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Sixth-graders at the top of Spanish Peak. Photo by Courtney Gomola.

Fun and learning merge during FREd week

By Rachel Goings

[email protected]

Each fall, sixth-grade students are invited to experience the majesty of the natural resources in Plumas County during Feather River Education (FREd) week in Meadow Valley. This year’s program marked the return of overnight camp. During the pandemic, FREd was scaled back to a day camp to practice social distancing.

The hands-on camp is sponsored by the Plumas County Office of Education. Rob Wade coordinates the program and said that the experience is designed to help students gain new skills of observation and interpretation in the study of the local environment. “We hope to instill in the students a lasting appreciation of understanding of the world around them, an awareness of the interdependence of all living things, and a personal connection to their mountain home. We also believe in having fun,” said Wade.

Patrick Joseph of Plumas Charter School shared that the hike to Spanish Peak and the polar-bear plunge — when the students jump into icy water on the last day of the trip — are some of the favorite activities among the preteens. “The camp fosters connection and teamwork for the students but simultaneously instills a sense of independence and responsibility with a few nights away from home,” said Joseph.

FREd is just one of the outdoor programs that PCS students can experience. High schoolers have the option to participate in career and technical education (CTE) programs via the forestry and natural resources pathway and the outdoor recreation pathway. Thanks to a grant from the California State Parks Outdoor Equity Program, all grade levels engage in outdoor field trips and class lessons coordinated by Courtney Gomola and assistant Helen Lewis throughout the school year. PCS has partnerships with Feather River College’s Outdoor Recreation Leadership program and Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, providing plenty of opportunities to foster a love of the outdoors in the students.

Plumas Charter School operates learning centers in Quincy, Taylorsville and Chester. To find out more, visit www.plumascharterschool.org.

Rachel Goings is the public relations specialist for Plumas Charter School

Single file! Students set out on their hike to Spanish Peak. Photo by Courtney Gomola.

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