The three pillars of ACES' 50th anniversary capital campaign are education, community building, and protection & restoration. You can help us shape the future of our valley and enhance science education, our communities, and environmental protection.

View Our Campaign Goals

Impact Gifts: Education

Help ACES build the environmental education movement valley wide and in other states by providing ecological literacy and the joys of nature for young children up until college level students. Your gifts can help fund this essential work.

Build ACES Educator Housing in Carbondale
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Total cost: $750,000 (Naming Opportunity)

  • Housing for ACES’ educators is the only way ACES has been able to attract the best staff, as well as expand our education programs to the areas in need
  • ACES has secured a location in Carbondale, one block from Main Street, which will enable our educators to walk/bike to teach in Carbondale schools and have a much shorter commute to Garfield County schools such as Glenwood Springs, New Castle, and Silt
  • The square footage totals approximately 1,900. In order to make our housing more accommodating to employees, the house can be configured as a 3-bedroom with a 1-bedroom ADU or a 2-bedroom with a 2-bedroom ADU
  • This will be a model of sustainable design and used for education about the latest “green” techniques
Environmental Education for Regional Underfunded Schools
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Total cost: $600,000

Expansion of ACES Ed school programs into New Castle, Silt, Rifle, Glenwood Springs and other down valley schools.

  • Expand ACES Ed science education programming to Garfield County schools experiencing severe budget cuts
  • Increase ACES’ civic engagement promoting environmental education for high school youth for college credit from Aspen to Rifle (Tomorrow’s Voices program)
  • Expand 5th-day career pathway internship for underrepresented populations in environmental science career fields
Use Food Education for Change: Sustainable Agriculture Education in Schools
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Total cost: $550,000

  • Integrate field science programs for all students from ACES’ partner schools (Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale, and Re-2 elementary schools)
  • In-school curriculum development for regional elementary, middle, and high school students with hands-on field programs at Rock Bottom Ranch
Educate and Inspire the Next Generation of Regenerative Farmers
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Total cost: $750,000

Be a part of growing farmers to change our food system. Share our regenerative livestock, vegetable, and land stewardship practices through on-the-farm training programs as well as through a digital resource for aspiring, beginning, and transitioning farmers.

  • Construct multi-use housing for farmers
  • Develop and launch a formal farmer training program
  • Create an online digital resource to share ACES’ agriculture practices, techniques, and approaches
Develop Outdoor Environmental Ed (Experiential Education) Programs Down Valley
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Total cost: $125,000

  • Partner with the Roaring Fork School District-wide to create and lead outdoor environmental ed programs that operate in Basalt, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs High Schools

Impact Gifts: Community Building

Provide an unparalleled educational encounter that establishes each ACES site as both a community education destination and a place in which to explore nature, agriculture, renewable energy, and simply enjoy the outdoors.

Renovation of the Catto Center at Toklat Wilderness Retreat
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Total cost: $6,100,000

Create a one-of-a-kind wilderness retreat center where visitors will experience inspiring dialogue, reflect on nature and our role in it, and motivate environmental protection.

  • Main Building and Addition Renovations: $2,000,000
  • The Great Conference Room: $1,000,000*
  • ACES’ Naturalist Housing: $1,000,000*
  • Artist in Residence Cabin: $500,000
  • Restored Entrance and Patio: $150,000*
  • Deck and Gathering Areas: $150,000*
  • Outdoor Living Area: $200,000*
  • Caretaker Unit: $200,000*
  • Renewable Energy Initiatives: $250,000
  • Design and Planning Costs: $550,000

*Naming opportunities available.

Improvements to Hallam Lake Visitor Center
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Total cost: $1,425,000

Invest in the unique visitor and educational experience at Hallam Lake for local families, students, and residents, as well as visitors from around the world. These remodeled areas will provide inspiring renovated spaces for observing, learning, and working.

  • Classroom and Lecture Space Renovation: $300,000*
  • Science Teaching Lab Renovation: $250,000*
  • New Outdoor Deck and Teaching Space: $150,000*
  • Expanded Meeting and Staff Offices: $300,000*
  • New Entrance Improvement: $150,000
  • Hallam Lake Fencing, Roof, and Maintenance: $275,000

*Naming opportunities available.

Walk Inside Hallam Lake Walk Outside Hallam Lake

Improve and Expand Regenerative Food Production Systems at Rock Bottom Ranch
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Total cost: $500,000

Add staffing and infrastructure to increase food production for local community as well as explore regenerative agriculture systems.

  • Add agriculture production infrastructure to improve processing, equipment storage, perimeter fencing, food storage, and agriculture production structures
  • Explore complementary production systems to enhance our existing foundational concepts
  • Upgrade vehicle and transportation tools including utility vehicle, truck, hayride tractor, and stock trailers

Improve Visitor and Student Experience at Rock Bottom Ranch
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Total cost: $200,000

Continue site improvements at Rock Bottom Ranch to enhance the guest experience.  

  • Improve existing infrastructure including additions to the pole barn, addressing deferred maintenance, adding eco-ed classroom improvements 
  • Create new guest experience infrastructure to allow guests to explore more areas of the site

Impact Gifts: Protection & Restoration

Restore properties that ACES owns along with those owned by partners, our communities, and public lands. Promote these models for ecological health and outdoor classrooms for our community.

Hallam Lake Cutthroat Trout and Aquatic Habitat Restoration
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Total cost: $750,000

This will be a 5-acre wetland restoration project at our spring-fed Hallam Lake. We will enhance the existing habitat and also diversity it, reintroducing native species. We also will repair the lake’s leaky levee and old malfunctioning outflow structures. Overabundant cattails and thick chara have compromised some of the habitat in and around the lake. ACES will work with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to restore the cutthroat trout population at Hallam Lake while improving overall aquatic habitat.

Bio-blitz: Exhaustive Inventory of Species at Hallam Lake
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Total cost: $75,000

Work with the Colorado National Heritage program to conduct a Bioblitz (intensive biological inventory) of the Hallam Lake nature preserve. This work will be leveraged as an educational tool as well as important information for planned wetland restoration at Hallam Lake. This project includes an illustrated species inventory book.

Regional Forest Health Restoration
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Total cost: $250,000

Address climate change education by providing the latest science-based information to the public regarding the state of our forests and ecosystem health through sharing data.

  • Prescribed burns, vegetation treatments, insect and disease mitigation are all ways to invigorate forests
  • Measure and track changes to share forest ecosystem health information with Colorado communities
  • Expand ACES’ Forest Health Index website statewide and create replica State of the Forest Reports for statewide watersheds to promote policy change

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Community Building


Protection & Restoration