What To Expect

Please Bring:

  • CUSP 2015 Release Form (needed for each volunteer)
  • VOLUNTEER LISTING 2015  (one for your group)
  • Any applicable medicines (including epi-pens, insulin and inhalers)
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun glasses or safety glasses
  • Work gloves 
  • Work boots with ankle support
  • Long pants are required; long sleeved shirts are strongly recommended
  • Reusable water containers, extra water will be provided
  • A sack lunch
  • A coat during adverse weather months

Important Notes:

  • CUSP will provide hard hats; tools and materials necessary to complete project work
  • Due to variable weather conditions and safety for our volunteers all vehicles and drivers must remain onsite for the duration of the project
  • The nature of all CUSP projects can be challenging, please review project descriptions and difficulty ratings carefully.  Fire rehab projects are dirty; please dress and prepare accordingly.
  • We often meet at central locations and caravan to more remote work sites.  Promptness is appreciated, as we will depart 10 minutes after the posted meet time
  • A portable restroom will be available on site, in most cases. If a restroom is not available on your project you will be informed
  • A safety review and work demonstration will proceed the project work
  • Weather, which could create hazardous conditions, may cause the project to be canceled or rescheduled; staff will monitor weather and notify you of any changes, which will also be posted to Volunteer.cusp.ws


  • In hazardous areas we must strictly adhere to minimum age restrictions, which vary according to site.
  • Expectant mothers should check with their physician prior to attending projects in recently burned areas or on unstable terrain.
  • Pets are not allowed on any CUSP projects.
  • Please do not bring your own tools unless requested.
  • Please do not bring unregistered guests to projects.

CUSP Project Difficulty Ratings

  • Easy – Projects that have minimal physical demand and are easy to access by vehicle and walking short distances less than ½ mile. These types of projects can include raking and seeding native grasses, weed control and plantings.
  • Moderate – Projects that require greater physical activity, such as lifting, carrying and digging. Access by vehicle and distance to project site may require over ½ mile of walking.
  • Strenuous – Projects that have difficult access to worksites and require physically demanding activities. Often can include longer hikes into worksite while carrying tools and personal necessities. These sites are often on significant slopes and often include fire restoration work and or rock work on trails. Advanced skills are always appreciated for these project types.

We want you to get the most out of your volunteer experience in Colorado. Here are some tips to get acclimated so you can focus on having fun and lending CUSP a much needed hand!

  1. Take it Easy
    It’s understandable that you’re eager to hit the ground running, but take it slowly. Over-exerting yourself will only make it harder to adjust to the elevation. Try a low-impact activity on your first day, such as walking around wherever you are staying.  Sleeping overnight in Colorado Springs (or your Colorado destination) will acclimate your body to 6320 ft before you make the ascent to a higher elevation.
  2. Stay Hydrated
    Drink plenty of liquids. High elevations can cause fluid loss, so it’s important to stay well hydrated. Stick with water or liquids that replace electrolytes. Avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages such as soda-pop. These liquids act as diuretics and can dehydrate you. Drink lots of water! Frequent urinating from consuming so much water is much better than lying in bed with a splitting headache.
  3. Eat Right
    Stop in at local restaurants to recharge. A meal high in carbohydrates will improve your body’s ability to absorb oxygen, and will give you the energy needed to adjust to the elevation. Avoid salty foods – the sodium will increase your blood pressure, which can exacerbate the symptoms of altitude sickness.
  4. Take Your Vitamins
    It’s been shown that taking iron supplements makes it easier to perform aerobic activities (like skiing) at high elevations. Consult a doctor first, though – iron is toxic in high doses. Taking 120 mg of Ginko Biloba in the weeks leading up to your getaway, and maintaining that dosage during your trip can also reduce the time needed to adjust to the altitude.
  5. Hold the Beer
    Alcohol and tobacco can impact your body’s ability to absorb oxygen. Of course, it’s hard not to indulge yourself when in beautiful Colorado! Swing by one of the local and great micro-breweries and knock-back a cold one once you feel acclimated to the elevation.
  6. Get Medicated
    Drugs such as Diamox (Acetazolamide) can reduce the symptoms and duration of altitude sickness. Ideally, Diamox should be taken a few days prior to your trip, but it can also be used on the spot if you start feeling ill. Keep ibuprofen or acetaminophen on hand to prevent headaches.
  7. If All Else Fails
    If you’re feeling ill, descend to a lower elevation. Sometimes the best remedy is simply time. While no one wants to lose out on a day’s fun, you’ll feel even worse if your whole trip is wrecked due to prolonged illness.