of environmental, social, and sustainability experiences and programs that Fort Lewis College has to offer.
  • And by night, sleep in the moon-shadow of our beautiful mountains, prepare and eat delicious meals together, and meet new friends who care about our world the same way you do.

For more information, please contact Environmental Center Coordinator Marty Pool at mlpool@fortlewis.edu or at 970-247-7091

When: August 23-27, 2020
Where: FLC Old Fort and surrounding lands
Number of students: 40
Student cost: $200

Registration opens on March 2, 2020.

*A more detailed itinerary will be sent out to participants in the weeks prior to your Peak Experience, but here is what you can expect for the Earth In Your Hands program.

Day 1 – Sunday

Arrive and get settled

On Sunday we will meet up at the Fort Lewis College campus, so some activities to get to know each other, and then head out to our “base-camp” at the Old Fort at Hesperus. Once there, we will settle into our camp, do some team building, and share a meal as we look toward the week ahead.

Days 2, 3 & 4 – Monday-Wednesday

Projects and programs

Each day will look a little different, but a typical day will look like this: we’ll all share a group breakfast together at camp, take part in a morning program, eat some lunch, continue with some afternoon programs, enjoy some downtime, share a delicious dinner, and enjoy time together around camp as evening slips into night. Daily programs will consist of activities like working in the sustainable garden at the Old Fort, ecosystem restoration stewardship programs, meeting FLC professors that work on environmental specialties, and other ways of enjoying our beautiful outdoors and getting our hands dirty!

Day 5: Thursday

Off to Fort Lewis College

We will spend one last morning together and then head back to FLC’s main campus. Once there you will have the chance to get settled into your residence hall room and connect with the start of FLC’s Orientation. While you’ll be wrapping up a great week from your Peak Experience, Orientation weekend is the springboard to your entire Fort Lewis College experience.


The Earth In Your Hands Peak Experience trips costs $200 and includes meals, transportation, and tents for sleeping out at the Old Fort. Participants are responsible for bringing their own personal gear – see the Packing List tab for more information.


Substantial financial assistance up to $200 is available for those who qualify. To apply, please complete the registration process, including the financial assistance application. This will hold your space on the trip as we review financial assistance applications on a rolling basis. You will be notified no later than June 30 if you qualify for assistance, and you can make your decision to confirm your registration at that time.

Cancellation Policy

  • An administrative fee of $50 will be assessed for any cancellation
  • The full trip amount is forfeit if cancelled after July 31
  • If the cancelled spot is filled, the full amount will be refunded, minus the $50 administrative fee

The items below are the MINIMUM REQUIRED items to keep you safe and comfortable during your experience. Summer weather in the San Juan Mountains is very unpredictable and can range from sunny weather, freezing rain, to even snow. If you are not accustomed to cold weather, or know you get cold easily, please bring extra warm layers. Even though we are not on a backpacking trip, you should ideally be able to carry all your gear by yourself in order make things easier as we settle into camp.

Rentals are available for some essential gear items. You will receive a rental request form as part of the application process.

You do not have to have super high-end gear to enjoy your experience! You can purchase many items at thrift stores or find inexpensive versions at stores like Walmart or Target. A copy will also be sent to you as part of your application process.


  • Daypack backpack – something you are comfortable wearing for up to an hour while hiking and that you can fit a rain jacket, warm layer and water bottle in (this should not be a full-size backpacking overnight backpack).
  • One large bag for all your gear for the week – duffel bag, backpacking pack, etc.


  • >Sleeping bag – rental available
  • Sleeping pad – rental available
  • Pillow (or a pillowcase to stuff with your soft clothes)
  • Tents will be provided and participants will share 3 people per tent – you do not need to bring your own unless you prefer to sleep in your own tent by yourself.


  • Rain jacket or waterproof jacket – rental available
  • Warm layer - such as a heavy fleece or puffy jacket – preferably not cotton
  • 1-2 long sleeve shirts – wool or synthetic preferred
  • 2-4 short sleeve shirts
  • 1-2 pair shorts
  • 1-2 pair pants
  • Socks for 5 days – wool or synthetic preferred
  • Undergarments for 5 days
  • Warm gloves – wool or synthetic preferred
  • Closed-toe shoes for hiking and walking around outdoors – if these shoes are not water-resistant boots, please also bring strapped sandals (like Chacos or Tevas) or extra shoes that can get wet since some of our work may be in muddy or wet environments.
  • Sunhat or baseball cap
  • Swimsuit
  • Basic leather work or gardening gloves

Personal Items

  • Sunglasses - ideally with retention strap like a Croakie
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick with SPF protections
  • Basic Toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, etc.)
  • Medications
  • Contact lens solution and/or space contacts or glasses as needed
  • Notebook/journal and pen
  • Water bottles and/or hydration bladder – capable of holding at least 1 liter of water total
  • Headlamp or flashlight (with fresh batteries)
  • Multitool or pocket knife – preferably leaders only, but allowed for all
  • Camera, if desired
  • Bandana, if desired