There are no worksheets in Outdoor Ed, and the tests sometimes involve blisters and sweat. The classroom is nature and the classroom supplies are compasses, canoes, shovels, and tents. Yet, in a time when many adolescents focus their energy on iPads and iPhones, it is refreshing to know that middle school students at Trinity Lutheran School clamber each fall for a chance to head outdoors to perform physical labor and to get their hands dirty.
Beginning in sixth grade, students may attend Outdoor Ed class two days a week to learn about being stewards of the environment and prepare for the trips that are the hallmark of this program. Outdoor Ed allows a student to practice the “leave no trace” ethics of outdoorsmanship and to leave our outdoor world the same or better than we found it. Outdoor Ed students also learn about preparedness, responsibility, and teamwork, and that they can achieve far more than they ever expected they could.
The itinerary includes beginning hikes on the Noland Trail, camping in Newport News Park, sharpening survival skills on a farm in South Hill, cavern explorations, National Park Civil War tours, bicycle excursions, and canoeing on the Shenandoah River.