Outdoor School

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The Marin County Outdoor School at Walker Creek Ranch offers four and five day residential environmental education programs tailored to elementary school students from both public and private schools throughout Northern California. Our curriculum is aligned to Next Generation Science Standards and is designed to instill a deeper connection between children and nature and inspire stewardship.

Every year over 5,000 students join us for an unforgettable week of discovery and learning while being immersed in the outdoors. Our inclusive and supportive community makes Walker Creek a positive and safe place where students can challenge themselves to grow personally, academically, and socially.

Our diverse site offers over 1700 acres of grassland, forest, riparian and coastal chaparral ecosystems, an ideal setting for students to learn by exploration and immersion into natural habitats. The lush creek environment, four-acre Turtle Pond and organic garden provide excellent opportunities for field studies and hands-on discovery and learning. The Miwok grinding rock and our museum offer opportunities to understand local cultural history as well. Students will learn not only about science, but through hands-on experiences in the outdoors, will gain a better understanding of the importance of their role in conservation and environmental responsibility.

Our site’s proximity to Point Reyes National Seashore and Samuel P. Taylor State Park offers the opportunity for optional field trips to the redwood forests and Pacific Ocean. Schools choosing to remain on-site will participate in a day-long hike to Walker Peak. At an elevation of 1,036 feet, this journey ends with panoramic views of Tomales Bay, Mount St Helena, and the Pacific Ocean.

Our naturalist staff works closely with visiting schools and teachers to tailor each outdoor education program to meet student needs.  Naturalists communicate with teachers at the beginning of each week to see what has already been covered in the classroom, and what specific topics they would like their students to experience during the week. Topics include habitats, biodiversity, food chains, organic gardening, pond and creek studies, teambuilding, energy and water cycles, adaptations, native plants, ecosystems, and more. 

Dates Still Available for 2015-2016.  Schedule Your School Today!

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~ Walker Creek Ranch ~ 1700 Marshall Petaluma Rd. Petaluma, CA 94952 ~ 415.491.6600 ~
A program of the Marin County Office of Education
Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools