George Gardner was a friend, mentor and teacher for over 35 years to kids and adults of all ages. He earned a BA from University of Dayton, then an MA in Education from the University of Chicago. George went on to teach inner city kids from Chicago, later moving to his beloved mountains where he inspired his students in the Colorado communities of Boulder, Telluride, Naturita, and Ridgway. George also developed the Mountain Cultures Semester at Sterling College in Vermont. His myriad of skills and commitment to the potential of each student allowed him to teach a variety of subjects from elementary level through college.
George especially loved the “outdoor classroom.” He was a mountaineer and guide for the Exum Mountain Guides in Wyoming and the Colorado Outward Bound School. The Tabor Mountain School, George’s own experiential based program, utilized his local San Juan Mountains for his summer classroom. George’s enthusiasm for learning was contagious and he was a master at bringing out the best in his students. Kids felt comfortable trying new experiences, encouraged by his ego-less and loving approach to all things. Most importantly he believed that students “learned by doing.” He taught kids teamwork and interpersonal skills that carried over into everyday life.
The George Fund was started after his death in a mountaineering accident in 2008 on the Grand Teton. Many friends and family wanted to support the continuation of experiential programs that George initiated or supported.