The Heart J Center in Loveland is a gem for parents, educators and adults who yearn to be outdoors. For the past 4 years founder and CEO Laura Armstrong has brought the joy of outdoor discovery and education to children and adults.
“Our idea is hands-on learning for all ages,” said Armstrong.
The Heart J Center is an add on to Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, just west of The Devil’s Backbone on Highway 34. Sitting on over 3,000 acres of land, the Heart J Center and Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch offer many ways to explore and enjoy the outdoors.
Whether you want to go hiking, look into geological wonders or explore the ecology of the river, there are endless opportunities for adventure. The Heart J Center is giving children and adults an environment to seek out and enjoy nature.
“Kids come off the bus and they have their phones out and they’re not really connected to anything,” said Armstrong. “Then halfway through the day they’re talking to each other, they’re talking to their teachers, they’re connected to nature, they’re connected to history and most importantly they start to connect to each other.”
The Heart J Center offers many programs, most of them focused on outdoor educational field trips. They offer nature hikes, photography, workshops, retreats, scientific research and more.
Armstrong says it's hard to believe that up until just a few months ago, when she hired education program manager Silas Binkley, she was running everything by herself.
“On any given day we can have 30 all the way up to 300 students here,” said Binkley.
The Heart J Center has partnered with many schools along the front range to offer outdoor education, but they plan on expanding and adding more to what they have to offer.
Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch plans to donate the ranch in its entirety to the Heart J Center in the coming years, to keep the land preserved for the nonprofit's educational offerings.
“What we’re after is ‘aha’ moments of sparking passion, igniting interest in things and getting people outside,” said Armstrong.
To find out more information about the Heart J Center, click here.
To volunteer, click here.