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Outdoor School

From 2016-2019, I served as a counselor, learning group leader, program assistant, and director on duty for Penn State's "Outdoor School", a residential environmental education program for 5th graders

Outdoor School is a four-day, residential program for upper-elementary school students, run by Penn State’s nature center, Shaver’s Creek, and staffed by Penn State student counselors. It provides children with a positive, outdoor education experience as they learn about the natural world through hands-on lessons and guided exploration. For more than 50 years, Outdoor School has provided exceptional environmental education programs to students through hands-on lessons and guided exploration of the natural world, with a curriculum that supports the Pennsylvania education standards for Environment & Ecology.

The purpose of Outdoor School is to provide children with environmental experiences that nurture the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to improve their quality of life. By offering activities that promote a healthy self-image, provide clear understandings of the earth’s natural systems, and foster an emotional bond to the natural world, Outdoor School strives to guide children toward healthy and harmonious relationships with other people and the earth.

The mission of Outdoor School is to provide an exemplary residential, environmental education leadership experience for Penn State students, students from other colleges, and Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center interns. This experience will allow student leaders to put into practice theories, methodologies, and techniques learned in the classroom. Outdoor School will also provide student leaders and participating Pennsylvania school children quality outdoor experiences that nurture the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to actively improve their quality of life.

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." - John Muir

The theme of Outdoor School, interrelationships, draws its inspiration from John Muir’s words. Understanding that all things on the planet are somehow connected, like a spider’s web, helps underscore how our actions affect Earth’s health and systems. Through natural history activities, resource exploration, and lessons on environmental concepts and cultural history, we explore the interrelationships of our natural world and our relationships within it.

Outdoor School 360 Video Featuring Caitlin

Power in Numbers






Different Penn State Departments and Community Groups Involved

Project Gallery

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