The Buck Creek Campus of the Walking Mountains Science Center provides a home to this innovative nonprofit organization, which was founded in 1998 in the Vail Valley to promote relevant approaches to teaching science and educating students of all ages about the ecology of the natural world. In collaboration with Mithun, the campus was designed as a LEED-Platinum certified project, every building system, material, and design approach is used as a teaching tool to promote a paradigm shift in the local building community and a showcase for what is possible through sustainable design.
Examples of sustainable design solutions used are; straw bale walls, high performance glazing and super insulated wall and roof systems, solar orientation, solar collection (passive, photovoltaic and solar hot water active systems), daylight harvesting, living roofs, renewable and minimally processed and locally obtained finishes and natural ventilation.
The Campus is designed as a cluster of buildings and consists of a Discovery Hall (an interactive museum), a multi-purpose Field Studies Base Camp (available for lectures, gathering and as a dorm for overnight programs), a Meadow Learning Studio and Mountain Learning Studio, stand alone classroom buildings, and a Graduate Fellows Residence. The cluster plan allows the individual buildings to nestle into a site that contains numerous wetlands and sensitive environments with the lightest footprint possible and promotes an indoor-outdoor relationship at each use.