Outdoor School – Students’ Perspective

In October Arco Iris 6th graders were able to attend NWRESD Outdoor Science School at Cedar Ridge. It was another fantastic year, and we received numerous compliments on the students’ enthusiasm for learning and general behavior. We should all be proud of how they represented Arco Iris. Thanks to a grant from the Gray Family Foundation we were able to spend four days at Outdoor School this year, which we believe was a definite benefit for the students. Here are a couple reflections written by students about their time at Outdoor School. And don’t miss our slideshow at the bottom of the page!

Last week I went to outdoor school [at camp] Cedar Ridge in Vernonia. Outdoor school is a fun science camp with lots of bright green trees, streams to explore, and beautiful paths for hikes. The staff and counselors cared for us and made sure we had what we needed. Even though it may seem that a science camp would be boring, you get to meet new people and enjoy lots of time with them. You get to sleep in cabins, sing lots of songs, and join fun campfires!

Every morning and afternoon, we would have something called Field Study. Every day, what we learned at Field Study was different. We had Earth, Water, Forest/Plant, and Wildlife study. My personal favorite was water study. During water study, we learned about watershed, pollution, spawning salmon, and more. When we were participating in this activity, we were able to go into the river and see if we could catch anything interesting. A funny memory was when about 2 or 3 people went a bit too deep in the river, and filled their rain boots fully with water. We learned on how to respect the environment by having small groups with counselors.

Camp wasn’t always about science, it was also about being independent and meeting new people. What we did to help with this was to have a nice get together from time to time. This included campfires, cabin time, meals, bonding with counselors, and kids from other schools. My favorite had to be the campfires. During the beginnings of campfires we had to do skits. The skits were songs that each cabin had made up to represent them. The staff and counselors performed funny plays that they had practiced. Every night, one cabin would be told to tell the weather that had occurred that day. My favorite part of campfires was when they would sing quiet songs at the end to make us sleepy.

Outdoor school was a valuable experience for me because it wasn’t something I could do every day. I loved making new friends with different people and bonding more with some of my actual friends. I felt like being there gave me a bit more freedom because I got to do what I enjoyed and didn’t have to worry or stress about school. It has changed the way I think and act around nature. I now know how much wildlife can really affect people, and what things we could do to conserve it. Outdoor school is something that I will never forget. I give a big thanks to my teacher for letting me participate in this amazing experience. I hope one day I will be able to teach at this amazing camp and see many kids ready for adventure!

By Stephanie

Outdoor school is a camp that most people go to in 6th grade. At Outdoor School, you play games, sing songs, and get hands-on experiences.

While you are at Outdoor School regular academics are not entirely left behind. Every afternoon, you have homeroom time. While we were at Outdoor School, during homeroom we wrote in journals. We had prompts related to what we were learning about the environment and human impact.

The field studies we did were: Earth, Water, Forest and Wildlife. My favorite field study was wildlife. In wildlife we learned about animal adaptations, bot behavioral and physical. At Outdoor School we learned in small groups, through songs, games, asking questions, and hands-on activities.

A big focus of Outdoor School was being sustainable and kind to the earth. Some ways we did that were composting all food waste and picking up whatever litter we found.

Outdoor school was a valuable experience for me because I was able to get fresh air and learn about wildlife, earth, plants and water in a fun way with hands-on experiences. That experience will change my approach to nature by making me more aware of what human impact does to the environment. Now I will do my best to reduce the amount of food waste I make and pick up litter I see.

By Anonymous

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