What is the Outdoor Classroom?
Chewonki’s Outdoor Classroom provides a life-changing experience in nature for students and school groups, building personal resilience, and giving them tools they need to create and sustain healthy, thriving communities. We achieve this through a unique combination of outdoor living experiences on the coast of Maine, team-building challenges, ecological study, and an introduction to the concepts behind systems-thinking and sustainability.
Who is the Outdoor Classroom for?
Our programs are best suited for school groups between 5th-12th grade. With our strong focus on outdoor living and natural systems, an Outdoor Classroom experience is a perfect hands-on challenge for students to explore new things that will spark their interest in ecology and the outdoors.
Why do you teach outdoor living skills?
The experience of outdoor living – camping, cooking over a fire, sleeping in a tent, and exploring the woods and waters of Maine – is the perfect opportunity for students to unplug from everyday distractions and re-engage with the wonders of the natural world. Our educators will introduce you to the fun of multi-day camping expeditions at one of the 11 waterfront campsites on our 400-acre campus in Wiscasset, Maine.
Why do you provide team challenges?
Thriving school communities are sustained when students have confidence, trust, and excellent group communication skills. Outdoor Classroom educators use a combination of hands-on games, team problem-solving and activities on Chewonki’s Challenge Course (an extensive network of 18 different high-and-low ropes course elements) to facilitate group bonding throughout the program.
Why do you teach ecology studies?
Ecological studies in the field create long-lasting memories for students and help ignite a vivid interest in science and the natural world that can’t be matched by textbooks alone. Chewonki’s mix of forest, field, pond, estuary, and rocky shoreline gives us access to several unique habitats for students to explore. Our educators provide hands-on ecology lessons, tailored to the needs and interest of your group, that focus on the pieces, patterns, and processes of each ecosystem. Chewonki’s Center for Environmental Education is also home to our wildlife center, providing students with an intimate look at a variety of live, non-releasable wild animals, including the well-known “Owls of Maine.”
Why do you teach sustainability and systems-thinking?
Of all the inputs and outputs that sustain a community, few are more interesting or important than the food we eat, and the intricate web of relationships that connect the farm-to-plate. Our farm produces more than 75,000 meals each year for the participants in various Chewonki programs. Your students will have the opportunity to tour the fields and pastures, meet the cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, and horse, see, feel, and eat some of the “food & fiber” produced at Chewonki, and learn more about our approach to recycling, reducing food waste, and stewardship of the land.
When Can I book an Outdoor Classroom experience for my group?
Bookings for our core program offers (Encampments & Saltwater Adventures) are available in the spring and fall. Availability for custom wilderness trips varies by group size and the time of year.