Willowtail Springs Nature Preserve and Education Center

Integrating the Arts and Natural Sciences

Integrating the Arts and Ecology

Willowtail Springs Nature Preserve and Education Center is a non-profit residency in the Arts and Ecology.

We provide and protect into perpetuity a place where practitioners can pursue and manifest their vision through exploration, reflection, research and collaboration.

Thank you for all of your support and generosity over the years. 2020 has brought challenges, pause, opportunity, and positive developments. We hope you will consider supporting Willowtail Springs’ transition into the coming year and our new perspectives with an end-of-year gift so we are able to continue providing valuable growth, creativity and learning experiences to our community, for those in the arts, children, guests, scientists, and others.

We have been incredibly fortunate in 2020 despite the universal trauma felt by all of us during the Covid-19 pandemic. After closing down all cabin rentals, residencies, and classes for two months at the beginning of the year, we cautiously reopened in mid-May through the implementation of rigid safety precautions suggested in the Colorado Public Health Department guidelines.

We were amazed at the tremendous interest in cabin rental requests by the time we re-opened. We were heartened by our ability to offer a safe, relaxing retreat, and the seclusion that our guests sought during this unprecedented time in the world. Consequently, the solid bookings we enjoyed since then resulted in rental revenues that kept us afloat while many other not-for-profit organizations could not. Nonetheless, we tightened our belts where we could while offering eight one week-long scholarship and partial scholarship residencies, full cabin rentals from mid-May until the end of December, and, happily retaining all of our staff at the same time.

Our work enabled us to attract three new experienced, talented, and engaged board members. We look forward to our work with them, and our growing team of advisors and volunteers as we move forward with our Long Term Strategic Plan.

The pandemic has offered us time for deep reflection on our present and future procedures. We have closely examined our program offerings, operational goals, and fundraising needs. Simultaneously, much of the world population had time at home to consider and focus on news about social inequities as well as severe climate issues: air pollution, waste management, air quality improvements, wildfires, wildlife, global migration, and basic sustainability.

This timely reflection offered an opportunity to reinforce relationships between human beings and natural environments. It was also a time to plan for programs that support the growing public awareness of environmental and ecological issues while we move toward an exit from the threat of the pandemic and enter a new phase of human consciousness on the planet. We have all questioned places of safety in our daily lives, what experiences we miss and what we value that is absent, beautiful, or beyond our reach. The living, human relationship to the environment and sciences has accrued even more value during the past nine months.

In 2021 Willowtail will focus programs and residencies around these relational topics as we continue to develop our holistic educational approach. The forest at Willowtail is one of our primary assets and we will work this year to share it with a wider range of our community members. The distinctive age of our many ancient trees, some of them hundreds of years old, gives us a cultural platform for funding and presenting programs that integrate the sciences and the arts with the forest at Willowtail while valuing results that can sustain the center and the property.

There is so much more to Willowtail than what words can convey.  Because this land has been under the careful hands and eyes of a visual artist, the buildings and gardens convey a much deeper significance and essence than the excellent maintenance and stewardship of these ecosystems.  It is a haven of reflection – be it for a personal journey of growth or scientific curiosity, this site calls to joy of exploration”

Barbara J Shaw, Ph.D
-CSUE Western Regional STEM Specialist

We hope you will consider launching Willowtail Spring into 2021 with an end-of-year gift. Your support will ensure we are able to wholeheartedly meet our mission during these challenging times.


Willowtail Springs’ Staff and Board of Directors



“Enriching our community by building a creative network of practitioners in the arts through inspiration and place.”


Congratulations to three artists who were awarded by New Face Productions Scholarship at Willowtail.

📷  by Jacob Brooks

Annie Brooks (La Plata Resident)

Sponsored by New Face Productions

📷  by Trudy Bequette

Cindy Coleman (La Plata Resident)
Sponsored by New Face Productions

Rosie Carter (Montezuma Resident)
Sponsored by New Face Productions and Willowtail


“This is a place that is timeless. The only voice you hear is the stillness and quiet, the present. Inspired by the wilderness and the creatures that inhabit it, the sounds of the breeze and the view of the setting sun. In nature we gain deeper understanding of ourselves and our place on this earth. This knowing comes from the land, is apparent to almost anyone who arrives. It’s immediate and almost magical. Only poetry can best describe what is felt in this place. To some it may feel sacred, to others it’s a connection lost. There is a growing list of retreats and residencies available in this graceful setting”. 

~Margy Dudley, artist and photographer

Land Acknowledgment

“Willowtail Springs is located on Diné Bí Kéyah, traditional Navajo land, near the escarpment of the northern sacred mountain, Dibé Ntsaa. It is also part of the open range of the Ute people, now living on the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Tribal Allotment reservations to the southwest and southeast. Additionally, Mesa Verde and the surrounding lands in Montezuma County and the Four Corners Region were occupied by the Ancestral Puebloan People a thousand years ago. We honor the past, present, and future indigenous people residing in this region and recognize them as long standing stewards of this land, amplifying our work by their historical presence and their living contributions to land preservation efforts across this region.”