Our Mission – to add value to our community and regionWhat We Do

Supporting Arts & Humanities

Preserving Traditional Arts

Living with Our Natural Resources

Creating a 21st Century Community for Rural America

Thanks to Our Sponsors

What We Do

We recognize that our regional strengths are in who we are – what we do – and where we live. Technological advances – such as broadband – help community members reach out beyond our rural boundaries. But they also alter rural lifestyles. It is our goal to find the balance so that we do not lose what is most valued – our heritage of skills and crafts, our ties with t he land – but we take advantage of that which can strengthen our economic viability and hold on to our cultural heritage.

Supporting Arts & Humanities

We recognize the value of the arts in developing citizens who think creatively, knowing creative skills are critical for the 21st century workforce as well as quality of life.
The Foundation’s primary goals have been to act as a catalyst for life-long learning. We reach out to our citizens and our visitors with programs and activities that range from arts, folk arts, humanities and natural sciences.

Preserving Traditional Arts

Like settlers everywhere who moved into remote areas, Wyoming’s lifestyle always called for a measure of self-sufficiency. Men forged their own tools, shod their animals, made the gear to handle livestock. They hunted and fished for food. Women canned and dried foods, spun yarn, wove cloth and baskets, fashioned quilts and rugs. They made their children’s toys from wood and fabric scraps.
In many areas across the country, the knowledge of such skills is buried with two or three generations. But in Wyoming, it is still alive. There is a larger percentage of people in the population who still practice some artisan/craftsmen skill than in any other Western state.
Traditionally these skills were passed down naturally in the family or in the community. Today, many of these skills are in danger of being lost. We believe it is important that these skills be maintained – whether it is fashioning Native American beadwork, baking bread, braiding rugs, forging knives, tanning hides or weaving a horse cinch.
For this reason, we work closely with the Wyoming Arts Council and the Wyoming Folklife Coalition to sustain traditional folk skills in the region.

Living with Our Natural Resources

Wyoming is a vast state with more wildlife than people. The Big Horn Basin has more wildlife species than any other area of similar size on the continent. Its ecosystems range from high mountain terrain to lush forests to sagebrush desert – in the space of only a few miles. It is rich in underground minerals and fossils.
The Big Horn Basin bumps against Yellowstone National Park and extends east and south through the middle of the state. It is a bowl (basin), its sides being the foothills and peaks of several Rocky Mountain ranges. Its southern focal point is the Wind River Canyon, through which the Wind River (the lower portion of the Big Horn River) flows. Three miles north of that southern point is Hot Springs State Park, and the surrounding town of Thermopolis. The state park centers around unusual geological formations and mineral hot springs that are geologically related to the geysers and springs in Yellowstone. Because of the hot springs, the north-flowing Big Horn River is one of the few rivers in Wyoming that does not freeze over in winter. It serves as a year-round home for raptors – hawks and eagles – as well as water birds – ducks, geese and shorebirds — and a wintering ground for migrating species.

Here, where land is a significant resource, issues of land use and conservation are major concerns:

  • How do we balance wildlife, agriculture and outdoor recreation?
  • How do we manage the need for energy resources and not disrupt our ecosystems?
  • In an area where two-thirds of all land belongs to federal or state entities, how do we manage and preserve those public lands for the good of all — our visitors as well as our residents whose livelihoods are entwined with them?
  • How do we maintain our rural identity and still take part in the 21st century global economy?

These are issues that concern us because the land is integral to our character and lives. In our region, the issue of endangered species is not theoretical — it affects the welfare of the wildlife, our livestock, our abilities to farm and ranch. Regional long-term drought is not a blip on a chart; it is a reality that has broken many family farms and ranches. Other issues — people seeking more opportunities for outdoor recreation – more part-time residences — more need for more energy sources – all these are part of our daily concerns and discussions.
For that reason, Hot Springs Greater Learning Foundation has supported the development of a Center in Hot Springs State Park that can act as an information resource to gather and provide information from educational, natural resources, regional, state and federal resources that will help the global community understand the importance of issues – not just to those of us who live here but to the world at large.

Creating a 21st Century Community for Rural America

Hot Springs Greater Learning Foundation has spearheaded the creation of a new multi-function facility in Hot Springs State Park. This educational facility is designed to preserve, document and support our natural and cultural heritage. It will provide on-site educational opportunities as well as economic opportunities through state-of-the-art technology. Increased tourism and technological outreach can mean more and better jobs for the region. Alliances and partnerships can provide opportunities for collaborations that create economic strength. Strong leadership, sustainable enterprises and sound financial practices are designed to ensure the Center’s sustainability. This project is designed as a model project for rural America.

For more information on the Big Horn Nature & Discovery Center, click here.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

Over the years, our efforts have been supported with the help of individual donors, private foundations, companies and government agencies. We respect the right of individuals to not be named on the internet. We would like to thank the following agencies for their support (alphabetical):

  • Big Horn Basin Resource Conservation & Development Council
  • Hot Springs County
  • Hot Springs County Recreation District
  • Hot Springs County School District #1
  • Hot Springs State Park
  • Thermopolis-Hot Springs Lodging Tax Board
  • Town of Thermopolis
  • Western Arts Federation (WESTAF)
  • Wyoming Arts Council
  • Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund
  • Wyoming Humanities Council
  • Wyoming Oldtime Fiddle Association and its regional affiliations
  • Wyoming State Parks & Cultural Resources