The Nature Studies program is named after Anna Comstock. In 1911 she wrote “A Handbook for Nature Studies” and warned of the results when a population moves away from intimate knowledge and connection with nature. The vision of our teaching is to Renew your relationship with the more than human world.

All of our youth programs are in proud collaboration with Jefferson County 4h

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Here's a sampling of the programs we offer:

Nature Studies Day Program

Designed for children who want to spend time out in nature, playing games, having fun, and learning about the natural world. Through the use of games, exploration, music, and fun within the context of a small community, the children will learn the following skills: animal tracking, traditional survival skills, medicinal/edible plants, wild food/primitive cooking and teamwork.  The educational approach of this program encourages creative thinking rather than providing constant answers. The teaching staff stimulate the growth of problem-solving skills, and stretch the students into greater self-sufficiency while honoring different learning styles. The results are profound.

 

After-School Wilderness Program
Designed for children in school that crave time exploring outside at the end of the day.  Local nature mentors Scott Brinton, Justin Lake and Anne Aldrich have been facilitating powerful experiences in nature for scores of students around East Jefferson County for over 8 years.  Utilizing Sunfield Farm's outdoor campus, valuable "sense of place" curriculum is wrapped into educational games and exploration.

All Girls Wilderness After-School Program
For eons, girls and boys have been building relationships with the natural world in different ways. This program provides all of the core nature studies curriculum found in all of our classes, but has a great emphasis on crafts, medicinal and edible plants, and non-competitive games.  Sunfield Farm's outdoor campus is a perfect setting with its diversity of plants, farm animals, forest and meadows for this class.

Nature Studies "Early Release" Afterschool Program
Same curriculum as our Day Program but tailored for home-schooled students or students who have a shorter school day on Wednesdays.  Through the use of games, exploration, music, and fun within the context of a small community, the children will learn the following skills: animal tracking, traditional survival skills, medicinal/edible plants, wild food/primitive cooking and teamwork.

Summer Backpacking Adventure
Join us as we pack up all of our belongings and leave the modern world behind.  Laugh with friends, sleep under stars, learn valuable skills, and explore unspoiled landscapes.  Students will learn: minimal impact camping, backcountry cooking, map and compass, edible plants, care for gear, valuable teamwork and how to plan and pack for adventure.

Summer Backpacking Adventure for Girls
Same great itinerary as above, but designed for girls and led by two highly experienced female instructors.

Springtime Day Camp
Spend of time in the woods and beaches.  Through the use of games, exploration, music, and fun within the context of a small community, the students will learn the following skills: animal tracking, traditional survival skills, medicinal/edible plants, wild food/primitive cooking, teamwork and self esteem.  Students will invariably develop a deeper relationship with nature as they are gently facilitated into making observations and sharing earth based skills.


Nature Studies Summer Day Camp                                                                                          Through the use of games, exploration, music, and fun within the context of a small community, the students will learn the following skills: animal tracking, traditional survival skills, medicinal/edible plants, wild food/primitive cooking, teamwork and self esteem.  Students will invariably develop a deeper relationship with nature as they are gently facilitated into making observations and sharing earth based skills.  

Youth Summer Kayak Adventure                                                                                                   Join avid outdoor enthusiasts Scott Brinton and Geoff Briggs and their team of instructors for a journey of a lifetime!  Three days of paddling around Cypress Island (little known and pristine).  We will explore coves and beaches, sleep around a fire, hike into the hills, swim in the lakes, and enjoy working together as a team. Students will gain boat safety skills; general navigation (current charts, weather reading, selecting paddling routes, etc.); and outdoor camping skills.  A mandatory pre-trip water safety drills (including immersion) and gear packing.

Snow Cave Camping                                                                                                                      Join us for an introductory level course in snow camping.  Participants will learn the basics of traveling safely and comfortably through the winter landscape.  During orientation night, students will learn how to pack, dress and prepare for snow camping.  Over the weekend we will construct snow caves to sleep in, learn how to set up a winter campsite, prepare food together, and of course, play in the snow!  Although this is an introduction to snow camping, participants should possess a familiarity with camping at lower elevations.  

Spring Break Desert Wilderness Trip                                                                                          15,000 years ago, a massive lake in Montana created the largest flood in history (the Missoula Flood).  This flood carved out many unique landforms that we will explore on the 2013 Spring Break Desert Wilderness Trip!   Come join our small tribe as we pack up a large van and travel to the dry side of the Cascade Mountain Range.  Participants will experience the desert wilderness blooming with spring wildflowers, vibrant vernal pools and miles of canyons to explore.  Each day will be spent working on wilderness skills (fire, water, food, shelter), taking leisurely walks, fishing, cooking meals over a fire, finding lizards, tracking animals, appreciating the solitude of our surroundings and then sleeping under the unending galaxy.  Students will gain invaluable wilderness skills, including: map and compass, route finding, desert and wilderness safety, backcountry cooking, leave no trace ethics, ethnobotany, animal tracking, observation and awareness, and proper gear.

Youth Summer Survival Camp                                                                                                      This week-long day camp utilizes the universal child passion of “survival” to teach valuable modern survival skills such as: team-work and cooperation; the joy of learning; patience; and the appreciation of the natural world.  Our curriculum breathes adventure into wildlife tracking, medicinal and edible plants, wilderness survival, and ecology.  Our staff fosters creative thinking by stimulating problem-solving and, thereby, stretches students into greater self sufficiency while honoring different learning styles.  

Winter Wilderness Camp                                                                                                               This camp is tailored for students who want to spend the week having forest adventures. Our philosophy is that children (and adults) benefit in profound ways by learning about and participating with nature. Winter Wilderness Camp is a unique balance of outdoor living skills (edible plants, shelter and fire making, animal tracking, nature crafts, etc) and naturalist knowledge (plants, animal, birds, reptiles, insects, etc.). This experience is intentionally wrapped in adventure and games within a small village feeling.