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There are currently 10 classes offered at Shady Creek Outdoor School. Our most popular classes are survival, communities, creek, and birds. If your school is a FitQuest school, FitQuest class is required. Hikes not listed are the discovery hike, night hike, and closing hike. These are all susceptible to change based on a number of factors. 
5 day week- Choose six classes
4 day week- Choose four classes
Utilizing argument from evidence is crucial to scientific practice. In birds class, students will explore bird adaptations and discuss the functions and benefits of structures found on birds. Students will collect evidence from bird observations to identify birds found around Shady Creek using binoculars. This class includes a visit to our raptor center with live birds of prey. All of our birds are injured and non-releasable. Meeting these birds teaches the students that both knowledge and caring are necessary in order to make a positive difference.
Communities is a team building class. While on communities class, students will have an opportunity to set goals as a group and as an individual. Students will be guided to use positive communication, inclusiveness, bravery, and kindness to achieve those goals. Over the course of the lesson students will gain a better understanding of what it means to be a member of a community. 
*Creek Ecology
In creek ecology, students explore and collect aquatic macroinvertebrates living in Shady Creek. After collecting macroinvertebrates, students will create a scientific drawing then use a field guide to learn more about their species and its relationship to the ecosystem. With this information students will determine the health of the creek and surrounding watershed. Through discussions about the movement of water students will be able to make connections about human impacts on a watershed. 
Fit Quest helps students learn things they can do to feel their best by focusing on physical, nutritional, and mindful practices. Students will participate in activities that get their pulse rate higher to experience what it means when they are told it is important to be active. Through discussions about food they will gain a better understanding of what different vitamins and minerals do for our bodies and why it is important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. They will have time to reflect on how they feel stress, what causes them to feel stress, and what they can do about it during a solo hike. If students know how to feel their best, they have the ability to do the things they enjoy.
*Forest Ecology
This is Shady Creek’s longest hike. It can be up to two miles in length, but can easily be amended to be shorter. During forest ecology, students will walk through three different plant communities looking for evidence to explain why there are different types of plants within each community. Students will explore interactions between living and non-living factors. By the end of this class, students will understand that each plant community has its own unique attributes based on the availability of resources. 
Garden (newly restored) 
During Garden class, students will explore Shady Creek’s organic garden using all of their senses. They will go over concepts of energy flow and matter cycling through exploring garden food chains. Also students will dig into concepts of decomposition, composting, tracing food back to the soil and tending to a garden. Dictated by the season, students will taste the produce that is growing in the garden. By the end of class, students will understand why gardens have ingredients for life.
Nature Awareness 
Nature Awareness focuses on students using their senses to gain a deeper appreciation and awareness for nature. This class includes a guided sensory walk in which the students walk on a trail without using their vision. Students will have the opportunity to engage in different sensory activities such as rock stacking, and sound maps. This experience-based class helps students understand that people’s experiences outside can influence the way the land is used.
Nature Investigation and Exploration (NIE)
During this class, students will start taking huge adventures on a small scale. Kids will discover natural mysteries and use science skills to conduct investigations. Scientific practices will be accentuated and utilized throughout the hike. By the end of class, students will have used field guides to investigate natural wonders. For example, students will create a list of suspects and use evidence to determine what is causing logs to disappear in the forest.
*Soil-ology (Pedology) New Class!
Soil-ology class will have students examine soils in different locations looking for what makes those spaces unique. Following what a NASA scientist does, students will identify what makes up the soil beneath their feet. They will examine erosion on Shady Creek’s landscape and the formation of rocks. They will go panning not just for gold but also different rock types and identify them.
The survival class is designed to give students the opportunity to engineer a survival shelter based on criteria that the students establish. During this two and a half hour class students will identify design constraints, and work together to improve their design to ensure survival under the wettest conditions. Students will learn about S.T.O.P. and F.I.B.S. as well as the most crucial aspects of surviving in the wild.
* Part of the curriculum comes from our partnership with NASA GLOBE Goes To Camp


Our classes are aligned with NGSS and CCSS. See the breakdown of each class here.


Shady Creek is joining forces with NASA!
Their Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment Program is now partnering with camps to provide activites and assist with citizen science data collection.


Our teaching approach and learn cycle strategies have been formed using BEETLES materials.

Better Environmental Education Teaching, Learning, and Expertise Sharing is a program of The Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley.