Explore Week Sends Eagle Rock Students in Search of Adventure and Learning

This trimester, the Eagle Rock student body finds itself in pursuit of several outdoor adventures among the half-dozen or so Explore Week course offerings. The wilderness-style courses include camping and canoeing along two popular rivers, as well as another adventure course that features instruction — and participation — in some serious mountain biking.

Also among courses underway this week are a pair of hands-on projects that promise to improve the appearance of our 640-acre campus, including a group-participation mural to grace a wall near our Human Performance Center, and a spruce up for a new on-campus construction project that’s nearing completion.

Here’s what’s going over this five-day period, both on and off campus:

Mountain biking — There’smuch more to mountain biking then just hopping on a saddle and pedaling up or downhill, as students in this Explore Week course are learning. Among the tasks our students are choosing to take on are how to assess an entire mountain bike for mechanical issues, how to adjust wheel bearings, how to change a tube, and how to adjust shifting and brakes for optimal performance on the trail. In addition, students have been spending time each day riding bikes, with longer rides facing them at the end of the week.

The instructor for this course is Devin Konecny, who has a 15-year background in experimental plasma physics, computer diagnostics, machining, and Continue reading…

It’s #GivingTuesday and Eagle Rock is the Perfect Recipient for Your Gift

The leftovers have been warmed up — and warmed up again — and there’s finally room in the refrigerator for regular groceries. Nearly everybody’s back at school or work following the Thanksgiving holidays. Black Friday is a memory, Cyber Monday wrapped up a few hours ago and we’re now well into Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday 2018 Logo

What is Giving Tuesday? Often touted as #GivingTuesday for those aficionados of hashtags, this 24-hour period — celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving — is designated as an international day of charitable giving at exactly the time many families and corporations are focusing on their end-of-year donations. Donors often turn to their own communities for such offerings, and for those supporters, friends and alumni of Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center, we can think of no group that would be more grateful than our own Graduate Higher Education Fund recipients.

Back in the 1997 when our school was still in its infancy, we realized that while our new graduates had accomplished great feats in their personal growth, maturity and education, they were often faced with insurmountable financial needs — especially when it came to Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Robert Burkhardt Garners Prestigious Education Award

Robert Burkhardt, Eagle Rock’s founding head of school, recently received the coveted Aldo Leopold Award from The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey.

The Lawrenceville Medal/Aldo Leopold Award is the highest honor granted by this coed independent college prep boarding school for students in grades 9 through 12. Located on 700 acres in the historic Lawrenceville section of Lawrence Township, NJ, the school has more than 800 students from 34 states and 40 countries, and a teacher population of 115 for a 7.2:1 student-teacher ratio.

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The Lawrenceville Medal has been awarded each year since 1991 and its prestigious recipients have included Nobel Laureates, philanthropists, jurists, physicians, Pulitzer Prize winners, community leaders, a rock and roll star, the CEO of the Walt Disney Company, the president of Honduras, and a Saudi prince.

The award is dedicated to the memory of Aldo Leopold, a distinguished environmentalist and author, and it is bestowed on a former Lawrenceville alumnus who has demonstrated “brilliant, lifelong work in a significant field of endeavor.”

That description fits perfectly with the accomplishments of our own Robert Burkhardt — an educator who has provided thousands of Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Public Allies Fellows — Where Are They Now? (Part 1)

Welcome to what will be the first of many updates about what’s happening in the lives of educators who participated in the yearlong Public Allies fellowship program here at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colorado. What we intend to offer with posts such as these is a glimpse into the lives of those who went on to forge their careers in progressive education post-Eagle Rock.

But first, a short explanation of what the Public Allies program is all about. It’s a national movement based on the notion that everybody leads and everyone can make a difference. That difference can be as small as helping someone believe in themselves, to step up and make change.

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Public Allies has as its mission the advancement of new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation. The Public Allies signature AmeriCorps Ally Program identifies diverse young adults and prepares them for leadership through paid full-time nonprofit apprenticeships and rigorous leadership training.

And how has that worked out so far? In the past 23 years, more than 6,000 Allies have completed the program with more than 80 percent of them continuing careers in nonprofit and public service. Meanwhile, many of this nation’s nonprofits are struggling to recruit and retain the diverse talent they need to address our most pressing community challenges. The Millennial generation — the largest and most diverse generation in history — is energized to work for change, but doesn’t know how to get started.

That’s where Public Allies comes in. With the edict that “everyone leads,” participants create pathways for young people to engage in their communities, and help communities and organizations tap the energy, passion, and perspectives of a new generation. Public Allies is the leadership and human capital solution our diverse communities need.

That brings us where we are today… happy to tell you about two former Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellows and their current pursuits. First up, Anna McCanse Nelson: Continue reading…

Meet The Eagle Rock Grad Who Sailed 27,000 Miles Solo

Matt Rutherford graduated from Eagle Rock way back in August of 2001 (ER 24 as we call it around here), and according to Robert Burkhardt, our founding head of school, this former student is being quite productive these days.

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It’s been a bunch of busy years for Rutherford, who prior to leaving Eagle Rock articulated three distinct and immediate goals for himself during his final POLs (Presentations of Learning):

  1. Ride a mountain bike across Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.
  2. Sail alone across an ocean.
  3. Start and run a not-for-profit organization focused on addressing important environmental issues.

Well, after leaving Eagle Rock, Rutherford did ride his mountain bike across those three Southeast Asian countries. He did sail across an ocean (in fact, he became the first person in history to complete a nonstop, single-handed voyage circumnavigating North and South America; that’s 309 days and 27,077 miles on the ocean without stepping ashore even briefly to stretch his legs). And he did start a not-for-profit organization that’s deeply focused on positively impacting the environment — the Ocean Research Project aims to identify new, lower-cost methods of conducting ocean-based research.

Burkhardt said he tried to get in touch with Rutherford last month to find out what this grad was up to these days, and the former student’s voicemail recording announced he wasn’t taking messages. It suggested callers ring back after Feb. 1.

By Feb. 3, Rutherford’s voicemail box was Continue reading…