Each June, ACES spends two weeks training 14 new Summer Naturalists. These enthusiastic college graduates spend the next two and a half months guiding hikes and providing educational outreach for both visitors and residents at iconic sites throughout the Aspen area. Following the summer season, many Naturalists are re-hired to work through the winter, providing them with an opportunity to continue growing as educators and leaders.
Training the environmental leaders of tomorrow
Through training, individual research, and guiding, Naturalists develop a deep knowledge of local ecology, environmental issues, human history, and the physical landscape. Over the course of the summer, Naturalists learn to use storytelling to explain a range of subjects, inspiring a connection to the Aspen area for over 41,000 locals and visitors in 2022.
Through this program, ACES Naturalists often develop greater understanding and passion for the subjects they are most interested in as they plot their own career paths. For more than 30 years, this ever-growing group of ACES alumni has gone out into the world affecting change. As scientists, teachers, land managers, policy makers, nonprofit administrators, and sustainability experts, Naturalists further ACES mission when they bring their knowledge, communication skills, and appreciation of the natural world to new communities.
Become a Naturalist
Hiring for Summer Naturalist begins in January each year with applications due February 15. Hiring for Winter Naturalist begins in mid-July. The majority of Winter Naturalist are hired from current Summer Naturalists.
Support the Naturalist Program
Your support will help train the next generation of environmental leaders. Naturalists connect visitors from around the world to local ecology. After graduating the Naturalist program, these ambitious young people go on to incredible careers and make global impact.