Aspen Global Change Institute (Basalt, CO)


  • Name:Elise Osenga

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Aspen Global Change Institute
  • Address:104 Midland Ave.
    Suite 205
    Basalt, CO 81621
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:9709257376

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • AGCI's mission is to further understanding of Earth systems and global environmental change.

  • Overview:
  • The Aspen Global Change Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit, founded in 1989 to provide an interdisciplinary interface for improving the scientific understanding of Earth systems and global environmental change. AGCI routinely contributes expertise to regional and local efforts to promote understanding of environmental conditions and concerns.

    AGCI furthers its mission by fostering discussion among scientific communities and between the science community and the public and by providing support needed to address some of the most critical forms of environmental change facing humanity today. Reaching to create global connections, AGCI fosters international conversation on timely global change topics via small, intensive, interdisciplinary workshops. Participants have included members from the broad range of natural sciences, as well as social scientists, economists, and other fields. Many discussions initiated as these workshops have later informed work on broad, high impact projects such the IPCC reports.

    AGCI also works within the local community of the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado. For example, AGCI recently partnered with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), Pitkin County, and City of Aspen to establish soil a regional, use-based long term monitoring network. For another current project, AGCI collaborates with ACES to refine and expand the Forest Health Index, a project designed to assess and communicate change within forest ecosystems in the valley. In 2014, AGCI prepared an update report for the City of Aspen entitled, “Climate Change and Aspen 2014 Report.” Other collaborations include participation with the Future Forest Roundtable and the Roaring Fork Watershed Collaborative.

  • History:
  • Since its foundation, the Aspen Global Change Institute has been working to facilitate critical scientific discussions on subjects in Earth systems science. Under the direction of its first scientific advisory board, AGCI held its first summer session in 1990. Since that first meeting, AGCI has held over 50 such workshops, gathering more than 1,000 scientists from 35 countries over that time. In addition to furthering research on a specific topic, these workshops benefit the broader community, as scientists who attend the meetings become ambassadors for interdisciplinary science, subsequently helping to break down disciplinary barriers and promoting relevant scientific engagement with the public.

    The Aspen Global Change Institute (AGCI) was co-founded by Rick Chappell and John Katzenberger in 1989 as the result of a NASA funded planning workshop. Until February 1995, when it became an independent non-profit in its own right, AGCI operated under the non-profit 501(c)3 umbrella of the Windstar Foundation – an environmental organization co-founded by Tom Crum and John Denver. The Windstar board and its President, John Denver, enthusiastically supported the concept of AGCI and its role of furthering environmental science in the service of society. Within a year of the planning workshop AGCI established a scientific advisory board and began full operations in June of 1990. Its first interdisciplinary workshop spanned three weeks in July and August taking a broad look at the emerging field of global change science. Talks and discussions focused on the nexus of social and physical science in understanding global scale change from atmospheric chemistry, climate change, to human population dynamics, biodiversity, and changes to the land surface. A group of nationally recognized educators participated for part of the first summer to explore the educational opportunities offered by global change science.

    During this time, AGCI was also working in the field of education and outreach. Recognizing the increasing importance that remote sensing would likely play in Earth sciences, AGCI produced a handbook with a grant from NASA, designed with a primer on global change and remote sensing for teachers and age appropriate activities for elementary and secondary grade levels. The Handbook when coupled with satellite and aerial photography helped students gain an understanding of remote sensing and the role it plays in observing change on Earth. The Ground Truth Studies Teacher Handbook was published in 1992 and presented to educators across the nation in teacher training workshops.

    During the decade of the 2000’s, the United States Global Change Research Program took on a climate focus and there continued to be an expansion of Earth observing systems internationally, as new satellites were launched into orbit and ground and ocean observation technologies were deployed. At AGCI, workshops over this decade explored a variety of themes, with several workshops focusing on human impacts on biogeochemical cycles and human induced climate change. Other topics included the related fields of assessing uncertainty, new coupled modeling systems, and weather and extreme events. Climate was also a hot topic at a local level, and in 2006 AGCI generated a report called Climate Change and Aspen: An Assessment of Impacts and Potential Responses. The report applied current models and projections to the Aspen region and explored potential impacts and vulnerabilities of climate change in a locally relevant way.

    As AGCI moves into its third decade, it’s mission is more relevant than ever. The magnitude of planetary change has intensified, as evidenced by rising carbon dioxide levels, biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, and a the pressures of a growing human population. Building on workshops in the 2000’s, AGCI focused on how to make science more relevant to society while at the same time supporting the international teams working on the improvement of climate (GCMs) and Earth system models (ESMs). AGCI has played a key role in coordinating research teams on the emerging field of decadal climate prediction. Workshops have explored the role of the sun in affecting Earth and its climate, how climate change affects sea-level rise and mountain environments, experimental design for the next generation of climate models (Climate Model Intercomparison Project - CMIP) reported on by the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the role of mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Marking our 25th anniversary, AGCI looks to the future, and seeks to continue its role as facilitator, communicator, and generator global change research.

  • Year established:1989
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:4
  • Advisory board size:6
  • Staff size:6


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Unknown
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:None
  • Tax ID: