Earning an Environmental Education: CMC Leadville & Steamboat Springs
by Sarah Duprey
After spending several years at Colorado Mountain College Leadville studying Outdoor Education and Environmental Studies, I’ve come to realize that college is more than going to class and getting it a degree. It is also about learning what your passions are, and finding creative ways to pursue those passions.
Maybe I was lucky in my time here at CMC, but I feel that my experience has been so much more than merely the next step after high-school on the average American trajectory. It has not only been a path to learning more about the world through academia, but also about self-discovery and self-knowledge which, I feel is equally, if not even more valuable. Although I had a general idea in my first semester that I wanted to pursue a career in environmentalism, it wasn’t until this past November that my interests and passions truly began to form into a concrete path.
What started off as a vague idea of “protecting the environment” has now taken on a more focused direction. Over the past two years at Colorado Mountain College Leadville I’ve studied Outdoor Education and environmental issues, chatted with with my professors— both in and out of the classroom—, read articles, studied books for my coursework, and participated in discussions on everything from environmental ethics to social justice. As I have grown in my academic knowledge, my interests have also expanded, adapted and progressed. I have found myself being drawn more and more into a career path focused on sustainable agriculture, food justice, and creating economically viable local food systems. These topics resonate deeply with my values, and opened up a previously unexplored career path which aligned with both my interests in environmentalism and my desire to contribute to the greater good in society.
In May, I will be graduating from Colorado Mountain College Leadville with a degree in Outdoor Education. Although I will miss Leadville dearly, come August, I will be transferring to Colorado Mountain College’s Steamboat campus to finish out my Environmental Studies degree while concurrently seeking my B.A. in Sustainability Studies with a focus on sustainable food systems.
I’m grateful for the knowledge I have gained in the outdoor program these past two years: learning everything from core backpacking skills, to sea kayaking and canyoneering… these experiences have truly been instrumental in my life. Now, I am ready to take my knowledge further, leveraging my love for the natural world, and applying it towards a degree in Sustainability Studies. These years in Leadville have been truly invaluable to me, not only for the people I have met, and connections I have made but also for the deeper self-knowledge I have gained which has helped me form my interests into a clear direction for my future.