Blue Mountain Outdoor School

Do you remember your summer camp experience? When you’d spend your days swimming in secluded lakes, sleeping under the stars, and hiking deep into the woods? We do too but your kids or grandkids might not.

Over the past few decades, the way children experience and understand nature has changed profoundly. Today, young adults are wholly aware of environmental problems on the global scale, however, their intimacy and connection with the natural world is dwindling. 

Growing research has revealed the necessity of interaction with nature for healthy child—and adult—development. There has also been numerous studies published showing the benefits of outdoor education, including improved school performance, increased enthusiasm for learning, and deeper connection to place.

That is why Blue Mountain Land Trust wants to help create opportunities for the region’s young people to explore and connect with the natural environment. One way we plan to do this is by opening the Blue Mountain Outdoor School in June 2018. 

This school is not your ordinary summer camp. The Blue Mountain Outdoor School is a week-long immersive summer school for regional high school students interested in the natural sciences. Students will live on the Whitman College campus and experience college life first-hand.

Students will be introduced to a comprehensive and diverse natural resources curriculum. The courses will be taught by Whitman College faculty and include geology, ecology, environmental studies, zoology, outdoor recreation, astronomy, and hydrology. Each day, students will visit locations around the region that will involve experiential, hands-on learning.

Students who participate in the Blue Mountain Outdoor School will be steeped in exploration of the natural environment, giving real-life meaning to academic learning while deepening their understanding of the natural world. 

While the Blue Mountain Outdoor School is open to all regional high school students, our vision for the school is to provide opportunities for underrepresented and underserved students in the region. We believe the Blue Mountain Outdoor School has the potential to make a material impact on the number of children from underserved communities who pursue environmental science careers. Through community support and grants, we aim to provide scholarships to students in need who wish to attend. 

Our ultimate goal with the Blue Mountain Outdoor School is to provide transformative learning experiences in nature to youth and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards. 

If you are interested in supporting this effort, either financially or as a volunteer, please contact to learn how you can help.