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Friday, December 8, 2023
Dec. 8, 2023

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Clark County school districts have own approach to outdoors

Just 3 send students to weeklong camp at Cispus center

By , Columbian Staff Writer

Ridgefield students are some of the few in Clark County who still get to go on an overnight trip to learn about the outdoors. Many of the larger school districts go on field trips to different agencies working locally to preserve nature. Students in Ridgefield, La Center and Green Mountain still go on weeklong trips to the woods.

• Vancouver Public Schools: Vancouver schools began working with Columbia Springs years ago for a field trip connected to the classroom study of ecosystems.

• Evergreen Public Schools: Evergreen also has partnerships with the Columbia Springs Education Center, as well as the city of Vancouver Water Resources Center, Washington State University’s Clark County Extension and U.S. Fish and Wildlife to offer field trips. Some secondary students attend leadership camps at Cispus Learning Center.

• Battle Ground Public Schools: Both primary and middle school students may go on field trips to the Center for Agriculture, Science and Environmental Education, a district program for high school students located on an 80-acre campus. The district also participates in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s School Cooperative Program, where middle-schoolers rear salmonid eggs and then release them in the local watershed.

Sixth-graders in the district take field trips to Mount St. Helens.

• Camas School District: Camas doesn’t have an outdoor education program.

• Washougal School District: Sixth-graders in Washougal spend a few days exploring the historical, geological, cultural, natural and ecological wonders of the Columbia Gorge. Longtime Friends of the Columbia Gorge supporter and member Phyllis Clausen started the program in 2008 in honor of her late husband. It operates in partnership with the Washougal School District with grant funding support from the Camas Washougal Community Chest.

More in This Series

Ridgefield High School senior Tyson Ainsworth puts a rain poncho onto his group&#039;s shelter during a shelter-building exercise at the Cispus Learning Center. Ainsworth explained to the Sunset Ridge Intermediate School fifth graders that putting something noticeable like plastic or an item of clothing on top of your shelter can help draw attention to your location if a rescue helicopter is flying above you.
Ridgefield schools mark 50 years with weeklong Cispus camp
Ridgefield science teacher Annie Pintler asked students crowded around a picnic table about their morning hike. The students, bundled up in puffy jackets…

• Hockinson School District: Hockinson Elementary School has a nature trail that is used for field science observations and investigations. Fifth-grade students gather data there to compare soil and air temperatures on different locations around campus. Fourth-graders study wildflowers and birds there.

• La Center School District: The district sends sixth-graders to the weeklong outdoor school at Cispus Learning Center.

• Green Mountain School District: Since 2010, the one-school K-8 district has sent students to Cispus every other year. The trip is open to fifth- and sixth-graders, so students can go in either year.

• Woodland Public Schools: Woodland doesn’t have a specific outdoors program, but many classes at different grades have field trips, activities and experiments that will involve outdoor-related study, such as horticulture and floriculture.

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Columbian Staff Writer