The Cuyamaca Outdoor School is having their annual Open House September 28 this year. Cuyamaca Outdoor School is San Diego County Office of Education’s 6th grade camp program serving Southern California (approximately 12,000 students every year) in Descanso, CA. The event is free for future campers, their families, alumni, principals, teachers, community members, and media to learn about and experience a little bit about camping.
A new part of the curriculum this year is some public participation in scientific research projects, like the monitoring of coast live oak phenophases — or stages in their life cycle — working with the National Phenology Network, and tracking animal presence in the neighborhood to learn about relationships with native plant restoration and fire recovery. Other new projects include Celebrate Urban Birds data collection and the Great World Wide Star Count, and the usual activities involve campus tours, meeting with the camp nurse, live raptor presentations, swimming, rock climbing, hiking, creating crafts, eating food, and listening to a live local band. In recent years, attendance has grown to over 500 people!
Angela Kemsley, Outdoor Education Program Specialist at the Cuyamaca Outdoor School, wrote us that, “We offer ‘camperships’ and fundraising opportunities to schools to allow everyone to participate regardless of background or financial situation. Many of the students we serve have never been on a hike before. Many have never even been to a city park before! We teach them how they can connect to nature even in an urban setting.” This year, Kemsley says, “We would like to focus on having students participate in projects that are specific to our site, as well as projects that they can participate in once they get home.”