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Showing posts from April, 2013

Birding Basics

One of the wonderful features of Sierra Outdoor School is our on-campus bird blind. The bird blind, or bird hide, is a shelter used to observe wildlife at close quarters. These structures enable bird watchers, ornithologists, and other observers to get a closer look at the natural world and its interactions while not disturbing the wildlife. We can take our students to the bird blind to give them a greater understanding of concepts such as: biodiversity during Raptors & Conservation or interactions between producers and consumers during Silent Mile.

Here is an outside view of our bird blind:

Here's a view from inside the bird blind, looking out at the bird feeders. Can you spot all three of them? 

While I was at the bird blind taking these pictures, a Stellar's Jay landed on bird feeder 3.

It's exciting to see the spring season birds, like the American Robin and Black-headed Grosbeak, out and about. If you're interested about learning more about birding, you can ch…

Moon Musings

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend full of beautiful weather. We have a busy week ahead of us, with several Gold Rush programs and one Science program. Clovis Elementary will be joining us on Wednesday for a three day science program. Lincoln Elementary, San Jose Christian, Green Valley, and Vista Grande will be coming throughout the week for the Gold Rush program. We're looking forward to a great week!

For a quick Monday Challenge, I saw the moon peeking through the trees over our Upper Education building this morning. Who can guess the phase of the moon today? Post your guess in the comments! I'll post the answer on Friday, so check back.

Baywood, Revisited

We have a few more pictures of Baywood Elementary's time here at Sierra Outdoor School. Brian, one of the wonderful chaperones, took several pictures while his son was at SOS. He was kind enough to email some of them to us for use on this blog! Parents and teachers, we know you take amazing pictures of your students while you're here. We'd love to see some of those if possible! Email any pictures to and we can get them up on the blog. Also, feel free to email with any other questions or comments.

Without further ado, here are some of the fantastic pictures Brian took while Baywood was enjoying the Gold Rush Program!

Spring is Blooming at Sierra Outdoor School!

The first California Poppies bloomed this week in one of our native plant gardens.  This poppy is accompanied by a beautiful Bush Lupine in the foreground of this picture.

Soon, our native plan gardens will have new signs to help the students learn about the plants and their different uses.  Here is a picture of a sample sign, but soon we will have them printed on aluminum to weather the seasons.

Welcome, Fourth Graders!

Today, Sierra Outdoor School had the pleasure of welcoming two schools to our campus. Our Lady of Lorretto is on site for the Gold Rush Program, and they enjoyed a beautiful day in Columbia State Park today on their way up the hill. Corte Madera, a school which has been coming to SOS for 36 years, has switched over to our Elementary Science Program. They will be taking our Raptors & Conservation and Silent Mile classes, and adventuring tomorrow down to Columbia and Moaning Cavern. More pictures on the way! Check back tomorrow. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We're looking forward to a week of sunshine and beautiful weather up here on the hill.

Baywood at Columbia

Baywood had a great Gold Rush experience here at Sierra Outdoor School! On Monday, they enjoyed a full rotation of classes at SOS, including: Rocker/Long Tom Mining Techniques, Miwok Life, Gold Panning, and Life of a Miner. During Life of a Miner, the students all wrote letters home as if they were out in California for the gold rush. Each teacher brought those home, and they should be a great read! Then, on Tuesday, Baywood left the hill and headed to Columbia State Park on their way home. They enjoyed a Historical Tour, a Bucket Brigade (learning how to put out fires with nothing but a line of helpers and cotton canvas buckets), a tour of the Columbia Cemetery, and an unforgettable experience at the Schoolhouse (ask your student about it!). Here are a few pictures of the students at Columbia:

Indian Valley's Gold Rush Experience

Indian Valley had a great time at Sierra Outdoor School! They took four of our Gold Rush classes: Life of a Miner, Mining Tools, Miwok Life, and Gold Panning. Here are a couple pictures from their program:

Here, the students are learning how to use a Long Tom (on the left) and a cradle (on the right). These mining tools introduced a much more efficient way to mine gold!

This group is talking about the three different routes that people would take to get to California for the Gold Rush. These were: around Cape Horn, the Isthmus of Panama, or the Overland Route. All three had their advantages and disadvantages. Which one would you have chosen? Our student, acting as Forty-niner William Swain, chose the Overland Route!

We said goodbye to Indian Valley Tuesday morning and are looking forward to the three schools arriving today: Miramonte, Jackson, and Figarden. More updates to come!

This Week's Updates

Hi all! Our apologies for the temporary hiatus of the Sierra Outdoor School blog. We had a couple very busy weeks and then one week of Spring Break. Looking forward, we have four schools coming up to SOS this week! Indian Valley, a new gold rush school, will be coming in today. Then on Wednesday, we'll be  welcoming Figarden, Jackson, and Miramonte.

In other exciting news, this weekend, Sierra Outdoor School will be hosting the Spring Statewide Conference for the California Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (AEOE). If you're interested, here's the link: The conference is titled "A Climate of Change." At the conference, there will be over 60 environmental education workshops, a keynote address, live entertainment, a job fair, and networking with over 200 environmental educators. Hope to see you there!

We'll update more as the week goes on! Have a great Monday, everyone.