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Nature Abound: CVUSD Outdoor School 2018

Over the next seven weeks sixth grade students from across the Conejo will hop on buses and head to the Santa Monica Mountains for three and a half days of learning about the environment at CVUSD’s Outdoor School. There are no classrooms and no desks at Outdoor School, instead students learn about the environment with nature hikes and activities that focus on the California State Standards for 6th grade science.

Outdoor School takes place at Camp Bloomfield, a picturesque location where students learn about the environment firsthand with “trail classes” led by Naturalists who are skilled in the subjects they teach. The Naturalists come to Camp Bloomfield from all over the country to share their expertise with CVUSD students.

Trail classes include: Astronomy, Geology, Oceanography, and Zoology. A mixture of first-hand discovery, discussion, activities, experiments, games, and songs are used by the Naturalists to explore these topics with students.

Also on hand are CVUSD high school student volunteers who act as counselors, mentors and guides to the sixth grade students throughout the Outdoor School sessions. High School students from all five of CVUSD’s high schools are invited to be counselors.

Unique highlights of the program include an evening where a specialist from the National Parks Service comes to the camp with telescopes for a special hands on lesson about constellations. Additionally, the specialist shares information with students about the night adaptations of the animals that live in the mountains.

Another highlight is a hike down the Arroyo Sequit Canyon to Leo Carillo State Beach where students explore sea caves, tide pools, and watch for dolphins and migrating gray whales.

In addition to hands on academic learning, students also experience a week of friendship making. Each Outdoor School session is comprised of half of the sixth grade from one of the District’s four middle schools, and one session for Sycamore Canyon School. During each session students are divided into ten trail groups with whom they participate in events and attend classes together throughout the three and a half day experience. Camaraderie amongst peers is encouraged via team building activities and games throughout the week, including a round robin of Olympic style events on the final day, including “Alaskan baseball,” and Tug of War.

The three and a half days of activities and learning concludes with all students and their high school mentors gathering for autograph time. Students sign their high school counselors' t-shirts and request for them and their peers to sign their Outdoor School Journal. This Outdoor School Journal serves as a repository for important lessons learned, and for recording students’ favorite memories.

Learn more about Outdoor School here.
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