Environmental Education, Cultivating Change
Explore possibilities in the environmental field through training, hands-on teaching experience, and outdoor adventure and stewardship opportunities. The Greenway River Ranger Program helps high schoolers develop leadership, strong communication, and critical thinking skills that will serve as powerful tools for the future.
There are two components to the River Ranger program—a school-year internship that can lead to a paid summer employment program at SPREE Summer Camp. Students who participate in both the internship and summer employment can apply for the Joe Shoemaker Memorial Scholarship, an annual college scholarship.
Get Smart: Environmental Education
Research shows that students engaged in environmental education see academic benefits. River Rangers gain confidence and become more comfortable being outside, including mental health benefits. Summer River Rangers at SPREE Camp participate in weekly environmental education workshops to increase proficiency and awareness. Throughout these workshops, River Rangers build a professional environmental education portfolio to showcase all they have learned. Most importantly, River Rangers gain first hand experience as environmental educators teaching elementary students at camp and on field trips.
Build Career Skills
Participants practice skills relevant for any future career paths, including public speaking, communication, time management and organization, as well as gaining confidence in the workplace. Greenway River Rangers also learn about a range of environmental topics from experts in the field. Guest speakers from organizations like Trout Unlimited, Denver Water, the Butterfly Pavilion, and Denver Parks and Recreation visit SPREE Summer Camp to share knowledge and discuss career opportunities in environmental fields.
Learn Through Service
River Rangers gain relevant experience through hands-on projects that help our urban environment. This includes local projects like park trash pick ups and in-stream trash removal. River Rangers also take an all-expenses paid trip to one of The Nature Conservancy’s preserves and participate in trail building stewardship projects in a wildlife corridor along the Poudre River.
River Rangers Blog Posts
Get to know more about with River Rangers is all about by reading past participants’ and interns’ experiences. Learn about our trainings, time at SPREE Camp, and stewardship opportunities. You’ll be inspired by high school and college students whose lives have been changed through the River Rangers program. It’s all on Greenway’s blog.
- My Summer as a River Ranger- by Hailey M.
- Spring River Rangers Started!
- 2020 River Ranger Experience
- River Rangers – Stand Up Paddle Boarding
- Summer River Ranger – Tori
High school and college students in Denver can apply for a paid position working at SPREE Summer Camp. Summer River Rangers work at Greenway’s award-winning summer SPREE Summer Camps right in the heart of Denver. High School River Ranger employees gain teaching experience working with elementary students, attend paid professional development workshops, complete service projects in the Denver community, and gain valuable job-readiness skills.
Summer River Rangers participate in weekly career development workshops and learn the principles of environmental education, how to be an effective educator, and complete a portfolio to show their proficiency in the field. Portfolios are submitted to the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) at the end of the summer to become a Certified Apprentice Environmental Educator if proficiency is shown.
The position runs for the entire summer (12 weeks), is full-time hours, and includes two Greenway Leadership Corps events. In June, the River Ranger team goes whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River. In July, Rangers go trail building along the Poudre River. Time spent trail building will be paid time for River Rangers.
See open positions and apply to be a Summer River Ranger on our Employment page.
Partnership with Denver High Schools
The Greenway River Ranger position is open to high school and college students in the Denver area. Preference is given to students who attend KIPP Denver Collegiate High School and Manual High School because The Greenway Foundation has a partnership with these schools. Additionally, current and previous River Ranger Interns are invited to apply for paid River Ranger Summer Employment
The Greenway internship spans the academic school year and engages students from KIPP Denver Collegiate High School and Manual High School. River Rangers commit to two training days, four teaching days, and two Greenway Leadership Corps events throughout the school year.
River Rangers Interns train in environmental education theory, techniques, and best practices. They learn valuable communication and public speaking skills. As part of leadership and team building activities, River Rangers:
- Practice job interview skills and experience building a resume.
- Gain experience that can be applied to a portfolio for certification as an environmental educator through the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE).
- Become a vital part of the ongoing reclamation and stewardship efforts of The Greenway Foundation along Denver’s urban waterways.
The internship culminates in teaching small groups of elementary students on SPREE Excursions along the South Platte River with local youth.
If you are interested in having the River Ranger program at your Denver High School, please reach out to the Youth Programs Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone is welcome.
At the Greenway River Ranger Program, our mission is to provide opportunities and accessibility to environmental education for underserved communities and create an inclusive and equitable program for all.