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Advice: Starting an Outdoor Education or Adventure Program in Your School

By Stephen Mullaney June 11, 2024

Outdoor Education

In addition to working for The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), I’ve had the good fortune to assist public, private, and charter schools in setting up outdoor education programs for the past 25 years. During that time, I’ve developed a few winning strategies for educators embarking on such adventures.

Some of my more successful programs have included launching a learning farm for a public school system with 32,000 students, transforming schools into outdoor learning labs as a model for a school district, and even helping former inmates return to the world beyond bars by diving deep into outdoor experiences. (You can learn more about some my school-related work by reading “Taking Learning Outdoors: Merrick-Moore Elementary” on The Great Trails State Coalition website.)

Students at an outdoor education program for NCOAE

None of these projects were easy, but they can be done. In this post, I offer insights on how to start an outdoor education or adventure program for your classroom or school. Let’s begin with planning and dreaming.

Have a Dream, Plan Your Work, and Work Your Plan

To successfully launch an outdoor education program, it’s important to start with a clear vision and follow a structured plan. Here’s an approach I’ve developed based on both my experiences and the wisdom of my mentors (more…)

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