Outdoor Education

Where Learning Comes Naturally

Can you think of a better place to learn about nature than the great outdoors themselves? Wonder Valley is perfectly situated in the vibrant, rolling Sierra Nevada foothills, where life abounds and learning happens naturally.

For overnight accommodations, Wonder Valley has 52 guest rooms, which can be bunked, dormitory style, six to eight students per room. Chaperones may room with students or they may stay in an adjacent room. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom, heat/air conditioning system, and spacious closets. The Lakeshore Lodge dining facility can accommodate 300 comfortably with a gorgeous view of the lake. Meals are nutritious and all-you-can-eat, served buffet-style. Classes are held in numerous locations around the property, including the ropes challenge course, stables, classroom-style rooms, and large athletic field.

Sequoia National Park – The Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks and Visitor Centers can be the highlight of this outdoor education experience. Students will see the oldest living things in the world: the Giant Sequoias. A lecture on the history of this National Park and the environment is accompanied by a slide show presentation given by park rangers. Hikes through the forest reinforce what students have learned in class about ecosystems and habitats. Lunch and bus transportation are provided for the field trip.

Physical/Earth Sciences Outdoor Education Program - The following classes can be modified to accommodate most grade levels and were designed to meet the criteria set forth in the California State Science framework. Each class can stand independently, so sequential teaching is not necessary.

Rocketry – Students will learn concepts of force, momentum, gravity, and vectors (i.e. Newton’s laws) and explore speed and velocity. The hands-on class project consists of making rockets out of 2-liter bottles. These rockets will be launched using compressed air and water. Students will also learn triangulation, which will enable the students to measure the height of the flight of their rockets.

Geology Rocks – Learning the three basic rock types and how they are formed is just the beginning of this class. The students will also explore the world of geology, geomorphology, and petrology as they inspect and learn about rocks in our seasonal creek bed. This class will teach the students that Geology is more than just another science – it is the foundation of the earth.

Living Things - Students will acquire knowledge of the differences and the similarities of many different animals through hands-on exploration of skeletons, skulls, and other visual aids. Students will also learn to identify both predator and prey.

Indian Culture - Sounds of Native American flutes and the drum rhythms of Mother Earth and Father Sky invite students in to experience the rich history of the Sierra Nevada tribal communities. Hands-on learning will help teach students the different aspects of the various local Indian communities.

Orienteering – Can you find true north? Do you know what a topographical map is and, if so, do you know how to use it? After this course students will be able to answer “yes” to all of these questions. They will learn to use a compass and map to navigate a predetermined course with ease.

Ropes Course Challenge – A two-hour experiential learning program challenges students to interact with each other through a variety of elements, while safely reaching and exceeding their own capabilities. Dramatic results are produced in team building, problem solving, communication skills, leadership development, decision-making, self-esteem, exercise and more… all while having fun!

Nature Crafts - Students learn the history of various craft projects. This knowledge will be used to make a keepsake of their lesson, whether it’s t-shirt tie-dying, candle making, yarn spinning, or a variety of other old-fashioned art projects.

Understanding Horsemanship – Students explore the uses of horses throughout history and learn why various methods of handling horses have become standard – such as why you mount from the left. The class lecture is followed by a group trail ride which will allow students to see the Valley from horseback.

Food Preservation – Teaches the history and science of food preservation along with microbiology and nutrition. Students will also learn how the food they preserve in this class pertains to the agriculture found in the Central Valley.

Archery: With safety as their top priority, our professional archers instruct students on history of the bow and arrow, equipment usage, and range policies.  Always a favorite, students gain extensive knowledge and training techniques to build their shooting skills.

All classes are based on the availability of qualified instructors and are subject to change.