About The Yosemite Program

In the fall of 2015, all eighth graders from Crittenden Middle School and Graham Middle Schools will spend 5 days/4 nights in Yosemite Valley on a fun education trip that blends adventure with learning. This program promises to be a highlight of students’ culminating year in middle school, allowing them to demonstrate and apply what they have learned as they tackle real-world challenges creatively and collaboratively.

Program Goals

  • Sense of Place: Students learn that the national parks belong to all of us -- they are ours to appreciate, enjoy, and preserve for future generations.  Such sense of place helps foster life-long appreciation of the natural world. 

  • Hands-on Science: Science is all around students in Yosemite. These real-life experiences include lessons on ecology, geology, climate change, hydrology, marine biology, cultural history, astronomy, and more.
  • Personal Growth: To empower students to tackle life’s challenges through age-appropriate personal and social-emotional growth opportunities.

  • Environmental Stewardship: To help students transfer and apply what they learn on the trail to their daily lives at home, at school, and in their communities.

Long-Term Benefits to Students

Outdoor education has been quantitatively proven to increase student motivation and enthusiasm to learn, and is particularly effective at helping under-resourced, low-income students perform measurably better in school. 

Studies have shown resident outdoor education programs can lead to an increase in students' understanding of science concepts along with significantly higher levels of cooperation and improved ability to work out conflicts, as well as gains in:
  • Science interest and understanding
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Motivation to learn
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking
  • Collaboration and active citizenship
  • Positive classroom behavior.

Student Activities

  • Learn about the wonders of Yosemite while hiking in small groups among iconic waterfalls, granite faces, giant sequoia trees, high sierra meadows, and a diversity of wildlife.

  • Understand the power of a team as students challenge themselves on trails or engage in experiential activities that require working together and supporting each other.

  • Be a scientist by participating in environmental science research projects such as stream bio-monitoring, water quality testing and snow surveys.

  • Learn about astronomy under an incredible night sky. Stay in tent cabins in Yosemite Valley, waking up to the sights of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.

  • Experience remarkable personal growth, improved interpersonal skills, increased academic ability, and a desire to make a difference.