Data is not objective. Power and perspective matter, a lot.

Heather Krause, founder of We All Count, presents a concrete approach to embedding equity in data projects that is immediately relevant to Metro DNA’s Equity Principle + Commitment concerning the Collection, Use, and Dissemination of Data.

This post is a summary of a presentation delivered to the GEO (Grantmakers for Effective Organizations) Community earlier this year and used as part of a program evaluation course in the Nonprofit Pathway Certificate program at Red Rocks Community College. You can also follow Heather Krause on Twitter @datassist.

What we have said on the topic

While data is critical to the work of Metro DNA, we acknowledge that historically the collection of data has not always benefitted, and has sometimes harmed, those from whom the data was collected. 

Recognizing the complex history of the use and collection of data and information within marginalized communities, Metro DNA commits to responsible and ethical use of all data and information gathered for collaborative projects. The data will be used to increase equitable access and participation in nature and the outdoors and collected in ways that uplift people with marginalized identities.

What Heather has to say, based on her education and experience

Embedding equity and rooting out bias in data projects should and very much can be a part of each step in any program or project evaluation, quantitative research project, or exploration of data.


Each project begins with funding. The collection, use, and dissemination of data is expensive and there are lots of opportunities for power to influence results. Developing a funding web can help clarify who is giving and receiving money, influence (decision making power), and data with respect to a particular project. In the example below, what is missing?

In this, quite common, model of data collection there is no citizen compensation or power, even though these individuals are the lifeblood of the project; they are providing the data. Corrective measures could include paying people for their time and creating opportunities for shared ownership of the data and its interpretation and use.  


Next, consider motivation. Why are you doing the project in the first place? The definition and framing of any project create opportunities to consciously and unconsciously embed power and perspectives. A clearly stated motivation statement can create benefits for both the providers and users of data.

The motivation statement can and should relate to and contribute to a program, project, or organization’s theory of change and logic model. In other words, it should relate to what work is being done, for whom, why, and with what assumptions and understanding underpinning the actions being taken and evaluated for their effectiveness.

Project Design

Project design then proceeds in a three-step process. This process moves us from “why” to “how” we’re approaching a data project.

Envisioning the project without resource limitations and from multiple cultural perspectives, what Heather calls the “Blue Sky” phase can lead to more innovative solutions.

A great example is Native Land Digital, a project that “strives to create and foster conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations.” Their map and Territory Acknowledgement Guide offers up an alternative frame for asking and answering geographically explicit questions using pre-colonial geographic boundaries defined from a multitude of cultural perspectives. We have the capacity – right now – to explore data through more than just the lens of the nation, state, county, city, and census tract if we choose to do so.

Next, how we define our research questions should be considered. Where are we placing the responsibility for change? How else could this research question be phrased?

If the data project asks this question, a student’s response may be healthy, but the environment in which they are living may still not be healthy (e.g., bullying is still rampant). Likewise, we often look at “equity” using an image like this. How else could we envision both the current reality and desired future?

What if we depict the individuals as equal (the same size) and the system as unequal?

Then, not only is our illustration of the situation closer to reality, the differences and barriers are institutional and structural as opposed to individual…

… and the change we seek to affect is systemic rather than individual. Again, neither approach is “wrong”, but the framing of the project and the phrasing of the research question or questions has a fundamental impact on the process and results.

Third, and only once you know what you want to ask and why, you design methodologies to collect and analyze the data. Often randomized control trials (RCTs) are considered the “gold standard” for quantitative research, but the standard for what and for whom? RCTs give an unbiased estimate of the average treatment effect (intervention) on a study population. RCTs do not show (in fact, they hide) within-population differences.

This example, from a data project evaluating the effectiveness of a program in rural Bangladesh to increase women’s income, shows that the same data looked at one way show overall success, but when looked at another way, shows significant differences in results for different ethnic groups. With a more detailed methodology, the data show that the program intervention tripled income inequality gap in this community.

Data Collection & Sourcing

Next, comes data collection and sourcing. Are you collecting new or using existing data? If using existing data, do you know who has measured it and how they have define social constructs (demographics like gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, etc.) or other categories into which you will group data? Finding or creating detailed Data Biographies allows us to compare “apples to apples” across datasets and populations. Without documentation and understanding of when, about what, for whom, why, how, and where data were collected, we can draw spurious and potentially damaging or misleading conclusions.


Our statistical choices are deeply embedded with power dynamics and world views that directly influence results. You don’t need to be a statistician to embed equity into your work, but you do need to understand and think about:

Denominators. Who is the population being engaged and studied? Whose perspective or point of view is being considered? For example, if you are interested in determining the average size of a classroom, are you asking teachers or students?

The answer depends on who is being asked the question. The answer is mathematically objective, but how the question is asked is completely subjective.

Elements of a Model. What variables are being considered? How are they being analyzed independently and/or cumulatively? For example, if you are interested in who is most likely to have a low birthweight baby, how you consider ethnicity, community and state of residence, individual characteristics, and other variables of concern matters.

Again, there is no one right answer, but what variables the analyst choses to include and ignore influences the results.


Now it’s time to interpret your results. Interpretation is not the same as analysis and it is not the same as communication. What do your results mean? What might you do with your results? Your goals and your perspective influence how you see data and how you use data, making it easy to overstate or understate your case. For example, in a study looking at vulnerability to mental health challenges, interpreting the data from one perspective would lean one to focus resources on students who are black (racial equity lens), or male (gender equity lens), or not poor (economic equity lens). Interpreting the data looking across racial, gender, and economic perspectives, however, yields a different conclusion and leads to different interventions on behalf of the most vulnerable population in this particular sample: poor, white males.

Also, data results are generally NOT generalizable or transferrable from one community or study population to another. This is one important driver behind the Denver Urban Field Station; urban social-ecological studies that have occurred on the East and West coasts do not tend to conform to ecological and social patterns and processes that characterize Denver, Metro Denver, and the Intermountain West.  

Communication & Distribution.

Finally, you are ready to share your results and conclusions! There are still choices you can make that will support or further undermine equity.

For example, data visualization “best practices” are not culturally universal; they are based on white, educated, western perspectives and designed to “speak to” individuals who have learned to see and interpret information, shapes, and color in specific ways. It is important to know and work with your audience in order to deliver information that is relevant to them in a way that is understandable to them.

It is equally, if not more, important to check your assumptions and interpretations at this stage. Communicating incompletely or inaccurately what a data project does and does not say, conclude, or mean can have life and death implications for those who may be the target of policy or practice interventions based on the data.

For example, when ProPublic took a closer look at the COMPAS recidivism algorithm, they found that while COMPAS claimed to offer a prediction of how likely an individual is to reoffend, what it really predicts is how likely it is that an individual might come in contact with the police again, be arrested again, and not have the bail money for release. This is a chilling example of incomplete, inaccurate, and racially biased data interpretation, communication, and use.

In conclusion

I certainly have a better understanding of Metro DNA’s Equity Principle + Commitment concerning the Collection, Use, and Dissemination of Data. I hope you do to. Thank you for joining us in exploring how these concepts can guide our approach to the Regional Conservation Assessment and deepen our commitment to equity in pursuit of a Regional Vision for People + Nature.

OF/BY/FOR ALL — Harnessing the pandemic as a portal to a more inclusive future

In place their annual conference this fall, the Colorado Open Space Alliance hosted a FREE interactive webinar with keynote speaker Nina Simon, Executive Director of OF/BY/FOR ALL, a nonprofit founded to make civic and cultural organizations of, by, and for everyone.

As we all live through and respond to the complex challenges of this year, we are revisiting how we lead, create, fund raise, program, and engage with audiences. If the pandemic is a portal (as Arundhati Roy puts it), where do we hope it will lead us? How can we reimagine and reinvent our organizations to be more relevant and inclusive?

In this interactive webinar, Nina Simon shared concrete and future-focused strategies to help teams re-vision their organizations and relationships with communities.

You can access the recorded webinar here.

This webinar was sponsored by: Colorado Lottery, Great Outdoors Colorado, N.E.S. Inc., Phil Barber, P.C., Bayer Vegetation Management, Felsburg Holt and Ullevig, Logan Simpson Design, City of Boulder OSMP, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas, Larimer County, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Boulder County Parks and Open Space, City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, City of Greeley, City of Westminster and Arapahoe County Open Space.

Jes’ hopes for MDNA Equity Principles and Commitments

According to Jes, in the work of equity, the wordsmithing of principles isn’t the hard part. For them, the “implementation is the hard part” as questions of accountability, righting wrongs, and what to do when Metro DNA messes up (because we will!) arise. What Jes would love to see is “an across-the-board… continuing” of “deeper understanding of what… equity and justice and inclusion and diversity mean,” which is ongoing and “lifelong work.” 

What would a continuation of deeper understanding look like for Metro DNA? Jes pointed to a few ways to keep up the learning about and commitment to equity: putting time and resources into continuing internal learning opportunities, using language that’s mindful of equity in all communications Metro DNA puts out, choosing keynote speakers and vendors that Metro DNA hosts with an equity lens, and showing up to advocate for equity.

Equity work: “You have to have a team of people to do it well… and it’s very individual.” (Jes, cityWILD)

Beyond implementing practices that embody Metro DNA’s commitment to equity, according to Jes, each Metro DNA Equity Committee member has to continuously do the intensely individual work of “soul-searching… learning… mak(ing) mistakes… figur(ing) out how to recover from those mistakes,” and “work(ing) on… unconscious bias.”

Working towards more equitable practices in the work of Metro DNA is, like Jes said, “really deep, emotional work, and it’s exhausting a variety of ways, to constantly have these really painful conversations.” But Metro DNA is ready to embrace the exhaustion and emotions, to inevitably make mistakes and learn from them, to commit to the ongoing learning process and to the individual self-reflection necessary to “aspire to recognize, celebrate, enhance, and protect the diversity of environments, communities, and people comprising the Metro Denver Area” (Metro DNA Equity Principles and Commitments). 

Another huge thank you to Jes Rau at cityWILD for taking time to speak with Metro DNA and for the time you put into our Equity Committee on a regular basis! The passion you have for equity, diversity, and inclusion work shows and is infectious. 

Informed voters are voters for people + nature

Metro DNA joined Mile High Connects last Thursday to host a dialog on ballot measures affecting equitable and affordable access to nature and housing in Colorado, Adams County, and Denver.

Chris Stiffler from the Colorado Fiscal Institute unpacked the Gallagher Amendment and the TABOR Amendment, which affect local property taxes, public school investments, and state and local governments’ ability to raise funds for public programs.

The Gallagher Amendment Repeal and Property Tax Assessment Rates Measure (Amendment B) would repeal the Gallagher Amendment of 1982, which fixed residential and business property tax rates at 45% residential and 55% business [1]. 

The Voter Approval of Certain New Enterprises (Proposition 117) would require a statewide vote on new state enterprises generating over $100 million in revenue within the first five years of operation. Enterprises were authorized by the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) as independent entities that administer fee-based programs for specific goods and services [1].

Their are organized efforts both for and against these ballot measures. The Colorado Fiscal Institute’s analysis is included in the Colorado Ballot Information Booklet (Blue Book) [2].

Conor Hall front the Trust for Public Land discussed two ballot measures in Adams County affecting open space (1A) and infrastructure (1B) investments supported by long-standing tax assessments. One of Colorado’s fastest growing counties, the population of Adams County is expected to surpass that of Denver within 30 years.

Passed by Adams County voters multiple times, both of these measures will continue programs that have had proven, tangible results [3]. There is no registered opposition to either Denver 2A or Adams County 1A and 1B.

Sebastian Andrews with the Denver Streets Partnership shared details of Denver’s Ballot Measure 2A, which would fund the city’s climate action. The measure, and Denver’s approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation, was informed by work in other cities (like Houston, TX) and the Climate Action Task Force.

Supporters of the measure see this as precedent-setting local climate action. Arguments against focus on the potential for regressive and inequitable impacts of the tax on communities that are already struggling financially and the need for even more aggressive climate action [4].

To view the recorded web meeting, visit this link and enter passcode: i=0^Zt!V

Resources cited:

Metro DNA and Mile High Connects do not endorse any ballot measures or candidates. Our role is sharing information and empowering engagement.

Health + Nature: Explore the Rx for PRONTOS Resource List

The Rx for PRONTOS workshop attendees compiled a long list of parks prescription centered resources – programs and sources that provide great chances for collaboration and that we here at Metro DNA highly recommend checking out. The first list you’ll find in the Appendix of the Rx for PRONTOS Full Report is a list of national resources, including advocacy and education infographics and learning tools for connecting children to nature (Children and Nature Network), the websites of non-profits and information hubs like Park Rx America, and governmental sources like the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to name a few.

If you’re a Coloradan, there are also place-based resources to become familiar with. Be sure to explore the Colorado Black Health Collaborative, that works to achieve health equity in Colorado. Looking for a place to walk or hike in Denver? Denver by Foot can help you locate a stroll. If you’re interested in reducing stigma surrounding mental health, you may be interested in checking out the Mind Shine Foundation or participating in their Annual Brain Run 5K and Mental Health Expo in Denver.

More good news – Colorado is home to tons of parks prescription type programming, and the Rx for PRONTOS Report sports a long list of program descriptions and events. A few “at a glance” examples include CityWILD, which provides programming to young people in Denver that “engage(s) youth in experiential learning opportunities that boldly address issues of inequity, particularly in the areas of access to the outdoors and economic disparity,” and CancerFit, which supports high quality of life in cancer survivors who exercise.

There are also events listed, like Safe Summer Kick Off on Get Outdoors Day (SSKO GO Day), hosted by Metro DNA and our partner SouthWest Denver Coalition. SSKO GO Day is a gathering at Garfield Lake Park that promotes community building and Coloradans getting outdoors during the summer! Due to a commitment to keeping folks safe during COVID-19, an in-person gathering didn’t happen this summer, but you can still check out the Safe Summer Kick Off on Get Outdoors Day webpage for resources to help and connect with your community.

To check out more resources and opportunities to get involved in parks prescription programming in Colorado, scroll to page 16 of the Rx for PRONTOS Report to explore futher!

Black Lives Matter. What are some actions you can take to stop police brutality and work to end systemic racism?

The internet is full of so many useful suggestions on what folks can do to avoid remaining silent or complicit in the face of ongoing, systemic police brutality and violence directed at black bodies. Here is a short list of resources that we here at Metro DNA believe to be helpful jumping-off points for practicing thoughtful allyship, protesting safely, and taking action to combat police brutality and systemic racism. Keep in mind that this list is by no means comprehensive and that anti-racist actions of many kinds matter.

Artist, writer, and workshop facilitator Giselle Buchanan’s Instagram post, “I Want To Be An Ally But I Don’t Know What To Do: A Resource Guide,” not only provides helpful suggestions for practicing allyship, it’s a beautiful piece of art! Buchanan’s website, where you can find her poetry, artwork, and writings, also provides links to resources like the “Ultimate List of of Black Farms and Food Gardens” across the United States, the “Justice for Floyd Petition” that you can sign online, and a list of “Bail Funds Across the States,” among others.

Image credit: Giselle Buchanan, Justice for Elijah McClain

You can find more links she provides and can access her Instagram Resource Guide to learn more and get involved. To donate to Buchanan for the labor of her creation and cultivation of resources, click here. For information surrounding the importance of donating to Bail Funds, check out this article from The Atlantic: “Why It Matters That So Many People Are Donating to Bail Funds.”

How you spend your money is political (Buchanan). 303 Magazine published a list of over three hundred and twenty-five black owned businesses in and around Denver to support. In the words of Brittany Werges at 303 Magazine: “As the protests against police brutality continue on, it’s more important than ever to look at ways Denver can support its black community” (Werges).

Whittier Cafe proudly accepts its nickname “The activists’ coffee shop” and actively supports its community and neighbors.

For protesters, there are steps you can take to know your rights and to help ensure your safety. This CNN article “If you’re planning to take part in protests, know your rights. Read this.” by Scottie Andrew that includes the perspectives of Emerson Sykes, staff attorney for the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, and Timothy Zick, Professor of Government and Citizenship at the College of William & Mary Law School, could be a helpful resource.

For those who are in a position to donate, a few organizations to consider supporting include: Black Lives Matter, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Colorado Freedom Fund, and the National Police Accountability Project.

Founded in 2018, Colorado Freedom Fund is a revolving fund that pays ransom (pays cash bail) for people unable to afford the cost of buying their own freedom.

Read up: Ibram X. Kendi, author, historian, professor, and leading antiracist voice, created an antiracist reading list. Kendi wrote: “To build a nation of equal opportunity for everyone, we need to dismantle this spurious legacy of our common upbringing. One of the best ways to do this is by reading books. Not books that reinforce old ideas about who we think we are, what we think America is, what we think racism is. Instead, we need to read books that are difficult or unorthodox, that don’t go down easily. Books that force us to confront our self-serving beliefs and make us aware that ‘I’m not racist’ is a slogan of denial” (Kendi).

As stated earlier, this post is brief, which means that we encourage you to do your own research in order to get educated and learn more about actions to take that aren’t mentioned here. We invite and encourage you to support the dialog and learning that will support our collective liberation.

It’s important to note that this post was written by a white woman. Author identity matters, so please take this into consideration when reading this post and when searching out other resources. While this post isn’t perfect, the author hoped to follow the advice of Giselle Buchanan to amplify and uplift black voices as an ally (Buchanan).

Taking action.

On Monday, we shared a statement “Black Lives Matter in a Thriving Region for People + Nature” with Metro DNA partners. In this reflection, we made a commitment to the following actions: 

  • Support and lift up our Black-led and Black-serving partners who work each day toward representation, equal opportunity, and youth development in the outdoors. Check out this emerging project – a Digital Green Book – by Crystal Egli (Colorado Parks & Wildlife and Inclusive Journeys) and Parker McMullen Bushman (Butterfly Pavilion and Ecoinclusive).
  • Complete anti-racism training as a Steering Committee and partner network through Summit for Action and other avenues, building on existing Metro DNA and partner commitments to equity and investments in learning and action. 
  • Make thoughtful changes within our organization that are necessary to live up to our equity principles and commitments (e.g., staff and leadership accountability, partnership structure and commitment, how events are planned and facilitated) and led by our POC (people of color) and LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) partners.  
  • Continue to facilitate dialog among Metro DNA partners and stakeholders around equitable access to nature, safety and representation in the outdoors, and breaking down barriers to the decision making power necessary to our achieving a thriving region for people + nature. This will take shape in our Stakeholder Convenings and other small group meetings.
  • Purposefully integrate diverse voices and ways of knowing into the Regional Conservation Assessment as we co-create a Regional Vision for People + Nature, ensuring that this data-driven exercise is inclusive and transparent, is not extractive, and is able to uplift people with marginalized identities.

We, the Metro DNA Steering Committee, will hold ourselves accountable to taking these actions, to learning, to listening, and to doing better. We invite you to join us, to share ideas and resources, to call us in with constructive criticism when needed, to be called in yourselves, and to take the actions available to you as individuals and organizations committed to conservation + equity in our region. 

What are these actions, you may ask? This article from The Avarna Group is an amazing starting point for our work as a network, your work as agencies and organizations, and our work as individuals in local and global community. In the words of Ava Holliday and Aparna Rajagopal, co-founders of The Avarna Group, (note to self: I finally understand the company’s name!) “this moment should change you and your organization permanently and for the better.”

And where are we starting? Here’s what we’ve been working on this week and are gearing up for next week:

  • I, and at least one other friend from the Summit for Action community, attended this online session on Tuesday night — Anti-Racist Allyship Foundations — hosted by Regan Byrd, a local and super-skilled Anti-Oppression Consultant. Working on a summary to share with partners… 
  • Our Regional Conservation Assessment core team met yesterday to discuss funding and project methodology, making a deeper and more integrated commitment to equity in how we move forward envisioning and implementing the project, convening leaders and decision makers, and engaging technical advisors.
  • I am attending this online session, part of the CPW Partners in the Outdoors virtual conference, later today — No More Volunteering as Tribute — featuring CJ Goulding, Manager of Community Leadership Development for the Children & Nature Network and Partner with The Avarna Group. Advance registration is required if you are also interested in attending and/or gaining access to the webinar recording. 
  • Several of us are attending this online session next Tuesday, June 30th — Equity Accountability Partnership: An Essential DEI Tool — also hosted by Regan Byrd Consulting. Check it out. We’ll feature a summary and discussion of next steps in our Friday High Five, scheduled for Thursday @ 12:30-1:30 pm, because weekends and holidays matter. 

In solidarity, 

Friday Factotum, 06/12/2020

There is so much great content out there right now, so many valuable trainings, so many necessary conversations. We can’t all be part of all of them all of the time. So we have started this dialog, the “Friday Factotum*” for now, because I’m a vocabulary nerd, to highlight some of the week’s lessons learned, share additional resources, and explore next steps. 

This Friday, June 12, 2020 five Metro DNA partners came together to talk about the Equitable Access to Nature webinar hosted by the Salazar Center for North American Conservation. This webinar highlighted the work of Benita Hussein, Director of The Trust for Public Land’s 10 Minute Walk program, and Dr. Scott Sampson, Executive Director and William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball Chair of the California Academy of Sciences. TPL is a Metro DNA partner and Chandi Aldena, Colorado Parks for People Project Manager, sits on our Steering Committee. Scott Sampson is a former leadership team member at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and thought leader behind the founding of Metro DNA. The California Academy of Sciences is behind the City Nature Challenge, which we have participated in for the past two years, engaging 406 observers and logging 6,211 observations of 970 different species of flora and fauna this spring alone!

Engaged in Friday’s dialog were Jo Burns, sole proprietor of Jo Burns Connects and Chief Collaboration Officer of the Colorado Public Health + Parks and Recreation Collaborative; Dr. Susan Sherrod, Ecologist with Biohabitats and instructor at the University of Colorado; Maggie Lea, Director of Programs for Mile High Connects; and Tracy Coppola, Colorado Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association. Some highlights from the webinar for us included:

  • Dr. Scott’s (yeah, the PBS Dinosaur Guy) shout out to a national audience of Environmental Learning for Kids and Thorne Nature Experience here in Colorado’s Front Range for their work connecting kids and families to nature.
  • Data on the relative safety of nature play structures compared to “traditional” plastic and metal playground equipment. 
  • The experiential value of curiosity for kids as they are exploring nature with adults and peer mentors.  
  • The scary fact this generation of kids might be the first to experience a shorter life span than their parents. 

We discussed a number of ideas, including: 

  • Our engagement, led by Mile High Connects, in the national SPARCC network and Equity and Results leaning cohorts. 
  • The work of community-based organizations like Montbello Walks, the Montbello Organizing Committee, and Southwest Denver Coalition engaged in related activities supporting healthy, active, outdoor lifestyles. 
  • A future Metro DNA partner dialog on equitable parks investment via Blue Print Denver and other local decision making frameworks.
  • The possibility of formal and/or informal research within our community on the health benefits of nature and how our partners and their networks are spending time outside. This research could be pursued in collaboration with the Denver Urban Field Station, which includes partners from multiple federal agencies and universities. 
  • Conversations around defunding the police and reimagining public safety, including the Denver Streets Partnership’s efforts to open local streets to pedestrians. See their recent email newsletter, a related Denver Post article, and additional context from the podcast “War on Cars”. Denver City Council members Kneich, Hinds, and Gilmore (not mentioned in the Denver Post article) have all expressed support for the concept, and it sounds like the discussion will be primarily focused on the 2021 budget and potentially reallocating some funding from the DPD to other City services.

Please have a look at this summary and the links to additional resources. We are hopeful this will become a valuable space for Metro DNA partners to get to know one another, share different perspectives, and dive into the issues they care about. 

In solidarity, 

Colorado Rx for PRONTOS Report: Prescription Programs for Nature

In November 2019, Metro DNA was part of the multi-sector team who led and reported on the Colorado Rx for PRONTOS (Colorado Prescriptions for Parks, Recreation, Outdoors, Nature, Trails, and Open Space) workshop: a convening of those invested in local parks, open space, healthcare, and the outdoors. All who gathered see the importance of nature’s ability to promote healthy bodies and minds. The workshop enabled the collection of information on the many prescription programs for parks, recreation, outdoors, nature, trails, and open space active and emerging across the state.

The approximately fifty participants discussed existing programs, dove into what’s working and explored potential challenges and opportunities for future collaboration, as well as potential next steps. These details have been provided in one, convenient location: The Colorado Rx for PRONTOS Report! Metro DNA is so excited to share information from the report that we’ve decided to break it up into a few blog posts, so keep your eyes out for future Rx for PRONTOS Report posts. For now, let’s explore what Prescription Programs for the outdoors are and why Metro DNA thinks that they’re important to Colorado communities.

In a quote that heads the Executive Summary of the Rx for PRONTOS report, Richard Louv posed getting out into nature as more than time off: “Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).” Louv’s reframing of the importance of getting into nature is the guiding idea behind prescription programs for nature: that getting outside provides manifold health benefits and could be recommended as a prescription by healthcare providers to combat health problems of many kinds. To Metro DNA, prescription programs provide an opportunity for growing Coloradan’s connection to the outdoors and for fostering healthy communities.

The Rx for PRONTOS workshop’s goal, to build a “community of practice among prescription programs in Colorado,” spurred questions that guided workshop conversations: “What would happen if we gathered as many people as we could in Colorado who are doing this work from multiple perspectives and asked them to talk to each other, share information, and brainstorm? What could we learn?” In the next post, we’ll dive into what was learned from the Rx for PRONTOS workshop! Stay tuned and read more in the full report.

@cottonwoodinstitute Thrival Kits Help CAP Students Stay Connected to the Natural World!

With schools transitioning to distance learning and students spending (understandably) less time outside, Cottonwood Institute has been faced with the tough question of how to make environmental education accessible and relevant in a time when we can’t do many of the things that normally make up a CAP Class.

Fortunately, their team has quite a few creative thinkers, and together we invented the “Thrival Kit,” a package containing everything CAP students need to build their connection to the natural world from home! Over the past few weeks, more than 50 students from New Vista High SchoolAngevine Middle SchoolCentaurus High School, and Aurora Expeditionary Learning (AXL) Academy have received their Thrival Kits in the mail. Inside they’ll find compasses, craft supplies, seeds and soil, and everything else they need to keep on thriving from home!

Read more…

We will never cease to be amazed by you!

CAP Instructor Erin Assembles Thrival Kits