Outdoor Education and Science

Bureau of Land Management Volunteers
Search for volunteer and intern opportunities in your area for teens and adults and learn science through projects about wildlife and wildlands. Or ask your local BLM volunteer contact if you can create a group (of families, students, etc.) who can work together with BLM on projects.

Find local volunteer contact info here

California RegionalEnvironmental Education Community
Links to San Francisco Greater Bay Area Science activities, experiments, and workshops

Sign up to receive their newsletter here:

Dan’s Environmental Education Bookmarks
List of programs in California, USA Nationwide, and International locations.

“Hands-On” Science Enrichment, with Phyllis Endicott
E-mail: phyllisendicott@yahoo.com
Offers physics and chemistry class series for classroom, on-site, and homeschool programs.

Happy Valley Ropes Course
Offers ropes course to groups for an “outdoor personal development and team building activity which consists of high and/or low elements.”

Headwaters Outdoor School Led by Tim Corcoran
(530) 938-1304
Teaches skills “Earth People have used throughout time to survive in kinship with the Earth.” Classes are held in areas with abundance of wildlife, creeks, meadows, forests and spectacular views and center on not only survival skills, but life skills and nature awareness. Class locations include the Marble Mountain Wilderness, the Mount Shasta area and the Santa Cruz Mountains.”

Live Earth Farms
“Field trips offer a variety of hands-on learning experiences for schools and other groups, emphasizing a “seed to mouth” or “field to fork” full circle understanding of food production in organic farming practices. Activities on the Farm are tailored to students’ age group incorporating California Science Content Standards, including seed planting and plant propagation, care for farm animals, composting, organic pest control, harvesting and tasting.

Maker’s Factory Maker’s Camp for Kids
Children, aged 8-13 work as a group to design and create products, using 3-D printing, animation, modeling, and robotics skills, and then work on their own project.  ”Camper/students will be introduced to leading edge technologies that can be applied to other projects.”

Nature’s Apprentice – Outdoor Exploration for Young Children
Weekly outdoor adventure for children ages 2-5 uses activities such as hiking, games, stories, and art to explore local woods, meadows, beaches and streams.  Has link to some great online field guides.

Outdoor Science Exploration w/ Irvin Lindsey and Diane Cornell
Offers science and outdoor activities, classes, and camps. Also provides teacher workshops and classroom science programs to schools.

Peaceful Valley Farm
Offers afterschool program and Farm Camp, where children can do: farm related art and literature activities; cooking and baking food with local produce;  farm chores and education, including many animals; planting seeds and watering the crops; and play with tree swings, bubbles, and other farm-related activities.

Pine Mountain Arts
Offers nature education workshops and hand arts instruction in a Rudolf Steiner approach.  Learn bee keeping; forging; archery; jewelry and coppersmithing, or work in stone, wood and clay.

Santa Cruz County Outdoor School
1605 Eureka Canyon Road, Watsonville
(831) 722-8222
Contracts with Santa Cruz County Schools and other schools to provide a week long overnight Outdoor Science  Camp experience for middle schoolers.  Contact your child’s school district for more information.

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Offers museum tours, classroom tours, special exhibits, docent program, as well as class series such as ‘Connect with Nature’, ‘Nature Notes and Sketches’, ‘Natural Science Illustration for Kids,’ and a ‘Nature and Survival Skills Camp.’

Santa Cruz Parents Science, Marine Life and Animals Classes and Activities List

Work with a class or student group to learn how to protect the planet by doing projects like the Smithsonian Institution’s Tree Banding Project, contributing to ongoing scientific work, and learning leadership skills.  Download the teachers’ guide and find out how to connect with other students and educators around the world.

Skylark Ranch Ropes Course Rental
Contact Amber Hale, Outdoor Program Assistant at ahale@girlscoutsnorcal.org or call 1-888-287-4170 ext 258
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, Skylark Ranch offers groups a low element Challenge Course and a high element High Ropes Course for rental. Opportunities are available to build teamwork with your group, develop climbing skills, and participating in an individual challenge.

UCSC Life Lab Garden Science Classroom
1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA
The Life Lab classroom offers experiential learning workshops and internships.  The classroom and garden are open daily and the site also offers Educator Workshops, Classroom Field Trips (for pre-school through middle school) and professional advising for garden programming.

Wilderness Awareness Schools
“Wilderness Awareness School is a national not-for-profit environmental education organization, based around caring for the earth and children by fostering understanding and appreciation of nature, community and self.  Offers wilderness education courses which combine ancient and modern ecological wisdom, and encourage people of all ages to become stewards, mentors and leaders.”

Associate Schools – California List

Associate Schools – National List

Youth Camps and Homeschool Programs

Wilderness Awareness Schools – Bay Area Programs
Go to website above to find contact info about the area programs below:

OutsideIn – Adventuring with Aaron Jessup
Aaron Jessup, Owner
1786 Filbert Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 828-0775

“OutsideIn – Adventuring with Aaron Jessup, which offers wilderness expeditions in the northern Sierras, is dedicated to the marriage of nature immersion and awareness development. Using practices such as meditation, chi gong, yoga, dance and wilderness skills development. Experience a deep and meaningful connection to the natural world while realizing you are part of a greater web of existence.”

Riekes Center for Human Enhancement – Nature Awareness Department
Ken Clarkson, Nature Awareness Director
3455 Edison Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 364-2509

“The Riekes Center provides mentorship in the Bay Area for students of all ages, through Creative Arts, Athletic Fitness, and Nature Awareness. The Nature Awareness Department teaches tracking, survival skills, awareness training, bird language, wildlife mapping and monitoring, and permaculture techniques through workshops, in-school and after-school programs, expeditions, summer camps, and homeschool programs.”

Standing Tree Nature School
Tod Haddow, Director
109 Handley St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 423-8426

Standing Tree Nature School is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit based in Santa Cruz, CA.  Our mission statement is to inspire children and adults to care for the earth and its inhabitants by helping them create meaningful relationships with the natural world, their communities, and each other.  We offer summer camps, classes, and long term mentoring programs in nature studies and traditional earth skills.

Tender Tracks Tales and Trails: Outdoor Preschool and Summer Adventure Camps
Wendolyn Bird, Director/Facilitator
680 Channing Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 324.9355

“Tender Tracks includes an Outdoor Preschool, Summer Adventure camps, Storytelling, Workshops and Consultations. We offer opportunity for children and adults to connect with their own unique nature via the reflection and support from the natural world. We create, stimulate and activate opportunity for a healthy relationship to All of Life via songs, stories, and nature awareness activities.”

Ventana Wildlife Society
Alena Porte, Education Coordinator
19045 Portola Drive, Suite F-1, Salinas, CA 93908
(831) 455-9514

“Since 1992, Ventana Wildlife Society strives to help youth make connections with their natural world. Year round programs provide opportunity for youth to learn about their local environment and increase their knowledge of the natural world. Our goal is to inspire participants to continue their relationship with nature in a meaningful way and incorporate this awareness into their daily lives.”

Wilderness Skills Institute, LLC
Wilderness Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring Camps (Any Time Schools Are Out) Weekend Kids and Family Camps, Homeschool Programs, After-School Programs, Adult and Teacher Workshops, and Staff Certifications for: American Camping Association and US Archery.

Youth and Family Programs
Offers Adult and Coed Youth and Family Wilderness Programs on Northern California Coast.