Plumas Charter School student Leo Kusener makes his way up a protruding “rock” corner at Feather River College’s climbing wall during an outdoor education class. Photo by Ingrid Burke

On bikes and rocks, Plumas Charter School students learn outdoor skills

Ingrid Burke
Special to Feather Publishing
[email protected]

Combining two forms of outdoor recreation, Plumas Charter School students recently rode bikes from their Quincy campus to attend a rock-climbing class at Feather River College. Members of the high school Ecology and Recreation class — along with one seventh- and one eighth-grader — started their outing with a bicycle safety check at their school site. Some students brought their own bikes and helmets, and some borrowed the school’s.

All the students had previously completed a bicycle safety course that included topics such as bike upkeep and maintenance, safe maneuvering, correct signaling, and rules of sharing the road. After determining a safe route, the students set off with their teacher, PCS Outdoor Education Coordinator Courtney Gomola. Once at FRC’s indoor climbing gym, they received an introduction from Outdoor Recreation and Leadership faculty member Saylor Flett.

The PCS students were taught by Kayle and Colton, two ORL students at FRC. Pairing middle and high school students with college students who are learning to teach outdoor skills is a win-win for both PCS and FRC. The students learned basic climbing knots and procedures; they then took turns climbing and belaying each other under the watchful eyes of their instructors.

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Ecology and Recreation is an introductory class in PCS’s Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation career technical education pathway. With a focus on outdoor recreation leadership, this pathway dovetails with FRC’s ORL program, said Gomola, who is also the credentialed CTE coordinator for this pathway. The partnership with FRC offers students exposure to more career and educational opportunities in the area of outdoor recreation leadership. It also serves to introduce high school students to the staff and programs at FRC, providing a bridge to continuing education. Gomola pointed out that future PCS plans include more CTE activities for middle school students, also in partnership with FRC. Field trip adventure days such as this one will allow students to gain hands-on experiences in this career pathway even before they enter high school.

While the students were climbing, snow flurries began to blow outside: a perfect taste of spring recreation in the beautiful mountains of Plumas County! Plumas Charter School also operates learning centers in Taylorsville, Greenville, and Chester. Learn more at plumascharterschool.org.

Ingrid Burke is the public relations specialist for Plumas Charter School.