From the humble, plains country, all-American small town of Brush, Colorado (it’s about fifteen miles east of Fort Morgan) came the scientist and philosopher, Stacie Gilmore, hatching like Athena from the skull of Zeus. Though Stacie learned a lot in school, and gained so very much from her parents, her family and her neighbors in Brush, she was also a great student of nature. The sun and waters, the fields and the trees all gave Stacie incredible knowledge and insight into the restorative, peaceful and joyous quality of nature. Like Athena, Stacie’s quest for knowledge did not stop in the experiential. The world was beautiful, yes, but there is so much more to the mind that requires consideration and dedication. So, Stacie Gilmore, in love with nature, graduated Brush High School in ‘88 and went on to receive Bachelors in Science in Zoology and Chemistry from Metropolitan State College of Denver. Her love of nature now came with a powerful knowledge and understanding of nature. Stacie is a scientist, but she needs no lab coat, no dreary cave-like laboratory, no rows of beakers and Bunsen burners, no heads in jars and no weird chemicals.
A simple solution
All Stacie Gilmore needs to create experiments that get results are the great outdoors and a smile. Sure, she got a Masters Degree in Non-Profit Management. Yeah, she worked for the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. But the common quest is clear. Knowledge and nature combined create an incredible solution (both in the science sense and the problem-solving sense, right!?). Stacie Gilmore’s thirst for knowledge, her love of science and nature, is so great, so overflowing, powerful and bombastic that it demanded to break out. And in 1996, it sprung forth when Stacie and her husband Scott (a former DOW employee, fisherman, camping aficionado, and all-around inspiring guy) founded Environmental Learning for Kids, or ELK for short. Remember how Stacie doesn’t need a laboratory to be a scientist? That’s because some experiments need the open air to succeed. So, when Stacie and Scott started ELK, they combined the things they knew worked together already, science and nature, and they added one new ingredient: kids.
Years of success
Turns out, the swirling concoction needed kids all along. Without nature and science, kids don’t grow up knowing to love, appreciate and protect the environment. Without kids and nature, science doesn’t grow to make the world a healthier better place. Without science and kids, nature goes unappreciated and lives on, untouched, but unloved. All mixed together, with Stacie’s scientific method, and the crew at ELK, she created a potion that not only stands to lead Denver to a brighter future, but the environment too. Even more, the kids are the KEY ingredient. Stacie’s mission is to take kids who never get the science and nature experience out into the wilderness to open their eyes and minds. She takes the kids who are stuck in the city, the kids who haven’t camped, the kids whose idea of nature involves a hummingbird stopping by their feeder and nothing more. Stacie’s experiment isn’t an experiment anymore. It’s a proven successful creation that she’s been making with children and youth in Montbello and the Far North East neighborhoods of Denver for nearly two decades.
And like any good scientist, the results are of peak importance. Not only does the science, nature, kids combination make for happier youth who’ve experienced the wilderness for the first time, it also provides educational benefits. And it doesn't stop there. Stacie, Scott and ELK provide mentoring and raise scholarship funds, too. Stacie Gilmore, the scientist, is changing the future for kids and she’s done it all with nature, some love, and a little bit of experimentation.
Awards and Honors
- 2012 Far Northeast Denver Honoree - Growing the Dream