Prescott Unified School District No. 1

Outdoor Learning Initiative


To collaborate with teachers and staff to advance student success and well-being through healthy, hands-on, and standards-based outdoor learning opportunities.


PUSD Outdoor Learning Initiative (OLI) is a district-wide collaboration between the PUSD Farm-to-School Program, the City of Prescott's Community Nature Center and Park Ranger Program, the Highlands Center for Natural History's Schoolyard Habitat Program, and other outdoor initiatives. OLI provides educators, staff, and students with access to free outdoor learning that enhances in-school, after-school, and out-of-school experiences. Outdoor learning sites include gardens, schoolyards, habitats, nature centers, parks, trails, camps, and more. OLI also connects PUSD to community organizations that offer other outdoor learning opportunities. Through lessons, projects, supplies, field trips, and community connections, OLI enhances teaching, learning, & well-being for thousands of students each year.

History of Outdoor Learning at PUSD

1974 - PUSD built the Community Nature Center

1977 - PUSD's first school garden was built at the Community Nature Center

1977 - PUSD launched the Prescott Creeks and Watershed Program

1991 - PUSD outdoor education experiences were facilitated at the Community Nature Center under the direction of Nichole Trushell and the Highlands Center was born

1991 - present - Highlands Center continues its outdoor education experiences with PUSD at their site built on the Prescott National Forest

2006 - City of Prescott purchases PUSD's Community Nature Center

2008 - PUSD's first schoolyard habitat was built at Miller Valley Elementary

2012 - 2022 - Schoolyard Habitats installed at schools across PUSD

2014 - PUSD was awarded the USDA Farm to School Planning Grant

2014 - 2022 - Edible school gardens were installed at every PUSD school, including pre-K

2019 - PUSD was awarded the USDA Farm to School Implementation Grant & launched a 3-year AmeriCorps VISTA Project to build the program

2020 - Intergovernmental agreement affirmed between PUSD and the City of Prescott, reopening the Community Nature Center with Park Ranger programs and four outdoor classrooms

2021 - The City of Prescott built the Grizzly & Jaguar School Trail System, linking Abia Judd Elementary and Granite Mountain School to the Community Nature Center

2022 - PUSD hired a full-time Farm to School Coordinator and Outdoor Learning Coordinator and opened the PUSD Outdoor Learning Center


Contact Us

(928) 717-3253 x74502