Immersed in the Wild

Immersed in the Wild are single and multi-day outdoor programs that are free to participants and engages youth of diverse ages, backgrounds and locations throughout CA in stewardship of the land. Expert youth facilitators and activists guide our youth in safe and effective education sessions including:

  • Watershed recovery
  • Direct restoration and monitoring of habitats
  • Cross-cultural education
  • Leadership and critical thinking
  • Wilderness adventure sessions
  • Career development

Why?

Experiential education programs are inadequate in California’s school system. The southern Sierra Nevada region contains many economically disadvantaged communities who are unable to experience the wild places around them. More and more youth feel disconnected from their communities and the natural habitats surrounding them, something that has become know among educators as “nature deficient disorder”. Youth are confined to classroom settings where learning how to take tests replaces opportunities to observe, compare and comprehend the beauty and mystery of our environment. Our Immersed in the Wild programs are designed to provide those experiential opportunities for California’s youth.

Multi-day events

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Multi-day events are held in the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument at Giant Sequoia groves, meadows and at traditional village sites of Native people of the Sierra Nevada. Partner youth organizations and WildPlaces recruit at-risk youth from diverse cultural, economic and social groups. Educators and land use professionals guide youth in activities and education sessions about observing, monitoring and restoring watersheds, traditional plant uses, plant science, wildlife, archeological sight stewardship, art, team-building, oral traditions, tracking and maps. A typical day in a multi-day Immersed in the Wild program includes:

  • Facilitator check in and discussion session
  • Youth rise
  • Breakfast
  • Journal & reflection time
  • Morning Circle
  • Watershed restoration with the U.S. Forest Service
  • Lunch/ Free time
  • Watershed restoration with the U.S. Forest Service
  • Free time
  • Awareness in the outdoors
  • Journal & reflection time
  • Supper
  • Native language workshop
  • Camp fire circle – stories, compare home and camping

Immersed in the Wild’s Outdoor Science Classroom Program

Immersed in the Wild’s Outdoor Science Classroom Program provides locations, equipment and logistical support so teachers and their students can use outdoor classrooms. Lessons compliant with CA State Board of Education Content Standards are conducted in an experiential atmosphere intended to be frequently and affordably utilized throughout the school semester rather then just as a yearly “field trip”. Granite Hills High School’s Earth Science class participates in our pilot Outdoor Science Classroom each semester as part of their classroom curriculum. Hands-on activities take place at River Ridge Ranch in Springville and at Yaudanchi Ecological Reserve in Porterville.

Outdoor Educator Workshops

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Outdoor Educator Workshops train local and regional community members, educators, activists, land owners, scientists and others as outdoor educators and facilitators for WildPlaces’ outdoor education programs. Both experienced and new educator/facilitators emerge from the training more connected as a team, more prepared for the field conditions and inspired by nature to work strongly together for youth empowerment.

Partnerships

Partnerships are the cornerstone of WildPlaces, and we continue to build relations with youth organizations such as the Native American youth group Daughters of Tradition, The Dolores Huerta Foundation, the Owens Valley Career Development Center, Walt Whitman Continuation High School in Los Angeles, Homies Organizing Youth to Empower the Mission in San Francisco, Granite Hills High School and La Sierra High School in Porterville and others.

Get Involved

WildPlaces coordinates and trains volunteers who have an interest in outdoor youth education. Volunteers with experience in the sciences, camping logistics, cooking and various other field activities are needed.

Check out this recent story about our program in the RecorderOnline.com.