Bluff Lake Nature Center is a nonprofit agency that owns and manages a unique urban wildlife refuge and outdoor classroom in Denver. The refuge is home to an abundance of animals and native plants which thrive in a variety of habitats. Bluff Lake is Denver’s largest open space managed as native habitat, and Denver’s only nonprofit nature center. We rely solely on community support.

Each year, nearly 4,000 area schoolchildren visit Bluff Lake as part of our mission to “share our unique urban natural area and inspire environmental connectedness and stewardship through experiential education, environmental engagement, and natural area preservation and restoration.”

Tens of thousands of visitors come to Bluff Lake each year to enjoy a few moments of solace and connection to nature or to take part in one of our scheduled programs or events. We hope you’ll visit us soon!


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David comes to Denver and Bluff Lake with over 30 years of experience in youth and nature programming, conservation, development and public policy work. Early in his career he had the great fortune to help design, build and operate a large youth camp. From there, he went on to become a Federal park ranger for nearly ten years. In this capacity he had the opportunity to help design and build campgrounds, day-use parks and wildlife areas. He also developed and operated environmental education programs, took an active role in the re-establishment of the American Bald Eagle in the SE US, and he even worked with paleontologists to recover a mosasaur, from the Cretaceous Period.

David completed a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration while working full time as a park ranger. If you ask David what brought him across the country and to Bluff Lake, he will quickly tell you, “This is my dream job. My entire life and career has been a pathway to Bluff Lake.”



Camp is almost full, but a few spots remain! Contact Maggie  to find out what weeks are still available.

Summer Camp


At Bluff Lake Summer Camp, campers ages 6-11 discover and play while learning about nature in Bluff Lake’s protected prairie and wetland habitats. “Bluff Lake Summer Camp has been the highlight of the past few summers for my family,” wrote Marnie, the mother of a 9 year old. “At camp, [my son] and his peers spend their entire days exploring the natural world. He comes home each day brimming with stories about what they saw and heard, things they built, and lessons for being good stewards of our world. The camp is the right balance of facilitated learning and unstructured work and play.”

Click here to learn more about our offerings.

Programs for Schools


Bluff Lake Nature Center offers a variety of education programs at our nature center, including one-day field trips, a multi-day self-designed project for classrooms known as Nature Exploration Teams (NETs), as well as customized environmental education programs. All of our programs are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards to ensure a rich authentic experience in content and practice.

We offer field trips for ECE to 6th Grades graders on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:30am-12:30pm. Field Trips cost $5 per student. (Schools with Title I status and/or 50% or more student enrollment in the free/reduced lunch program qualify for scholarships; these schools may also qualify for a reimbursement of school bus expenses.)

To learn more about our what we offer, check out our guided field trips, self-guided tours, and afterschool enrichment program.



Bluff Lake Nature Center is a nonprofit organization whose work every year includes:

  • teaching approximately 4,000 kids from area schools about natural wonders at Bluff Lake and their local ecosystems.
  • planting more than 300 native trees and shrubs.
  • hosting nearly 1,000 volunteers.
  • providing critical (and free) public events and programs.
  • working with our neighbors in Stapleton to develop clean up and restoration days along Westerly Creek and Sand Creek.

We cannot accomplish these things without support of the community. As Denver’s largest nonprofit-owned open space, we rely upon community gifts to continue offering our programs and restoration work. A donation to Bluff Lake Nature Center will go directly to support our environmental education and conservation efforts. Additionally, Bluff Lake has been designated as an Enterprise Zone Charity, meaning that donations over $100 will yield extra tax benefits above and beyond normal charitable donations, for both corporations and individuals. As always, we value your partnership and appreciate your support.