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ACES is Training the Conservationists of Tomorrow in Aspen

By Tess Strokes | May 30, 2019 | Lifestyle

Founded by Elizabeth Paepcke in 1968, ACES remains the leading conservation education force in Aspen, with an army of young naturalists ready and willing to show you their world.


Over the course of th summer, ACES naturalists use storytelling to explain a range of subjects, inspiring connection to nature for more than 40,000 locals and visitors.

Naturalists at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies do much more than identify plants and animal tracks—they connect humans to nature, inspire attitude change and foster meaningful interactions with the natural world.

For the last 41 of its 50 years, the nonprofit environmental science education organization has lured around 20 recent college graduates per year to Aspen to prepare for careers in the field. ACES naturalists communicate their passion to more than 40,000 locals and visitors annually through lessons about ecosystem interconnectedness, impact and environmental ethics on summer hikes or during winter snowshoe and ski tours.

As graduates of renowned universities and research institutes, these young adults bring a wealth of knowledge and fresh approach to ecological literacy. Hundreds of Naturalist Program alums have gone on to careers in conservation as scientists, teachers, land managers, policy makers, nonprofit administrators and sustainability experts around the country, demonstrating what Elizabeth Paepcke planted in Aspen 50 years ago is bearing fruit today.

Photography by: Photo by Olive and West Photography