Mark your calendars! The 2021 Enchanted Forest is on September 25th!

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Our Mission

Inspiring a lifelong connection to nature and community through creative exploration of the outdoors

jilland Red
A Wild Idea

For elementary school educator Jill Dreves, nature has always been the best teacher. Jill grew up riding her horse in the mountains of northern Colorado, where she came to know every plant and insect that crossed her path. She learned firsthand the joy of letting her imagination run wild and the deep satisfaction of coming home tired and dirty after a long day of playing outdoors. As a teacher, she wanted her students to know it too. So, with $500 from her savings account, Jill founded Wild Bear in 1995.

Once a Wild Bear, Always a Wild Bear

That first summer, 25 children joined Jill in exploring the mountains around Nederland, Colorado. Today, Wild Bear engages thousands of people each year through its interim nature center, ecology programs, workshops, and events. In 2010, Wild Bear opened a free nature center in downtown Nederland. With hands-on exhibits and homegrown art, the nature center is a beloved destination for explorers of all ages. Wild Bear enjoys tens of thousands of visitors to the interim nature center every year.

Conserving Mud Lake

In the late 1990s, Wild Bear worked with the Town of Nederland and Boulder County to restore nearby Mud Lake. Once a dumping ground, Mud Lake is now one of the healthiest wetland habitats on the Front Range. As part of Wild Bear’s resounding success in the preservation process, we purchased five acres of adjacent land and received voter approval to build a nature center on the site.

Wild Bear’s revitalized property sits at the gateway to 3,200 acres of preserved land. The new nature centre will be a landmark for Nederland’s community and a beacon of environmental education for the area.

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The Interim Nature Center

In 2010, Wild Bear opened a free interim nature center in downtown Nederland. With hands-on exhibits and homegrown art, the nature center is a beloved destination for explorers of all ages.

Wild Bear by the Numbers (2020)

1,920

Summer Campers

45%

of Students Received Scholarships

3,543

Adult/Family Attendees

10

schools

11,983

Nature Center Visitors

153

Volunteers

3,990

Volunteer Hours

Our Sponsors

We are grateful to hundreds of individuals from across the US and to our supporters, including the following:

SCFD