Students learn in an outdoor classroom about the environment of the world in which they live while participating in Outdoor Core activities. Photo submitted

Outdoor Core emerges in Plumas schools

Outdoor Core is the Plumas Unified School District strategy for Next Generation Science Standards.
“The standard has been set as the new science framework nationally,” said Rob Wade, local outdoor educator. Outdoor Core is the PUSD strategy to implement the new national science standards.

The idea is to partner with organizations and agencies to best take advantage of the unique outdoor educational opportunities afforded students in the mountain communities.

Kindergarten through grade 12 children utilize Learning Landscapes with Feather River Land Trust; Fire Restoration partnerships with the Forest Service shape curriculum for grades four through 12; and the

Plumas Corporation co-creates the sixth-grade watershed program. Other agencies also contribute to the science education program such as Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship.

The overall Outdoor Core program is designed to “support teachers to guide every student into becoming a 21st Century mountain kid through and through,” according to the outdoor core tab on the district website pcoe.k12.ca.us.

As an advocate of outdoor education, Wade described a plan to boost the number of untraditional educational activities in the current student curriculum. Making use of increased time in outdoor classroom settings, PUSD students will learn various unique-to-the-mountains skills.

In the same way local sixth-graders participate in the Watershed Education Program where students physically travel the path that water takes from the Feather River Watershed all the way to the Pacific Ocean, grade-specific themes would be added to the curriculum.

“For instance, fly-fishing and how to tie your own flies,” said Wade. Other topics mentioned include tracking and trapping, marksmanship with archery, field journaling and other skills to heighten student awareness.

“The K-6 elementary pilot program is currently happening in Chester,” said Wade who added that the District-wide program will roll out in 2017-18.

“The main piece is that we are developing meaningful and engaging activities for kids on an adventurous, stewardship and educational level,” said Wade.  This is not an “extra” outdoor activity the educator stressed, it is a program designed to incorporate math and science in practical ways.

As an innovative outdoor educator, Wade was invited to speak on the subject Jan. 6 with radio host and local authority on many things educational and otherwise, Joseph Munoz.

That show, Common Good, will air tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 12, on KQNY 91.9 at 7 p.m. The program will rebroadcast Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 10 a.m.